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News Briefs I

Senate Panel Angered by Security Breeches in U.S. Nuclear Research THE WASHINGTON POST -- WASHINGTON

Amid new allegations of questionable activity by an espionage suspect at Los Alamos National Laboratory, Congress erupted in complaints Thursday about FBI and Justice Department handling of security breaches and possible espionage by China at the nation’s nuclear weapons laboratories.

After grilling FBI Director Louis J. Freeh for nearly three hours in a closed-door hearing, members of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence from both parties appeared equally outraged at what they depicted as lax handling of past and present investigations into suspected leaks of classified data.

Their concern was particularly aroused by Freeh’s testimony that the suspect, Wen Ho Lee, had been cited for suspicious actions going back almost 20 years, according to congressional and administration sources. This information hit particularly hard, coming on top of Tuesday’s disclosure that Lee had moved secret nuclear weapons data from a highly classified computer network to an unclassified system vulnerable to access by outsiders

KLA Steps Up Battles To Recapture Ground and Protect Refugees NEWSDAY -- WASHINGTON

Limited to hit-and-run guerrilla strikes, the Kosovo Liberation Army has changed tactics, waging larger battles against the Serb police and army in the hope of recapturing ground and protecting refugees, according to U.S. administration officials.

The sudden shift in strategy, detected over the past several days, is the most telling indication so far that the KLA, declared dead by Belgrade just weeks ago, may be emerging as a credible fighting force, said some military analysts, who asked to remain anonymous.

But a senior Pentagon official cautioned that the KLA forces still “don’t have the strength to combat the power of the VJ (Yugoslav army) to hold anything very long.”

And a congressional aide who has received classified briefings said that a more pessimistic analysis is that the KLA, hard-pressed by the Serb military, is simply running out of room for effective hit-and-run operations.

“The real question is: What will happen over the next couple of days?” he said. “If it peters out real quickly, we’ll have some indication that this may be something they can’t sustain.”

House to Limit Clinton’s Ability to Send Ground Troops into Kosovo LOS ANGELES TIMES -- WASHINGTON

The House took a clear slap Wednesday at President Clinton’s handling of the Balkans crisis, voting to limit his ability to send ground troops into Yugoslavia and to reject a Senate resolution supporting the current NATO air campaign.

By a vote of 249-180, House members approved a Republican-sponsored bill that would prohibit the president from using Pentagon funds to send U.S. ground troops into Yugoslavia without prior authorization from Congress. Those supporting the bill included 45 Democrats, but the margin of passage was well below the two-thirds majority that would be needed to override a presidential veto.

Senate leaders disclosed they are considering scheduling a vote later this week on a similar measure, but the outlook for passage there is uncertain.