30 June 1999. Thanks to Peter Leitner.

See also Dr. Leitner's articles:

"Supercomputers, Test Ban Treaties, and the Virtual Bomb:" http://jya.com/stb.htm

"A Bad Treaty Returns: The Case of the Law of the Sea Treaty:" http://jya.com/btr.htm


News From

The House Committee on Government Reform

June 29, 1999


Calls on Secretary Cohen to get personally involved in computer tampering case

Washington D.C., — Chairman Dan Burton (R-IN) today called on Defense Secretary William Cohen to take swift action regarding an attempt to tamper with the computer of Dr. Peter Leitner on the afternoon that Leitner was testifying before the Committee. Dr. Leitner was one of five witnesses who appeared before the Government Reform Committee on Thursday, June 24, at a hearing on retaliation against employees at the Departments of Defense and Energy. The committee was informed about the incident on Friday, June 25, and began investigating the allegations immediately.

On Monday night, Jay Davis, Director of the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA), informed the committee that DTRA was conducting an internal investigation into allegations involving "inappropriate access to Dr. Peter Leitner’s computer." The committee was independently informed that the individual in this incident is the same person that Dr. Leitner testified he believed had made false allegations of security violations against him in the past.

"First, Secretary of Energy, Bill Richardson, tried to do everything he could to get last week’s hearing cancelled -- now this," Burton said. "George Orwell couldn’t have dreamed this up.

"I’m furious that Dr. Leitner would suffer further intimidation for telling the truth about national security problems on the very day he was testifying before Congress. It’s almost too unbelievable to imagine. While Dr. Leitner was telling my committee about the retaliation he suffered for bringing his concerns to his superiors and Congress, his supervisor was trying to secretly access his computer. This smacks of mob tactics.

"While DTRA says they’re conducting an internal investigation, I intend to call Secretary Cohen to request his personal involvement in this case.

"It amazes me that the Department of Justice took months to access Wen Ho Lee’s computer in their investigation of nuclear espionage at Los Alamos, yet on the very day that Dr. Leitner was testifying before my committee, someone was trying to get into his computer without permission.

"I intend to ask a lot of questions of the Defense Department officials involved and I expect to get straight answers. You can be assured that my committee will investigate this case and we intend to get to the bottom of it."

Dr. Leitner, who has been a longtime internal critic of easing controls on sensitive technology, testified about the retaliation he suffered for bringing his concerns to Congress. He previously testified before the Cox Committee and the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee about the failure of current export-control policy and how it continues to be detrimental to U.S. national security. Dr. Leitner was the licensing official who objected to the 1994 sale by McDonnell Douglas of sensitive machine tools to China. A "60 Minutes" report last year highlighted how these parts made their way into a Chinese missile plant, thus fulfilling Dr. Leitner’s warnings.

"I take this as both a personal affront and an affront to the United States Congress," Burton said. "Congress will not stand for this kind of witness intimidation."

-- 30 --

[Congressional Record: June 24, 1999 (Digest)]
[Page D725-D729]
From the Congressional Record Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]

                        House of Representatives



Committee on Government Reform:

  The Committee approved resolutions to Grant Immunity to Maria Mapili, 
Reynaldo Mapili and Charles T. Chiang.

  The Committee held a hearing on Retaliation at the Departments of 
Defense and Energy: Do Advocates of Tighter Security for U.S. 
Technology Face Intimidation? Testimony was heard from Representative 
Weldon of Pennsylvania; Lt.Col. Edward McCallum, Director, Office of 
Safeguards and Security, Department of Energy; the following officials 
of the Department of Defense: Peter Leitner, Senior Strategic Trade 
Adviser and Michael Maloof, Chief, Technology Security Operations, both 
with the Defense Threat Reduction Agency; and Jonathan Fox, Arms 
Control Specialist, Defense Special Weapons Agency.

  The Committee also met in executive session on this subject. 
Testimony was heard from Robert Henson, Physcist, Los Alamos National 
Laboratory, Department of Energy.

The Washington Times

5am -- June 24, 1999

House panel to hear from several whistleblowers

By Audrey Hudson


Several government whistleblowers will testify today before a House committee that they were fired, demoted or harassed for reporting the "systematic pillaging" of U.S. military and nuclear secrets to their superiors and Congress.

According to documents and advance testimony obtained by The Washington Times, the federal employees say the retaliation and harassment was directly linked to their internal criticism and testimony before Congress.

The Government Reform Committee's hearing will focus on the retaliations at the Defense and Energy departments and how advocates of tighter security for technology are facing intimidation.

"These witnesses have important information, and it is extremely troubling that they perceived threats to their jobs for telling the truth," said Indiana Rep. Dan Burton, the committee chairman. "We will not stand for government employees suffering retaliation simply because they told the truth about national security."

Los Alamos physicist Robert Henson, who first uncovered Chinese spying at the laboratory, was fired twice for bringing it to the attention of the Energy Department. He will testify that his firing was in retaliation for delivering a message nobody wanted to hear. He has since been reinstated at the lab after initiating a lawsuit.

Lt. Col. Edward McCallum, director of the office of safeguards and security at the Energy Department, says he was put on administrative leave in retaliation for criticizing security at DOE nuclear facilities.

Peter M. Leitner, a senior strategic trade adviser for the Defense Department and a witness in congressional investigations, says retaliation against him prompted letters from Tennessee Republican Sen. Fred Thompson to the Pentagon expressing his concern for his witness.

As a result, the Office of Special Counsel is investigating political reprisals and illegal retaliation against Mr. Leitner.

"Ever since these testimonies, I have been subjected to, in staccato fashion, one adverse harassing act after another," Mr. Leitner states in his testimony.

He says his performance ratings were lowered and he was isolated from meetings on nuclear exports, particularly when the inspectors general were visiting the interagency meetings in response to a Senate inspection request.

Mr. Leitner says he was harassed over sick leave, was given a "trumped-up" letter of reprimand, charged with a security violation and threatened with charges of insubordination.

"To be victimized by my own government -- particularly the Defense Department -- for consistently putting the near- and long-term national security of the United States ahead of all other considerations is something that I still find astounding to this day," he said.

In 1997, Mr. Leitner issued denials for many export-license applications from DOE laboratories, including Los Alamos, Sandia, Livermore and Oak Ridge.

The licenses would have facilitated the transfer of high-technology equipment with direct application to nuclear-weapons development and testing "to the most dangerous entities within the Russian nuclear weapons" design and manufacturing complex.

"I objected then and continue to object today to these so-called lab-to-lab transfers because there was no evidence of a security plan to protect U.S. technologies from being used against us," Mr. Leitner said.

Jonathan Fox, an arms control specialist for the Defense Department, will tell how he was ordered to rewrite a critical memo on the eve of a state visit by Chinese President Jiang Zemin in October 1997.

Mr. Fox's first memo said one deal with China presented "real and substantial risk" to the United States and allied countries." He was directed to change the memo so that it stated the agreement was "not inimical" to U.S. interests. He will testify that he has also suffered retaliatory actions.