Saturday, November 05, 2005
Not so long ago, I noted with great concern that we are allowing our navy to shrink rapidly, during a time when China is feverishly building up its own. At the time, there was also a strong possibility that we were going to close a submarine base and a naval shipyard, both in New England, costing our nation part of its submarine-building infrastructure. The good news is that both were spared.
The bad news is that China's espionage efforts in America seem to have paid off handsomely in the realm of naval technology in general and in submarine technology in particular. Via Matt Drudge and Four Knots to Nowhere, Bill Gertz reports the devastating news in the Washington Times.
Four persons arrested in Los Angeles are part of a Chinese intelligence-gathering ring, federal investigators said, and the suspects caused serious compromises for 15 years to major U.S. weapons systems, including submarines and warships.This news comes after recent intelligence estimates had China able to invade Taiwan within the next couple of years. Those estimates, I assume, took into consideration the fact that our submarines were already on a pace to be outnumbered 2:1 within five years, but not that they would necessarily be detectable to these inferior submarines.
U.S. intelligence and security officials said the case remains under investigation but that it could prove to be among the most damaging spy cases since the 1985 one of John A. Walker Jr., who passed Navy communication codes to Moscow for 22 years.
Key compromises uncovered so far include sensitive data on Aegis battle management systems that are the core of U.S. Navy destroyers and cruisers.
China covertly obtained the Aegis technology and earlier this year deployed its first Aegis warship, code-named Magic Shield, intelligence officials have said.
The Chinese also obtained sensitive data on U.S. submarines, including classified details related to the new Virginia-class [link added] attack submarines.
Officials said based on a preliminary assessment, China now will be able to track U.S. submarines, a compromise that potentially could be devastating if the United States enters a conflict with China in defending Taiwan.
This is terrible news, and I've focussed almost entirely on the submarine angle of the story. Read the Gertz story now. We have just been robbed blind by the Chinese. As thoroughtly-integrated into our research infrastructure as Chinese scientists and engineers are, I fear that this is just the tip of the espionage iceberg.