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GOP senator: NASA broke law by not disclosing visit by Chinese

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By Gannett News Service
Thursday, March 7, 2013, 7:15 p.m.

WASHINGTON — A congressman said NASA broke a national security law last year by failing to notify Congress about two visits that Chinese officials made to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va., said the visits — one in June and one in December — were barred by a measure he authored in 2011 requiring NASA facilities such as Kennedy to give lawmakers at least 14 days notice before hosting “official Chinese visitors.”

“We say, ‘Let us know. Notify us.' And they did not,” Wolf said at a Capitol Hill news conference. “I do believe that was a violation of the law.”

The visits to Kennedy are part of what Wolf calls a troubling pattern of security lapses at NASA centers.

On Thursday, Wolf said his office has given FBI officials and federal prosecutors material from a whistle-blower at NASA Langley Research Center in Virginia “involving a Chinese national who was allegedly provided access and information he should have otherwise been restricted from receiving.”

Wolf chairs the House Appropriations subcommittee that funds NASA. He's been one of the loudest critics of China in Congress.

Wolf does not want the United States to work with what he's called an “evil” government. He said the White House has bypassed his 2011 national security measure by using federal money to pay for joint space and technology ventures with China.

Last month, Wolf and Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, chairman of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee, wrote to FBI Director Robert Mueller expressing concerns about the possible leak of sensitive technological information to China from NASA's Ames Research Center in California.

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