A Job For The Cia: Keep An Eye On Slave Labor

What next for the CIA ("Bush is setting the bloodhounds on Beijing," Top of the News, Dec. 23.)? One beneficial intelligence task it should resume is monitoring slave-labor camps in the Soviet Union and China--and their products, which could illegally end up in the U.S.

Even though the Tariff Act of 1930 prohibits the import of goods made by slave labor, the U.S. Customs Service has no ongoing, reliable intelligence program to enforce the ban. Thus, bringing complaints to Customs has been left to courageous individuals such as Harry Wu, who recently blew the whistle on several imports from China made with slave labor.

In the 1980s, the CIA did focus on Soviet slave-labor gulags--which still have about 6 million prisoners. Now, as it redefines its priorities, the CIA should definitely take up again this Soviet tracking and add the 20 million prisoners in Chinese slave-labor facilities.

Carl Olson, Chairman

State Dept. Watch


Editor's note: This organization is a foreign-policy watchdog group.