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Olympics: HD Systems Shipment Prompts White House Advisory

It will literally take an act of Congress (albeit just a tiny one) in order to legally ship some HD equipment into China from the United States for Olympics coverage. In a formal request on June 30 to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, President Bush seeks an exemption for both shooting munitions (for purely sporting purposes, of course) and some HD camera equipment.

The president writes, in part:

“Pursuant to the authority vested in me by section 902(b)(2) of the Foreign Relations Authorization Act, FY 1990 and 1991 (Public Law 101-246)…and as President of the United States, I hereby report to the Congress that it is in the national interest of the United States to terminate temporarily the suspensions under section 902(a)(3) of the Act with respect to the issuance of temporary munitions export licenses for exports to the People’s Republic of China insofar as these restrictions pertain to firearms and related items for use by U.S. and non-U.S. athletes competing in shooting events, and [to] military gyroscopes that are embedded in mobile high definition television camera systems for use by U.S. filming crews...”

Neither NBC Sports (which holds the American rights to Olympics coverage and seems to have pretty much relocated to Beijing for the duration) nor equipment makers could immediately shed more light on the specific equipment in question. But the presidential note was necessitated by the “military gyroscopes” contained on the mobile field cameras to be deployed for NBC’s HD coverage in Beijing for its various networks.

The President concluded his advisory to Congress this week with this assurance: “The equipment will be returned to the United States following the end of the games.”