Reality Check

W-88 Warhead Not Stolen from Los Alamos

Two government panels with the necessary access investigated whether the evidence supported a conclusion that the designs for the W-88 warhead was obtained by espionage by China, One panel was headed by Robert Walpole, the CIA's National Intelligence Officer for Nuclear Proliferation, the other by Admiral David Jeremiah. They concluded that there was no evidence that China has stolen and copied a US nuclear bomb design and that China had the scientific and engineering capabilities to develop such a war head. It further turned out that the engineering on the W-88 was bor done at Los Alamos, but at other labs. So if elements f the design were indeed stolen, it was not from Los Alamos. (In addition, the suspected scientists, Wen Ho Lee, had passed not failed, the polygraph.)

The Times, while admitting its story was flawed, but blamed the sources who misled their reporters. As Renata Adler notes in her book Canaries In The Mineshaft, the Times " cast itself as essentially a victim having "attracted criticism" from three categories of persons: "competing journalists," "media critics" and "defenders of Dr. Lee."

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