Notra Trulock, the Energy Department whistleblower whose intelligence analyses triggered allegations of Chinese espionage at America's nuclear weapons labs, attacked a presidential panel yesterday for recommending elimination of the intelligence office where he works.

"Imagine my surprise to learn that you have adopted what has become the standard administration, departmental, and laboratory response to our four-year effort to bring this scandal to light: shoot the messenger," Trulock wrote in a letter delivered to the panel's chairman, former senator Warren B. Rudman (R-N.H.).

In a report last week, Rudman's panel -- composed of members of the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board -- recommended that a new, semi-autonomous agency be established inside the Department of Energy to run the nuclear weapons program. The panel also called for the abolition of DOE's Office of Intelligence, which Trulock once headed and where he is now deputy director. In its place, the director of the new agency would have a special assistant for intelligence liaison, and roughly 40 analysts would be transferred to the CIA.

Rudman is scheduled to appear today, along with Energy Secretary Bill Richardson, before a joint meeting of four Senate committees to discuss the report. Rudman could not be located last night for comment on Trulock's letter.

Trulock wrote that had the Rudman panel's recommendation been in effect four years ago, "there is no question but that evidence of Chinese espionage would remain undetected to this date." In an interview yesterday, Trulock said the letter represents "my personal views" and "was not vetted or approved by the Department of Energy."