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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release April 21, 1999


I welcome the Intelligence Community's Damage Assessment on the "Implications of China's Acquisition of U.S. Nuclear Weapons Information and the Development of Future Chinese Weapons" and the review of the damage assessment by a panel of independent experts led by Admiral Jeremiah, as requested by the House Select Committee, chaired by Congressmen Cox and Dicks. I appreciate the careful analysis by the intelligence community and the independent panel, as well as their efforts to make as much information as possible available to the public on this crucial issue.

The findings of the damage assessment underscore the need to implement fully the Presidential Decision Directive I issued in February 1998 to strengthen security and protections at the U.S. nuclear weapons laboratories. I commend Secretary Richardson for his efforts in this regard and look forward to the review of lab security I requested by the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, chaired by Senator Warren Rudman.

Measures to protect sensitive nuclear weapons information must be constantly scrutinized, whether this information is at the National Laboratories or at other U.S. Government institutions. Therefore, I am asking the National Counterintelligence Policy Board to assess potential vulnerabilities at other institutions associated with nuclear weapons besides the National Laboratories and to propose any concrete steps that may be appropriate to strengthen protections against efforts by China and other countries to acquire sensitive nuclear weapons information.

I have also asked DCI George Tenet to review the recommendations made by Admiral Jeremiah on intelligence collection and resources and to act promptly on these recommendations.