In the wake of a congressional report that says China has stolen numerous U.S. nuclear weapons secrets, Energy Secretary Bill Richardson said Sunday there would be firings and demotions.
He admitted there had been incompetence and not enough attention to security.
Richardson said the jury is still out on whether the Chinese got information on every warhead in the U.S. arsenal. But Rep. Christopher Cox, R-Calif., says clearly, China's communist regime did get secrets on every weapon in the arsenal. Cox chaired the panel that produced the congressional report.
"There's no question," Cox said on CBS News' Face The Nation, "that they [the Chinese] stole, not just classified information on all of the currently deployed U.S. ballistic warhead arsenal, but also they stole designs, design information on the W-88, our most sophisticated warhead, as well as the W-70, the neutron bomb, and they have tested both of these weapons successfully."
Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., also a guest on Face The Nation, says China's upgraded missile capability puts the U.S. under greater stress in its relationships with Japan, Taiwan and South Korea.
"In essence," said Lugar, who is on the Senate Intelligence Committee, "we're going to be under greater stress if the Chinese decide that they want to exercise a great deal more aggressive leadership in Asia. Quite apart from the fact that they have now at least the technology, theoretically, to be able to threaten us in the United States with a long shot."
Another committee member, Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., said he found the Cox report important for what it did not say.
"It did not say, for instance, that the Chinese have deployed any weapon based on any stolen secrets," Levin said. "What they have done probably is advance their research and their testing."
Meanwhile, Edward Curran, director of counterintelligence at the Energy Department, sought to spread the blame, saying Congress had failed to allocate money to plug security holes and that a top Republican never bothered to attend classified briefings about the problem.
Intelligence experts have cast doubt on how much useful information was conveyed through the spying, in light of a trove of legal information available to the Chinese from American companies and the U.S. government itself.
But there has been intense political fallout since the 872-page House report was released early last week.
Curran said he ran into a brick wall when he tried to get needed funds from Senate appropriators, after he provided information to a subcommittee chaired by Sen. Frank Murkowski, an Alaska Republican.
Curran said he told Murkowski's staff of "very specific targeting of our cybernetworks within DOE (the Department of Energy) by intelligence services" and sought $12.5 million just to start the basic precautions that would ... even let us know that people were into our system."
Curran said, "That was rejected, I did not get that money," and that he still needs security funds.
He said the administration also held briefings for members of Congress.
"I have never had Mr. Shelby at our briefings," Curran said of Sen. Richard Shelby, an Alabama Republican who heads the Select Committee on Intelligence.
"His staff would not even sit down and listen to us," Curran said, recalling a time when the CIA was briefing on "sensitive cases."
Shelby said Curran was "out of bounds in some areas."
Curran's allegations come a few days after another Energy Department official, Notra Trulock, was honored for his persistent inquiry into security problems.
Trulock's sometimes-controversial conclusions were long resisted by administration officials, who sought out alternative explanations for Chinese actions.
In fact, Trulock was demoted from chief of intelligence at Energy to acting deputy chief of intelligence, before Bill Richardson became secretary.