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June 23, 2016
Notes from the Pentagon

Senators want State Department nominee to NATO blocked
Three Republican senators have joined their House colleagues in opposing the nomination of State Department official Rose Gottemoeller to be NATO deputy secretary general, based on her role in covering up Russian treaty violations.

Sens. Tom Cotton, Jim Risch and Marco Rubio outlined their objections to Ms. Gottemoeller, undersecretary of state for arms control and international security, in a letter to Secretary of State John F. Kerry last week.

“Our main concern with Secretary Gottemoeller’s appointment is an apparent unwillingness to keep the North Atlantic Council and individual member states apprised of key updates on Russian arms control violations associated with the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty, her frequent public ‘misstatements’ on this topic, and her reputation as a ‘Russia apologist,’” the senators stated.

They cited an incident in March when Ms. Gottemoeller testified that U.S. intelligence agencies were unaware of any Russian INF treaty violations prior to the December 2010 Senate ratification debate on the New START arms treaty.

“Other than being patently false, this statement directly contradicts an interview she gave to the Denver Post in November 2015 where she stated, ‘Russia tested, starting in 2008, a ground-launched cruise missile that flies to ranges banned by the treaty …,’” they said, adding that NATO was not notified of the illegal missile until January 2014 — six years after the first test.

“It is this pattern of peddling falsehoods and withholding information that engenders mistrust and skepticism from NATO member states towards the United States,” the senators said in the June 14 letter.

Also, the lawmakers noted that Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker said Ms. Gottemoeller has not pressed Moscow on the arms violations and instead has acted as “more of an apologist.”

Based on Russia’s military annexation of Ukraine, violations of arms agreements and threats of using nuclear attacks against U.S. allies, “now is not the time to be sending a Russian ‘apologist,’ perceived or otherwise, to be NATO deputy secretary general,” they said.

Some 13 House Republicans in March also wrote Mr. Kerry asking that Ms. Gottemoeller’s nomination be scratched because they said she had misled Congress on Russian treaty breaches. That letter was organized by Rep. Michael Turner, the Ohio Republican who chairs the Armed Services Subcommittee on Tactical Air and Land Forces, who repeated his call for the secretary of state to scuttle the nomination.

“As I have stated before, Ms. Gottemoeller’s behavior suggests she may have repeatedly misled members of Congress and our NATO allies,” Mr. Turner said in a statement in response to the Senate letter. “I am now joined by members of the Senate asking you to rescind your nomination of Ms. Gottemoeller and put forth a new American nominee for this important position.”

State Department spokesman John Kirby said the department has seen a copy of the letter but has not received it officially. “As we stated clearly back in March, we strongly support the candidacy of Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security Rose Gottemoeller for the position of NATO deputy secretary general,” he said.

EX-Secret Service agent’s hit book
An association of former Secret Service agents is protesting publication of a new book by a former agent exposing the personal foibles of Bill and Hillary Clinton.

“We strongly denounce any book written by former or current employees that attempts to discredit the trustworthiness of those charged with the protective mission of the Secret Service,” the Association of Former Agents of the U.S. Secret Service said in a statement. “Anytime the sacred privilege between protector and protectee is violated, it erodes the ability to execute the protective mission successfully.”

The statement by the association’s board of directors includes agents with over 200 years of combined experience in the service, including some of the most senior presidential protective agents.

The former agents were responding to the forthcoming book “Crisis of Character” by former uniformed Secret Service Officer Gary J. Byrne, set for publication June 28.

The protection of the president, first lady and first family transcends partisan politics, the statement said. Secret Service agents provide round-the-clock protection for the president without regard for personal gain or glory. Utmost secrecy is required from agents who protect the president and all must provide pre-publication review before publishing books.

“We believe the upcoming ‘tell-all’ book serves no purpose other than to place a divide within the ranks of the agency and attempt to erode the confidence of those protected by the Secret Service,” the statement said.

Published reports on the book say Mr. Byrne reveals intimate details of the Clintons, based on his postings inside the White House that included guard duty outside the door of the Oval Office.

The book is said to contain new disclosures of Mrs. Clinton engaging in “Taming of the Shrew”-like rants against her husband, including throwing a ceramic vase and giving the president a black eye.

“One must question the veracity and content of any book which implies that its author played such an integral part of so many (claimed) incidents,” the former agents said. “Any critique of management by one who has never managed personnel or programs resounds hollow.”

Former agents operate under a code described as “worthy of trust and confidence,” a moral obligation impressed on agents from earliest training, the statement said.

Judge: No bail in Chinese nuke case,
A federal magistrate in Tennessee has denied bail for a Chinese-American man charged in a major nuclear technology transfer case.

Szuhsiung “Allen” Ho, who holds dual U.S. and Chinese citizenship, was indicted in April on charges he conspired to develop and produce special nuclear material in China in violation of the Atomic Energy Act. He also was charged with acting as an unregistered agent of the Chinese government.

Working for the Chinese state-owned company China General Nuclear Power Co., Mr. Ho sought to buy details of U.S. nuclear reactor designs that would allow China to shortcut research and development in building copies of U.S. reactors.

The technology sought by the Chinese is dual-use and could be used to support China’s large-scale nuclear weapons modernization program.

According to the indictment, Mr. Ho since 1997 worked with six U.S. unidentified nuclear experts, many of them Chinese-American, and arranged visits for them to China. Some were paid to supply nuclear technology and information for China’s nuclear power industry.

One email quoted in the indictment states that Mr. Ho, who was born in Taiwan and raised in the United States, wrote to one nuclear expert stating, “I am looking for experienced fuel design/manufacturing/testing people (across the entire spectrum) for an upcoming project in Shenzhen, Guangdong. … Retired or active [U.S. Company 1] people are all acceptable. Please help but do not openly announce this news. I don’t want to alert [U.S. Company 1].”

Mr. Ho targeted a second company seeking the design of its hardware and software for a core-monitoring system.

The nuclear engineer has pleaded not guilty and sought to be released on a $1 million bond. If convicted of the nuclear charges, he faces up to life in prison.

Federal Magistrate Judge Bruce Guyton on June 16 denied pretrial release for Mr. Ho over concerns he would flee the country. The judge stated in a detention order that, prior to Mr. Ho’s arrest in April, he spent more than 300 days per year in China, owns residences there, and since 2009 has transferred $3 million from his consulting business in Delaware to China. The company he works for in China also is owned by the Chinese government.

The nuclear technology conspiracy case highlights China’s ongoing efforts to steal U.S. technology.

“Allen Ho, at the direction of a Chinese state-owned nuclear power company allegedly approached and enlisted U.S. based nuclear experts to provide integral assistance in developing and producing special nuclear material in China,” Assistant Attorney General John Carlin said in April. “Ho did so without registering with the Department of Justice as an agent of a foreign nation or authorization from the U.S. Department of Energy.”

In the 1990s, Chinese technology spies, focusing on American nuclear weapons laboratories and through covert means, were able to obtain secrets on all deployed warheads in the U.S. nuclear arsenal.

One of the engineers targeted in the case, Tennessee Valley Authority official Ching Huey, made a plea bargain with prosecutors in the case last year.

  • Contact Bill Gertz on Twitter via @BillGertz.

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