But most significantly, Cox never investigated the leaks. Indeed, he used the claim of secrecy to fan the flames of suspicion, arguing in public that confidentiality prohibited him from revealing even more damaging, "stark" and "grave" facts in classified portions of the Cox Report.
The Cox Report was eventually revealed as fiction; the Chinese spy scandal a McCarthyite witch-hunt—my Weekly colleague R. Scott Moxley wrote that it "was little more than lowbrow theater with the editorial integrity of a tits-heavy Hard Copy episode." Months later, American Journalism Review reached a similar verdict. Writing in the magazine's November 2000 issue, reporter Lucinda Fleeson concluded that none of the major points of the story pipelined to The New York Times by unnamed Republican sources was true. By then, Wen Ho Lee was free. The accused Taiwan-born American scientist who once faced life imprisonment on 59 federal spy charges procured his freedom by giving federal prosecutors a face-saving guilty plea on a single count of mishandling lab information.
If Gore were president, Chris Cox would be on the Joint Intelligence Report like it was made of ham.