Free the Cox Report

April 22, 1999

A recent editorial in the Washington Times proclaimed, "Free the Cox Report." You may remember from previous commentaries that I have done on Chinese espionage that the Cox Report is an investigation into the issues that are now on the front pages of many newspapers. Unfortunately the Cox Report is still classified, and it appears that the Clinton administration would like it to stay that way.

In early March, the New York Times revealed how the administration downplayed the significance of reports of Chinese nuclear espionage in order to continue its policy of engagement with China. At his press conference, President Clinton said, "To the best of my knowledge, no one has said anything to me about the espionage which occurred by the Chinese against the labs during my presidency."

This month, the New York Times published another investigative report that revealed that the initial briefings the White House received in April 1996 did include such warnings. The article also provided evidence seriously questioning the White House's version of events relating to its reaction to those briefings. And the article also reports that the still-classified report issued by the select committee chaired by Representative Christopher Cox contains an account of China's efforts to obtain these neutron-bomb secrets during the Clinton administration.

So maybe now you can see why the White House seems to want to keep the Cox Report classified. It isn't that it contains American military secrets. It's because it contains secrets of the way the White House handles problems that could be a public relations disaster and how it handles security leaks that would affect relations with China.

The latest New York Times articles further erode away the credibility of this administration. At stake this time is not a sex scandal. At stake is national security. That is why the Cox Report needs to be declassified now.