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Unfortunately, there is likely an indirect connection between Saddam's ability to develop these weapons, as well as other military capabilities, and U.S. export control policies. Consider, for example, the past military assistance that Iraq has received.
Last year, press reports surfaced that the Chinese firm, Huawei Technologies - an important player for many U.Ş. firms who want to reach the Chinese telecom and data communications market - assisted Iraq with fiber-optics to improve its air defense system. This is the same air defense system that U.S. and British pilots have risked their lives to try to destroy as part of their patrol of the no-fly zones.
As documented by Gary Milhollin in his testimony last November to the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee, Huawei has received significant assistance from American companies, including high performance computers from Digital Equipment Corporation, IBM, Hewlett Packard, and Sun Microsystems, as well as telecommunications equipment from Qualcomm. And, last year, Motorola had an export license application pending for permission to teach Huawei how to build high-speed switching and routing equipment, which could be used to improve Iraq's air defense network.
During a press briefing this week, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld was asked about Iraq's air defenses. He stated, “They are constantly trying to improve them. They have been putting in fiber optic and they have been doing a whole series of things.” When questioned further about whether China was assisting Iraq, Secretary Rumsfeld responded, “They sure did for a long time."
This is an important point that warrants repeating. Secretary Rumsfeld confirmed that the Chinese were building the fiber optic network in Iraq that we have been bombing. And it seems that the Chinese company that provided the assistance is one that has been able to buy a number of dual-use items from the U.S. In other words, U.S. pilots are risking their lives to bomb what is quite possibly U.S. technology.
The pending Export Administration Act would make it far easier for countries, like China, to obtain sensitive technologies from the United States and then, in turn, sell them to terrorist-sponsoring states, including Iraq. This seems directly counter to the objectives we are trying to achieve in our war on terrorism.
I believe that Gary Milhollin will address in more detail in his statement the specific items that EAA, as currently written, would decontrol through its mass market or foreign availability provisions. I'll just briefly mention one of those that he plans to discuss. The New York Times recently reported - and Vice President Cheney confirmed - that Iraq has sought to buy thousands of specially designed aluminum tubes, which it is believed were intended for use in Baghdad's nuclear weapons program, as components of centrifuges to enrich uranium. Under the version of EAA supported by the administration, U.S. companies would be free to sell these tubes. They would meet the bill's criteria for “mass market" status, and thus be decontrolled by
the Secretary of Commerce. Therefore, even if they were only available for sale in the U.S. (not from foreign sources), export controls could only be maintained if the president certified every six months that failure to regulate their export constituted a serious threat to U.S. national security.
It is unrealistic to think that the President will use the authority in the bill – which cannot be delegated to other officials - to set aside a mass market determination on anything but rare occasions. Yet the number and scope of potentially dangerous items that will meet this criteria is quite alarming. (I should note that this Committee's version of the bill sets higher standards for a mass market determination.)
Mr. Chairman, in closing, I appreciate the efforts of this committee and of the House International Relations Committee to make modifications to the Senate bill that would allow for greater control over the export of U.S. dual-use technology. I also agree with the administration that it is important that the United States find the proper balance between national security and trade and, to that end, that Congress pass a new Export Administration Act. But, particularly in light of developments over the past year, the bill currently pending before Congress is not the appropriate vehicle to address controls over the export of dual-use items.
It is my hope that I and my colleagues in the Senate, the Members of this committee and other Members of the House can work with the administration during the next session of Congress to develop a new EAA that will better protect U.S. national security interests.
Thank you again Mr. Chairman for the opportunity to testify at today's hearing.