The Aug. 6 front-page article "China Spy Probe Bungled, Panel Finds" contains two errors.

First, the article says that the statement of the Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs "notes that it is still unclear whether any secrets really were stolen." We did not say this. In fact, this issue was explicitly not a focus of our report, because we treated it as a given that U.S. intelligence officials had correctly concluded that Chinese intelligence stole design information on the W-88 warhead. Our statement said that "we take no position in this document on whether W-88 or other nuclear weapons information was in fact compromised, or by whose hand this may have occurred."

Second, the article gives a confused account of why the joint Energy Department/FBI probe initially focused upon Wen Ho Lee. As we described in our statement, this inquiry focused upon Mr. Lee because:

(1) He had access to W-88 information.

(2) He had traveled to China.

(3) His wife has extremely close ties to Chinese delegations visiting the Los Alamos laboratory.

The article accurately recounts these three factors considered in the analysis but then invents a fourth: that the Lees "were Chinese American." Let the record be clear:

The evidence we have seen and heard provides no basis for the claim that the initial DOE-FBI inquiry focused upon the Lees because of their race. Only much later in the process, once Mr. Lee had already been identified as the chief suspect, did the investigation consider the Lees' ethnicity -- and then only because, according to FBI counterintelligence experts, Beijing's intelligence actively tries to recruit Chinese American scientists working in sensitive U.S. facilities.

FRED THOMPSON

U.S. Senator (R-Tenn.)

JOSEPH LIEBERMAN

U.S. Senator (D-Conn.)

Washington

The writers are, respectively, chairman and ranking minority member of the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee.