On Friday, April 23, 1999, the Commerce Department partially complied with the
Federal Court of Judge Robert Payne. The order, issued two months ago, forced
the Commerce Department to turn over documents on meetings with Chinese Army
Commerce fully released 1,004 pages of materials that it had
previously denied existed. In addition, 116 pages of materials were either
partially or fully withheld for unknown reasons. The total number of documents
turned over is nearly three times the original estimate provided on April 22,
1999 by the Department of Justice.
The Commerce Department turned over the 116
classified documents to Federal Judge Robert Payne for his review “in camera”
or behind closed doors. Judge Payne ordered all the secret China-Gate materials
to be stored in a special secure vault, guarded by armed Federal Marshals 24
hours a day.
Judge Payne will obtain a written explanation supplied by the DOJ
attorney and the Commerce Department as to why the materials cannot be
released. Softwar will view the Commerce arguments
(not the secret documents) and reply with written counter-arguments. Finally,
Judge Payne will rule whether the documents in question can or cannot be
Commerce, however, failed to comply with the full legal action. A
required index of the secret materials, called a “Vaughn” index, was not
provided by the DOJ attorney representing the Commerce Dept. Without the index,
there is no way to determine exactly what is being called secret by the
The DOJ attorney officially requested an extension of
time to file the required index. This reporter objected. The motion is before
Federal Judge Payne for his review.
According to the motion now before Judge
Payne, the DOJ attorney is blaming the delay on office renovation. The DOJ
attorney said the delay was also caused by “the war” in “Kosovo” and the
“shooting in Colorado.”
The China-Gate suit is quickly turning from a
political and espionage disaster into a legal rout for the Clinton
administration. A cursory examination of the turned over documents has revealed
that the legal response is filled with major mistakes.
For example, the
Commerce Department either withheld or failed to deliver a 1996 report from the
Department of Defense (DOD). Commerce could only find a single page of the
multi-page report, which they delivered to Softwar on July 23, 1999. The
remaining pages are either being withheld, have been destroyed, or were never
Commerce, however, neglected to check the Softwar lawsuit and the
Softwar Web site. This reporter included the
entire 1996 DOD report as evidence in the original lawsuit. The full DOD
report was delivered to Softwar in 1998 in response to a previous Freedom of
Information (FOIA) against the Commerce Department.
In fact, the full DOD
report has been available for nearly a year on the Internet.
been reviewed so far can only be described as stunning. The documents show the
level of contact between the Chinese Army and the Clinton Commerce Department
to be far deeper than previously admitted. The information also includes
Chinese Army meetings with the Energy Department in an effort to obtain U.S.
The first full review of the newly released China-Gate
documents will be published in my weekly WorldNetDaily column, tomorrow.