Rep. Jim Hansen, R-Utah, has joined a new committee to investigate whether the Clinton administration improperly transferred sensitive satellite technology to China.

House Speaker Newt Gingrich named Hansen and eight others to the committee, which has the long formal name of the Select Committee on U.S. National Security and Military/Commercial Concerns with the People's Republic of China.The committee was created by a 409-10 vote last week to investigate reports that the federal government approved giving China technology used to improve reliability of its long-range missiles, some of which may be aimed at the United States.

It comes amid allegations that Clinton and the National Democratic Party improperly accepted donations from China during the 1996 campaign.

Gingrich and House Democratic Leader Dick Gephardt issued a statement that Hansen was named because of his experience in armed services (he is a member of the National Security Committee) and intelligence (he was a member of the Intelligence Committee), and his reputation for handling sensitive matters fairly (he is also chairman of the ethics committee).

Hansen said, "The issues we will be investigating are of the utmost gravity - whether or not U.S. national security has been damaged by either American companies pursuing commercial ends, the Clinton administration pursuing political ends or the Chinese government pursuing its own ends.

"I accept this most serious assignment with an open mind and sincerely hope that we prove no damage has occurred. However, if anyone has placed other interests above the security of the American people, we have a duty to get to the bottom of it."