Time: Sun Jul 13 16:07:12 1997
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Date: Sun, 13 Jul 1997 16:05:50 -0700
To: (Recipient list suppressed)
From: Paul Andrew Mitchell [address in tool bar]
Subject: SLS: WOODWARD: FBI Cleared China Funds Revelation (fwd)

>FBI Cleared China Funds Revelation
>Sen. Thompson Says No Dispute on Facts
>By Bob Woodward
>Washington Post Staff Writer
>Sunday, July 13, 1997; Page A01
>The Washington Post
>Sen. Fred D. Thompson (R-Tenn.) says his decision to begin
>campaign finance hearings last week by confirming reports of
>a Chinese political influence-buying plan came after aides
>spent hundreds of hours reviewing sensitive information on the
>Executive branch sources said that Thompson's statement was
>cleared late Monday by the FBI, the CIA and the National
>Security Agency, a day before he read it at the opening of his
>Thompson, who chairs the fund-raising probe, said in an
>interview Friday that the information -- which executive
>branch sources said included highly classified communications
>intercepts -- has been made available to all members of his
>Senate Governmental Affairs Committee, but that only some
>have examined it. FBI Director Louis J. Freeh was involved in
>clearing the information, executive branch sources said.
>"There is no dispute about the facts among anyone who looks
>at the documents," Thompson said.
>In his statement at the hearings Tuesday, Thompson said the
>committee believed "that high-level Chinese government
>officials crafted a plan to increase China's influence over the
>U.S. political process," and took "specific steps" to do so,
>including the allocation of "substantial sums of money" to
>influence federal and state elections.
>"Our investigations suggest that the plan continues today,"
>Thompson said in his statement.
>Thompson went on to talk about other aspects of the Senate
>inquiry, which is expected to continue through the fall, and
>subsequent proceedings last week shed little new light on the
>China question. But his statement on China -- confirming in
>public much of what already has appeared in the media -- was
>what made the week's most prominent headlines and
>provoked the strongest political response.
>The existence of the Chinese plan was reported first last
>February by The Washington Post, based on information
>provided by executive branch sources. In an article on Feb.
>13 and in subsequent articles, The Post reported that the
>Justice Department was investigating the effort, much of which
>was uncovered in coded communications traffic between
>Beijing and the Chinese Embassy here and elsewhere.
>The investigation has established that the plan was launched in
>1995 as a relatively benign congressional lobbying activity, but
>became an effort whose goal was to illegally funnel money into
>political campaigns. Approved at the highest levels of the
>Beijing government, the plan was placed under the control of
>the Chinese Ministry of State Security, Beijing's equivalent of
>the CIA.
>Thus far, however, federal investigators have been unable to
>discover a direct link between money from Beijing and the
>Democratic National Committee or the Clinton reelection
>In his own opening presentation Tuesday immediately
>following Thompson, Sen. John Glenn (Ohio), the committee's
>ranking Democrat, noted that he had declined to sign on to
>Thompson's statement and asked whether there was "any real
>evidence" that such a plan had been carried out by China.
>Glenn, who had access to the same information as Thompson,
>said he believed Thompson had gone "a little further than I
>would choose to go."
>But Thompson insisted in the interview Friday that he felt the
>information was of sufficient gravity that a summary should be
>made public. "We couldn't sit on it. If it came out in a year or
>six months that China was doing all this with all the issues with
>regard to China on the table, ranging from trade status to
>defense issues, the committee would rightly be subject to
>intense criticism."
>Thompson said he had examined some of the critical
>intelligence data, and that three senior investigators on the
>committee staff had spent "hundreds of hours" reviewing the
>"I felt it was important to make it public right away,"
>Thompson said. "I cannot imagine Congress and the American
>people not having the benefit of what we know. . . . Nothing
>could be more relevant than this information."
>He acknowledged, however, that given the sensitivity of the
>information, "We may never be able to lay out all of the
>details." Documentation of the Chinese plan is contained in
>highly classified intelligence intercepts that rarely are made
>public because disclosure might compromise sensitive sources
>and methods used to protect national security.
>Glenn indirectly referred in his statement to possible partisan
>motives on Thompson's part, and the fact that the overall
>committee investigation has focused in large part on suspect
>foreign donations to the Democrats. "If there was Chinese
>government money illegally entering the American political
>system," Glenn asked, "is there any evidence that such money
>went to candidates of only one political party?"
>In addition, Glenn said, "I am greatly concerned about how
>the reports are sometimes discussed by individuals in this body
>and in the press. I've heard language like `infiltration,' `foreign
>spies,' `foreigners,' we're `jeopardizing our national security.' "
>"Well, on this issue," Glenn said, "the committee should go just
>as far as the facts take us, recognizing that it's the FBI that's in
>a much better position than a congressional committee to do
>an espionage investigation."
>Some Senate Democrats have played down, if not disputed,
>Thompson's revelations. "For a large man, Senator Thompson
>has crawled out on a very narrow limb, and it's a long way
>back," Sen. Robert G. Torricelli (D-N.J.), a committee
>member, said on Fox television last week. "I was very
>surprised by his statement."
>But another Democratic senator familiar with the classified
>evidence said Thompson was on solid ground.
>For his part, President Clinton has neither embraced nor
>disputed Thompson's account. "I do not know whether it is
>true or not," Clinton said last week. Accordingly, Clinton said
>the charge "can't in any way, and shouldn't affect the larger
>long-term strategic interests of the American people and our
>foreign policy. . . . However, it is a serious charge. . . . And I
>think we have to let the investigation play itself out."
>On Thursday, the Chinese government repeated its previous
>denials that such a plan was ever formulated or carried out.
>"Some people in the United States, out of domestic political
>needs, are out of thin air once again slandering China," Foreign
>Ministry spokesman Tang Guoqiang said in Beijing.
>Thompson's Tuesday statement provided additional details on
>the scope of the plan and its goals. In addition to targeting
>federal and state campaigns, he said, "another aspect of the
>plan is remarkable because it shows that the [People's
>Republic of China] is interested in developing long-term
>relationships with persons it has identified as up-and-coming
>officials at state and local levels. The intent is to establish
>relations that can be cultivated as the officials rise through the
>ranks to higher office. . . ."
>U.S. intelligence has established that about $2 million was
>allocated by the Chinese government, of which at least $1
>million was transferred to U.S. banks or to the Chinese
>Embassy here.
>But officials familiar with the details of the investigation are
>quick to point out that critical gaps remain, and may never be
>closed. Principal among them is the failure to establish a
>conclusive link between the well-documented plan and any of
>the suspect contributions that went to the Democratic National
>The intelligence on the Chinese plan establishes that Beijing
>had the "intent" to make illegal campaign contributions, one
>official said. Separate public records show that millions of
>dollars of suspect and possibly illegal contributions were made
>to the DNC. But there is no direct line between Chinese
>money and DNC-Clinton coffers.
>"There is an intent and a crime," the official said, "but the two
>have not been connected."
>Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), a veteran of the Senate
>intelligence committee and a member of Thompson's
>committee, has called this missing link "the dotted lines"
>between the plan and political contributions.
>Others on the Republican side have described the
>establishment of those links as the central goal of the
>committee's inquiry. "The premise that the Chinese
>government has been involved in our political process
>underpins everything we're trying to prove about the serious
>problems with the last election," said Paul Clark, spokesman
>for the committee Republicans.
>Because of the Justice Department's criminal investigation, the
>FBI is declining to provide Congress -- including Thompson's
>panel and the House and Senate intelligence committees --
>with more details about the Chinese connection.
>"The curtain has come down," one source said, noting that
>some of the most sensitive intelligence sources were being
>used in the criminal probe.
>Staff writer Guy Gugliotta and researcher Jeff Glasser
>contributed to this report.
>) Copyright 1997 The Washington Post Company
>-> Send "subscribe   snetnews " to majordomo@world.std.com
>->  Posted by: kalliste@aci.net (J. Orlin Grabbe)

Paul Andrew Mitchell                 : Counselor at Law, federal witness
B.A., Political Science, UCLA;  M.S., Public Administration, U.C. Irvine

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