Mr. COCHRAN. Madam President, I know I don't need to ask consent to return to the Cochran amendment. But the Lugar amendment has been offered and has been the pending business. I ask that we return to the regular order, to amendment No. 420.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator has that right.
That is now the pending amendment.
Mr. COCHRAN. Madam President, amendment No. 420 was offered by me, and is cosponsored by the distinguished Senator from Illinois, Senator Durbin. It seeks to modify the existing export control policy that had been instituted by the administration with respect to the exporting of high-performance or so-called supercomputers.
Madam President, on November 14, 1994, President Clinton issued Executive Order 12938, the Emergency Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction, declaring that the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and the means of delivering them constitute `an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States,' and that he had therefore decided to `declare a national emergency to deal with that threat.' The President reaffirmed this Executive order on November 15, 1995, and again on November 11, 1996.
We have had several hearings recently on the subject of proliferation in my Governmental Affairs Subcommittee on International Security, Proliferation, and Federal Services. And the distinguished ranking member of the full committee, Senator Levin, is the ranking member of that subcommittee.
We have examined cases of proliferation by the People's Republic of China and proliferation by Russia, and I can tell you that the facts--brought out in open session--are disturbing. The facts tell a story of both Chinese and Russian sales of technology, components, and delivery systems for weapons of mass destruction, as well as sales of highly capable advanced conventional weapons and other critical military technologies, to nations like Iran. The facts demonstrate that President Clinton was entirely correct in describing this problem as a national emergency.
Just last month, the Director of Central Intelligence sent Congress an unclassified report entitled, `The Acquisition of Technology Relating to Weapons of Mass Destruction and Advanced Conventional Munitions.' The report covers only the period July through December 1996 and levies serious proliferation charges against, among others, Russia and China. The report says:
China was the most significant supplier of WMD-related goods and technology to foreign countries. The Chinese provided a tremendous variety of assistance to both Iran's and Pakistan's ballistic missile programs. China also was the primary source of nuclear-related equipment and technology to Pakistan, and a key supplier to Iran during this reporting period. Iran also obtained considerable CW-related assistance from China in the form of production equipment and technology.
The intelligence community report--and I note that this report is not the product of any single part of the intelligence community, but represents the consensus view of the entire intelligence community--goes on to say, and again I quote:
Russia supplied a variety of ballistic missile -related goods to foreign countries during the reporting period, especially to Iran. Russia was an important source for nuclear programs in Iran and, to a lesser extent, India and Pakistan.
Madam President, the facts that emerged during my subcommittee's hearings on Russian and Chinese proliferation are completely supported by this latest report of the intelligence community. And we should not be comforted by the fact that it reports on the proliferant behavior of these nations only during the last half of 1996. For those who claim that Chinese and Russian behavior on proliferation is getting better, the best I can say is that it certainly is not yet good enough.
I raise the issue of proliferation because it is the principal reason we have offered this amendment on supercomputer export controls. The use of high-performance computers to upgrade existing weapons capabilities or develop new ones is not some fantasy or something that might happen in the future. It is known fact. High-performance computers help make it possible to develop and improve weapons capabilities that threaten the United States. Keeping them out of the wrong hands makes America safer. Dr. Seymour Goodman, in a report used by the administration as its basis for weakening U.S. export controls on high-performance computers, wrote:
. . . continued export controls will slow the exacerbation of existing nuclear threats. Control of HPC [high-performance computer] exports, by limiting those exports or imposing appropriate safeguards, to countries known to possess nuclear weapons will impede their development of improved weapons and reduce their confidence in their existing stockpile by limiting the opportunity to conduct simulations in lieu of live tests. Similar or more rigorous controls on HPC exports to countries with nuclear weapons development programs could impede their development of second-generation weapons.
The June 1997 Intelligence Community report to Congress couldn't be more clear on this issue. It states:
. . . countries of concern continued last year to acquire substantial amounts of WMD-related equipment, materials, and technology, as well as modern conventional weapons. China and Russia continued to be the primary suppliers, and are key to any future efforts to stem the flow of dual-use goods and modern weapons to countries to concern.
This amendment will help reduce the proliferation danger facing the United States by requiring an individual validated license to export all supercomputers to so-called Tier 3 countries, which include China and Russia. Because of the new export control policy for supercomputers announced by the Clinton administration on October 6, 1995, there currently is no such requirement. We must act to change that policy now.
This policy, which has been in place for almost 18 months, groups all nations into four country tiers and establishes export licensing requirements for high-performance computers based upon their country of destination. Tier 1 countries, consisting primarily of our NATO allies, are free to receive high-performance computers of unlimited capability without an export license from the United States, while, at the other end of the spectrum, Tier 4 countries, consisting of the last trustworthy, cannot legally receive any of these supercomputers. Almost all countries in South America, Central America, the Caribbean, and Africa are in Tier 2, and can receive supercomputers capable of up to 10,000 MTOPS--MTOPS are Millions of Theoretical Operations per Second, the standard measure of computing capability--before an export license is required.
The end-use and end-user are the critical factors for exports to any of the 50 nations comprising Tier 3. If the end-use and user are civilian, the policy allows exports of supercomputers capable of up to 7,000 MTOPS before an export license is required. If the Tier 3 end-use or user is military, U.S. export licenses are required for any high-performance computer capable of more than 2,000 MTOPS. But it is the U.S. exporter, not the administration, which has the responsibility under this policy for
determining the end-use and user for Tier 3 exports between 2,000 MTOPS and 7,000 MTOPS. This responsibility, difficult under any circumstances, is complicated by a company's natural focus on making sales. Our amendment addresses only these Tier 3 exports, as depicted by the diagonally-striped area on this chart, which I am going to show the Senate at some point in this discussion.
Our amendment applies to only a small portion of high-performance computer exports. In fact, according to the Commerce Department's Bureau of Export Administration, of the 1,436 supercomputers exported from the United States from the date the new policy went into effect through March 1997, only 91 went to Tier 3 countries. That amounts to 6.34 percent of total supercomputer exports. Does it not make sense for our Government to be willing to check to make sure that 6.34 percent of our supercomputer exports go to the right place? Is it unreasonable to require the administration to be sure that American supercomputer sales aren't going to people and places who would damage American national security?
Our amendment doesn't prohibit the transfer of a single supercomputer. It requires that the existing standards for transfers be monitored by our Government. Our amendment changes only one aspect of the policy, shifting the burden of determining end-use and end-user in Tier 3 countries from the exporter to the administration. Why is this so important? Listen to another part of last month's report to Congress by the Intelligence Community, which says, `Many Third World countries--with Iran being the most prominent example--are responding to Western counterproliferation efforts by relying more on legitimate commercial firms as procurement fronts and by developing more convoluted procurement networks.'
American exporters are not capable of determining whether a potential purchaser is a `procurement front' or part of a `more convoluted procurement network,' and it is wrong to place this burden on them.
The administration, and many exporters, will tell you that the current policy is working, that closer scrutiny isn't required, but look at this chart and what it shows you. There are American supercomputers in Russia's and China's nuclear weapons complexes. According to Russia's Minister of Atomic Energy, these supercomputers are `10 times faster than any previously available in Russia.' According to the Chinese Academy of Sciences--which works on everything from the D-5 ICBM, capable of reaching the United States, to uranium enrichment for nuclear weapons--its American supercomputer provides the Academy with `computational power previously unknown' and is available--this is a quote from them--to `all the major scientific and technological institutes across China.' American high performance computers are now available to help these countries improve their nuclear weapons and improve that which they are proliferating, courtesy of a policy that can be called many things, but can't reasonably labelled as `working.'
Just last week we learned through press reports that an American supercomputer sent to Hong Kong is now in China under the control of the People's Liberation Army. In addition to the 47 American supercomputers that have been shipped to China since this new policy took effect, 20 unlicensed American supercomputers have been shipped to Hong Kong. At least now we know where one of the Hong Kong supercomputers is. What about the others? does this look to anyone like a policy that's working? This is a real problem. It is a problem that exists now. It is not a hypothetical problem. It is not a problem that may develop in the future. This is a serious problem that threatens our national security.
There are some opposing this amendment who claim that setting the threshold at 2,000 MTOPS is too low, and consequently will make it impossible for American computer manufacturers to sell personal computers--PC's--abroad. That is just not true. It is a last minute desperation shot at the Cochran-Durbin amendment. Let's look at the facts:
The first fact is the 2,000 MTOPS threshold opponents express concern over was not dreamed up by us. It is the administration's limit.
No. 2, industry suggests that by some time in the fourth quarter of 1998--this date came, incidentally, from IBM's Director of public policy, who recently visited with my staff about this amendment--IBM will produce, according to him, a PC capable of just over 2,000 MTOPS for sale in the international marketplace, he said.
In short, Mr. President, after a slow start in the early 1990's, MPC&A improvements are now underway at over 50 sites in Russia, the new independent states, and the Baltic States. Let me give some specific examples: MPC&A upgrades at Obninsk and Kurchatov in Russia have radically improved security for several tons of weapons-usable material; upgraded MPC&A systems for all weapons-usable nuclear materials in Latvia, Lithuania, Uzbekistan, Georgia, and Belarus are complete; nuclear material detectors have been installed at all pedestrian pathways at the Siberian Chemical Combine (Tomsk-7) and the Chelyabinsk-70 nuclear weapons design institute. These monitors provide a major improvement to
the security of many tons of weapons-usable nuclear material at these sites; a national MPC&A training center has been established at Obninsk, Russia, with support from DOE and the European Union; by the end of this month, more than 1,000 nuclear specialists from the former Soviet Union will have participated in MPC&A training courses and technical exchanges under the auspices of the program; work is underway to strengthen Russia's nuclear regulatory system; and MPC&A upgrades for the Russian Navy, some 8 to 10 facilities in 1998, the icebreaker fleet, and for nuclear materials during transportation are underway at several sites.
Mr. President, it is noteworthy that the National Research Council recently completed an independent external assessment of this MPC&A program, and the National Research Council concluded; and I quote:
U.S. commitment to the program should be sustained and funding should be continued at least at the level of FY 1996 (funding) for several more years, and increased if high-impact opportunities arise.
In short, the Energy Department through this program has enhanced the security surrounding hundreds of tons of nuclear weapons material, but the vast majority of material remains poorly secured.
Mr. President, fiscal year 1998 is one of the peak-activity years for the program, with work in progress at all large Russian nuclear sites compromising many hundreds of tons of highly enriched uranium and plutonium. If we reduce the fiscal year 1998 budget by $25 million, it would kill program momentum, a momentum based on years of negotiations, confidence building, and windows of opportunity.
Mr. President, if we do not restore these program cuts, then I fear that work that has already been done to secure U.S. security interests and establish project foundations would need to be done again at considerable financial, time, and political costs. These costs would be especially great for the high-priority dismantlement and navy sites that we are attempting to secure. For example, security of fresh highly enriched uranium naval fuels is at a crucial stage. It is the largest project with the Russian Ministry of Defense--a key player in the overall nuclear-material security picture. It is crucial to maintain the program momentum. Security upgrades at the first facility are underway, and 6 to 12 additional facilities will be targeted in the 1998-2002 timeframe.
Mr. President, the bottom line is that, in my judgment, the MPC&A Program is one of the two most critical programs the U.S. Government conducts for ensuring the strategic national security of this country. It ranks alongside the equally critical Stockpile Stewardship Program for maintaining the credibility and reliability of the U.S. nuclear deterrent.
Last, Mr. President, our amendment seeks to restore funds to the International Nuclear Safety Program. The Department of Energy is working with the international community to increase nuclear safety worldwide, particularly in those countries of Eastern and Central Europe and the former Soviet Union that operate Soviet-design nuclear reactors.
The program's focus is on projects that improve the operation, physical condition, and safety culture at nuclear power plants; the establishment of nuclear safety centers in the United States and countries of the former Soviet Union; and technical leadership to promote sound management of nuclear materials and facilities.
Of these 1,436, just 91, or 6.34 percent, went to tier 3 countries. I do not know how many of these 91 were IBM's workstation that is just over 2,000 MTOPS. We know that at least 6 of the 91 were not manufactured by IBM--4 Silicon Graphics machines that are now running at Russia's nuclear weapons labs; one Silicon Graphics machine in the Chinese Academy of Sciences, which is a key part of China's nuclear weapons complex; and one Sun Microsystems machine that we just learned last week is now running at a Chinese military facility in Chungsha after being diverted from Hong Kong. So up to 85 of the 91 exported over 14 months to tier 3 countries could have been this IBM workstation, though I doubt that all of them consisted of that one machine. But even if all 85 were these IBM workstations, does this sound like the kind of volume that will overwhelm the Government's licensing apparatus? Certainly not.
The specter of American jobs being lost to unwieldy export controls is just another part of the argument against the Cochran-Durbin amendment that is not based on the facts.
Another argument made against our amendment is that the right way to keep organizations from getting American supercomputer technology who shouldn't be receiving it is for the Department of Commerce to publish a list of prohibited end users with individual validated licenses required for any high-performance computer export to a country or entity on the list. This argument against the amendment at least has the virtue of implicitly admitting that American supercomputers should not be in Russia's and China's nuclear weapons design labs, but it is another argument that is simply not based on the facts.
Shortly before the recent July Fourth recess, I spoke on
the floor of the Senate explaining why such a list would be, in many ways, worse than the current situation. I won't go through all those reasons again in the interest of time now, but I continue to believe that such a list would be necessarily incomplete because of the requirement to protect intelligence sources and methods. It could be used as the Department of Commerce's guide for proliferators, and it would make it only too easy to make a sale to a location not on the list, thus encouraging makers of weapons of mass destruction to establish phony front organizations for the purposes of acquiring U.S. supercomputers. They wouldn't be on that list.
In fact, the Department of Commerce on June 30 published such a list, and its inadequacy is obvious. The June 30 list, called by the Commerce Department the `Entities List,' consists of 13 locations in 5 tier 3 countries that can receive an American supercomputer only if you have a license, only subject to a license. So now the total list of proscribed end users consists of 15 entities. On this list are Chelyabinsk-70 and Arzamas-16 in Russia which have already received at least five American supercomputers and parts of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, which also is now manufacturing more modern nuclear weapons with America's finest technology.
Because of this list, now America's computer exporters know that they need a license to ship a high-performance computer to any of these entities. What about other entities, though? What about the Chinese company that shipped ring magnets to Pakistan last year for use in its nuclear program? Why isn't that company on the list? It has been subjected to sanctions imposed by our Government, and it is not on our Government's list as a prohibited end user. What about the Chinese company or government entity that shipped M-11 missiles to Pakistan and now, according to press reports, is helping Pakistan build a factory for the indigenous manufacture of M-11 missiles ? Why isn't that entity on the list? What about the Russian company or government entity helping Iran to upgrade its nuclear program and ballistic missile programs, why aren't they on the list?
Madam President, this list does not solve the problem. If anything, it makes it more confused, it makes it more difficult for American exporters to determine who should or should not receive American high-performance computers. In many ways, this list is worse than nothing.
There are many who believe the entire high-performance computer export control policy of this administration is a failure. However one views this policy as a whole, there is one aspect of it that we know is not working and it can be fixed now.
We know that American supercomputers are now in Chinese and Russian nuclear weapons labs. We know that they should not be there. We know that our Government, with the resources of the intelligence community, is better able to determine the identity of end users and end uses than is industry. Industry has no way to be able to determine the end use and user of its products to the degree of confidence that our intelligence agencies can do.
Right now we have the opportunity not to impose new restrictions on our supercomputer manufacturers but to shift the burden of making end-use and end-user determinations from industry to Government.
Look at this chart again and you will see that we are talking about only a very small part of the overall policy. The entire chart describes the policy and shows the number of tiers, 1 through 4, the varying capabilities on the basis of millions of theoretical operations per second, MTOPS, along the left side. And the only part of the entire export business of American supercomputers that is affected by this amendment is this part shown in the diagonal lines. The fact is, we are talking about only 6.34 percent of supercomputer exports under this policy that will be affected by this amendment.
The Cochran-Durbin amendment will not prevent a single supercomputer export to anyone who should have one, but it will help ensure, though, that only those who should have them will have them. The only supercomputer sales that would be blocked by our amendment are those going to foreign entities who the U.S. Government determines shouldn't have it. It will not prevent legitimate sales to legitimate users in the U.S. or outside the U.S., but it will help prevent a repeat of the errors that have allowed American supercomputers to go to Russia and to go to China and be used in their nuclear weapons labs.
Let's be clear what this debate is about. It is about U.S. national security. If you think Russia and China shouldn't be using American supercomputers to improve the quality of their nuclear arsenals and the quality of the weapons systems and components and technology that they are selling in turn to others, vote for the Cochran-Durbin amendment.
President Clinton was right when he called the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction `an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States,' and that it constitutes a `national emergency.' These weapons, delivery systems and technologies are more readily developed and enhanced by high-performance computers, and who makes those computers? The United States.
If the United States is going to demonstrate that it is serious about this issue, we must do more than complain to Russia and China every time one of those nations engage in proliferation.
The American fight against proliferation must start at our own borders.
I urge Senators to vote against the Grams-Boxer substitute and support the Cochran-Durbin amendment.
Madam President, I ask unanimous consent that the distinguished Senator from New Hampshire [Mr. Smith] be added as a cosponsor to our amendment.
The PRESIDING OFFICER (Ms. Collins). Without objection, it is so ordered.
Mr. DURBIN addressed the Chair.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Illinois.
Mr. DURBIN. I rise to speak on behalf of the same amendment which my colleague, the Senator from Mississippi, Senator Cochran, has just described.
I am happy to join him as a cosponsor on this important amendment. I only wish my colleagues and many others who are listening to this debate could have been there when Senator Cochran's subcommittee met just several weeks ago and really talked in depth about what we are doing.
For the average layman, the average person in the United States, there are some very technical terms involved in this debate. But the purpose of this amendment is very clear and very straightforward. We understand that if we give to another country certain information or technology, they are able in many ways to use it for positive reasons. We fear however that if that same information and technology is given to a country which might use it for negative purposes, that it is inconsistent with the national security of the United States.
The Cochran-Durbin amendment is an effort to make certain that we continue to sell technology around the world, but take care not to sell it in those countries where it may be misused.
Unfortunately, the Clinton administration over the last years has had a change in its policy, with a more expansive, more liberal trade policy when it comes to supercomputers. It has been my fear, and the fear of the Senator from Mississippi, that some of these computers which are being purchased for nominally peaceful reasons are in fact going to be used for military purposes.
One of the examples which the Senator from Mississippi used in closing was the whole question of weapons testing. Some 35 years ago when President Kennedy spoke to the Nation, he challenged us as a world to reduce nuclear arms testing so as to make this a more peaceful planet. I think President Kennedy was right. And I support a weapons test ban. I think the United States should continue to show leadership.
But we live in a different world some 3 decades later where a country with a new computer, the supercomputers that we are describing, that country may have the capability to test a nuclear weapon without ever detonating it. They can set up all of the parameters within the computer, test the weapon, and show its impact.
So if you are talking about reducing the proliferation of dangerous weapons--nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons--you must necessarily get involved in this debate, which Senator Cochran has initiated and I have been more than happy to assist in.
Some questions have been raised. And I wonder, just for purposes of clarification, if I could ask Senator Cochran a question or two for the record here. I know the Senator has covered most of this in his opening statement, but I think we ought to make a clear record for our colleagues on the amendment.
One of the first things that is said is, well, you set the standard too low. If a company wants to sell this computer, which we describe as a 2,000 MTOPS computer, you have set it too low, set it at a standard so that the computers that are going to be licensed, there is going to be surveillance at such a level. It will not hit the ordinary business computers.
I would like you to respond. And I know you did respond in the course of your opening remarks to that particular criticism. If you would, please, I yield to the Senator.
Mr. COCHRAN. If the distinguished Senator would yield, I appreciate very much not only his question but also his very helpful involvement in this issue and cosponsoring the amendment.
But he gets to the central point of the debate here. It is not that this amendment sets any new levels of prohibition or granting authority for export sales. It does not change any of those levels. The level that is established by the administration is the 2,000 MTOPS level. We do not change that for tier 3 countries, as demonstrated in the chart I showed a while ago.
We were told in our hearing that 250 MTOPS is about the current power of a PC which is sold in the market here in the country now. And that under the so-called Moore's Law that doubles every 18 months. So it would be 4 1/2 years before you get to a level where you would even reach the 2,000 MTOPS level which is the trigger level for tier 3 countries that have to have a license if the end use or the end user is military. If they're civilian, you do not have to have a license at all.
What this amendment changes is who determines the end use or the end user. Our amendment says it should be the administration's responsibility. Current policy is that exporters have the responsibility of making that determination. That is the only thing we change.
Mr. DURBIN. If I could pose another question to my cosponsor on this amendment, Senator Cochran.
There have been others that have said, well, why is the United States doing this? If we stop selling computers around the world, whatever their capability, some other country is going to sell them. So we are tying the hands of American business in a futile effort to stop this march of technology.
I would appreciate it if my colleague, the Senator from Mississippi, would address that particular complaint.
Mr. COCHRAN. Our information, derived at our hearings through expert witnesses, was that we have the highest capability of any country in the world in terms of supercomputer manufacturing technology. We manufacture the state-of-the-art supercomputers. We do not have any competitors. Japan manufactures some high-performance supercomputers but their export policy is more restrictive than ours. They require licensing, we do not.
What we are suggesting here is that the policy of our administration is flawed in that it ought to make the determination in those questions where end use and end user is relevant as to whether you can or cannot make the sale, the Government ought to monitor and verify that this sale is permissible. And it applies to only 6.34 percent of the total computer sales of all American exporters in the export market.
Mr. DURBIN. I thank my colleague.
I think he noted in the course of his remarks that last week or perhaps the week before the administration said, well, let us put out a list of 13 or 14 different entities that we think we should take care not to sell to. And I agree completely with the Senator from Mississippi that it is hardly a comfort in this argument that we are protecting the interest of the United States with this list.
It is hard to believe that our intelligence operations would make a complete disclosure of every potentially bad purchaser around the world without in fact disclosing very sensitive classified information. It is far better to take the approach which the Cochran-Durbin amendment does, which says that on a case-by-case basis there will be a license issued by the Government to determine whether the would-be purchaser in any way raises a suspicion that this technology is going to be misused, used against the United States.
I think our approach to it gives the Government the power it needs to police the sales, says to the seller, the computer company, you can come to the Government now and entrust that decision to an entity which should know as to which purchasers should not be trusted. And that I think would give the industry some peace of mind. It has to be a major embarrassment to these companies to realize now that they have sold these supercomputers in China and in Russia and that they may be used for military purposes against the United States.
Certainly, these companies in the United States value our security, they are as patriotic as many others, and they would want to do the right thing. The Cochran-Durbin amendment sets up I think a good framework for the right decision to be made. I certainly hope that when this amendment comes up for consideration that many of our colleagues on both sides of the aisle will stop and pause and reflect on it. Because I think it in a way takes a look at the world as it currently exists and says we do not want to sell to potential enemies or to suspect nations that power that might come back someday to haunt us. It is important to increase trade, but not at the expense of the security of the United States.
I thank my colleague from Mississippi for his leadership. And I am happy to join him in this effort.
I yield back.