CyberAlert -- 03/31/1999 -- Time for Ground Troops?; Only Lee Wiretap Rejected; Geraldo Thanked Flynt

Time for Ground Troops?; Only Lee Wiretap Rejected; Geraldo Thanked Flynt

1) ABC and CNN on Tuesday showcased arguments for ground troops. ABC's John Martin: "The most effective option, say military planners, may be the most difficult: send in ground forces."

2) Three networks picked up the NRDC's hit on bottled water. Peter Jennings called NRDC "a serious environmental monitoring group."

3) FNC's Carl Cameron disclosed that a Senate Intelligence Committee report due in late April will provide "the most direct link yet between alleged Democratic campaign finance corruption and China's military advancement."

4) The Justice Department approved 2,686 of 2,687 wiretap requests. The one and only request rejected: The FBI's wish to wiretap Wen Ho Lee. So revealed Investor's Business Daily.

5) After Larry Flynt went on his show, Geraldo wrote to him: "You were absolutely terrific in your appearance on my show!.... The hypocrites are waiting, shaking in their self-righteous boots!"

>>> Thank you. Completed surveys spewed out of the MRC fax machine all day Tuesday. Every one will be read and counted and I scanned through many to read the comments. Given the volume of other outgoing and incoming faxes I'm sure at least a few of you had trouble getting through. Please keep trying. If you can, try a time outside of normal Eastern time business hours when usage falls off. MRC research associate Kristina Sewell, who receives the reply e-mail, was out Tuesday so I don't know how many returned their survey via e-mail. You can also use snail mail. Check the return options listed in the March 30 CyberAlert just before the survey questions. As some noticed, the very first question contained an error: "CyberAlerts are currently distributed three to fives a week" should have read "...distributed three to five times a week." If you haven't yet complete the subscriber survey, I hope you can find the time to do so as we produced the questionnaire in order to learn your opinions about these CyberAlerts. <<<


cyberno1.gif (1096 bytes) With the Pentagon acknowledging on Tuesday that NATO's airstrikes are not having the impact hoped for, Tuesday night, March 30, ABC and CNN featured stories forwarding the arguments for deploying ground troops.

-- ABC's World News Tonight: For the A Closer Look segment John Martin ran through the options for hitting the Serb soldiers in Kosovo, including getting closer to them by using the A-10 Warthog and AH64 Apache attack helicopter, but both must fly low and are therefore vulnerable to being shot down. Martin then observed: "In time, the most effective option, say military planners, may be the most difficult: send in ground forces." Michael O'Hanlon of Columbia University made the case that the 10,000 NATO troops already in Macedonia, plus some special forces and a couple thousand Marines could do the trick to provide safe havens for refugees.
But, Martin noted, others say it will require tens of thousands of troops to hold the ground. Martin added: "But whatever the mission, if something is not done soon says a former national security official, it will be too late." Ivo Daalder of the Brookings Institution asserted: "I think the administration is coming very close to recognizing that it is about to lose a war and that is unacceptable."
Martin then concluded: "If so that means the White House must now find a way to get the American people to accept something it continues to rule out: sending in ground troops."

-- CNN's The World Today: Gene Randall focused on how some retired U.S. military officers say ground troops will be necessary to win as airpower isn't enough. Randall concluded: "What is fueling the case for ground troops, that so far there are few signs the airstrikes alone have either convinced Slobogan Milosevic to make peace or to noticeably improve the lot of the Kosovar Albanians."


cyberno2.gif (1451 bytes) No liberals here. The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), a liberal environmental advocacy group which pushed the bogus Alar on apples scare promoted by 60 Minutes, released a report Tuesday about how they supposedly discovered excessive bacteria and chemicals in one-third of the bottled water they tested.

ABC's World News Tonight, the CBS Evening News and FNC's Fox Report all jumped on it, airing full stories. None labeled the NRDC as liberal, but while CBS and FNC just called the NRDC an environmental group, ABC's Peter Jennings decided to stress their credibility and lack of political agenda:
"A serious environmental monitoring group has released a report about bottled water today that certainly flies in the face of the advertising..."


cyberno3.gif (1438 bytes) China not forgotten by FNC. Before the war began the broadcast networks, especially ABC and NBC, displayed little interest in pursuing the China story and now with the war they have an excuse for why they are not touching on it. Tuesday night all the networks made time for several non-war stories, but only FNC used some of that time to update viewers on the latest on the probes by House and Senate committees, including how a Senate committee is digging out evidence about the impact of campaign contributions to how China gained U.S. technology.

In a piece run on both FNC's Special Report with Brit Hume at 6pm ET/9pm PT and the 7pm ET Fox Report, Carl Cameron began: "Government sources tell Fox News that since 1996 the Department of Energy has conducted as many as 21 investigations into potential security breaches and Chinese espionage at U.S. nuclear weapons labs."

After noting that the Chinese ambassador denies China did any spying and that the FBI has warned the cases may not be strong enough to prosecute, Cameron previewed the Cox report expected to be released soon: "The focus is Clinton administration approved transfers of so-called dual use technology to China, like satellite and rocket know-how that can be applied to missile programs..."

Cameron jumped to the long-ignored Senate probe, informing FNC viewers:
"Fox News has also learned that a Senate investigation, headed up by Richard Shelby, is zeroing in on bribery and illegal campaign contributions. Indicted former Democratic fundraiser Johnny Chung claims he bribed former Energy Secretary Hazel O'Leary to meet with Chinese officials. Attorney General Janet Reno rejected calls for an independent counsel to investigate. Also in the Shelby report: the late Commerce Secretary Ron Brown for allegedly selling trade trips to China in exchange for political contributions. Bernie Schwartz, the biggest Democratic party donor in '96, cut a billion dollar deal on one trip so his company, Loral Space, could launch satellites on Chinese rockets. Loral got special presidential approval for it but is now under investigation for giving Beijing U.S. missile secrets."

Cameron intriguingly concluded: "The Senate Intelligence Committee report is due late April. Sources say it will be the most direct link yet between alleged Democratic campaign finance corruption and China's military advancement."

But enough to generate some broadcast network interest in pursuing this angle?


cyberno4.gif (1375 bytes) Wen Ho Lee, the only one. He represents the totality of the 0.04 percent of the time the Justice Department worried about having enough justification to authorize a wiretap.

An editorial in the March 30 Investor's Business Daily disclosed this fascinating tidbit of information: "From 1993 to 1997, federal officials requested 2,686 wiretaps. For all its concern for probable cause and legal standards, the Justice Department turned down one request in those four years -- Lee's in 1996."

That's right, the FBI's request to wiretap We Ho Lee was the only request Janet Reno's Justice Department rejected in the administration's first years. They approved 99.96 percent of such requests.

Here are some excerpts from the editorial, titled "Abetting Espionage."

It's almost too fantastic to believe. But evidence has surfaced that the administration may have turned a blind eye toward Red Chinese espionage -- if not actually abetted it....

"Some journalists -- in particular Jeff Gerth and James Risen of The New York Times -- have made some very disturbing discoveries. Not only did the Clinton administration take its sweet time in investigating the alleged theft after learning of it, there's reason to believe that the Justice Department failed to follow its usual procedures in overseeing the FBI probe of the matter....

After trying to shift blame for the theft to previous administrations (the first instances did take place in the mid-1980s), the Clinton administration went into damage control. It claimed loudly and longly that it aggressively tried to get to the bottom of the matter. And, of course, the White House has pledged to investigate.

But media spin notwithstanding, the administration has failed to guard the nation's secrets. Indeed, it took steps to put these secrets more at risk. And it blocked the FBI from fully probing the security breach.

Central to the story is Wen Ho Lee, a Taiwan- born American. He worked for the Los Alamos National Lab, which develops nuclear weapons.

Soon after the theft was discovered, Lee became the prime suspect. Yet he was not only allowed to keep his job, reports the Times, he got promoted to a more sensitive post. He was also permitted to hire a Red Chinese national as an assistant. Authorities can't find him.

These infractions would be bad enough. But the Justice Department's actions regarding the FBI's probe of Lee border on the criminal.

As part of the probe, the bureau requested a wiretap on Lee. Justice denied it, arguing it did not have sufficient grounds to take to a federal court to get the tap approved.

But a look at the Justice Department's record on wiretaps calls that argument into serious question.

From 1993 to 1997, federal officials requested 2,686 wiretaps. For all its concern for probable cause and legal standards, the Justice Department turned down one request in those four years -- Lee's in 1996.

The Clinton administration's defense that it had few grounds to wiretap Lee might carry weight if most of the wiretaps Justice OK'd resulted in incriminating evidence. That would suggest Justice was setting and meeting high standards for wiretaps.

But again the record suggests Justice is talking through its hat. In 1997, 21.4% of federal wiretaps produced incriminating information. Indeed, through the first four years of Clinton's term, only one in five wiretaps revealed shady actions.

Yet in the case of Lee and alleged Chinese espionage, the department seems to think that it needed cold proof of illegal activity before approving a wiretap....

Several conclusions can be drawn from this case, each one more and more incredible.

One is that key officials in the Clinton administration are incredibly naive. Another is that they are criminally incompetent. Both answers are plausible, given this administration.

But it's not too big a leap to ask if some officials were more than naive or incompetent. Were they intentionally ignorant? Did the push for campaign cash in 1996 -- some of it coming from Chinese sources -- take precedence over national security?

An even more disturbing speculation is that someone in the administration was actively working for the Red Chinese.

Sure, it sounds like a Tom Clancy novel. But why did Justice deny the wiretap request? Why did the Energy Department promote Lee to a spot where he could learn more secrets? How did a Chinese national get hired for such a sensitive job?

The administration has its hands full now with Kosovo. But it must not be allowed to duck these questions on Red China's espionage.

END Excerpt

You can access much of IBD online at
Their password access system has been down, so click on the register button and for free you'll get a username and password that will allow you to access many more articles from that day's paper.

See the March 26 CyberAlert to read about how the networks ignored the New York Times story referenced by Investor's Business Daily about how Wen Ho Lee got a more sensitive job after he was under suspicion and how the FBI cannot now locate an assistant he had hired.


cyberno5.gif (1443 bytes) Geraldo just loved Larry. MRC news analyst Mark Drake picked up the less than illuminating Flynt Report, the special magazine Larry Flynt published to publicize his supposed discoveries about the sex lives of Republicans. He found little, if anything, not already known, but a four-page spread on Flynt's media appearances included a picture of a handwritten note Geraldo Rivera sent to Flynt after Flynt appeared on his show.

In the note dated "1/15/99" Rivera oozed:
"Dear Larry
"You were absolutely terrific in your appearance on my show! The ratings went through the roof. Now get better fast and come back on. The hypocrites are waiting, shaking in their self-righteous boots!
"Best wishes

To refresh your memory about that high-brow edition of CNBC's Rivera Live, you can read the January 12 CyberAlert item, summarized thus in the table of contents: "Larry Flynt got a national showcase for his latest hit: CNBC's Rivera Live. But he went beyond sex to an intimate detail. Yet Rivera claimed Republicans 'brought this upon themselves' and made 'all of us part of this sleazy process.' Another guest lumped Bob Barr with Hitler and Stalin." Go to:

On Thursday: Our annual April 1 edition of Notable Quotables. -- Brent Baker


>>> Support the MRC, an educational foundation dependent upon contributions which make CyberAlert possible, by providing a tax-deductible donation. Use the secure donations page set up for CyberAlert readers and subscribers:

>>>To subscribe to CyberAlert, send a blank e-mail to: mrccyberalert-subscribe
. Or, you can go to: Either way you will receive a confirmation message titled: "RESPONSE REQUIRED: Confirm your subscription to" After you reply, either by going to the listed Web page link or by simply hitting reply, you will receive a message confirming that you have been added to the MRC CyberAlert list. If you confirm by using the Web page link you will be given a chance to "register" with Topica. You DO NOT have to do this; at that point you are already subscribed to CyberAlert.
To unsubscribe, send a blank e-mail to:
Send problems and comments to:

>>>You can learn what has been posted each day on the MRC's Web site by subscribing to the "MRC Web Site News" distributed every weekday afternoon. To subscribe, send a blank e-mail to: Or, go to:<<<