Bill Clinton’s personal choice for the Commerce Department was former
Lippo banker John Huang. In 1993, John Huang was very close to the
Clintons, having worked with both Bill and Hillary during the Arkansas
years at the part Indonesian-owned Worthen Bank. Indonesian billionaire
Moctar Riady and James Riady paid Huang very well at Lippo Bank, much
more than any income he could legally earn at Commerce.
While in Arkansas, Huang also got to know Arkansas billionaire, and
Lippo partner, Jackson Stephens. When Huang left Lippo for the Clinton
administration, he bravely took a major cut in pay, a $780,000 bonus and
a top-secret clearance.
John Huang (center) meets with President Bill Clinton (left)
Just what did ex-banker turned-patriot Huang do at the Commerce
Huang was no ordinary former-banker. The documents found in Huang’s
Commerce Department office show that the Clinton appointee met with
American defense contractor Raytheon in an effort to sell the Patriot
anti-missile system to South Korea.
The documents were obtained from the Clinton Commerce Department using
the Freedom of Information Act.
In an October 1994 letter, Richard Elliot of the legal offices of
Paul, Weiss, Rifkin, Wharton and Garrison, noted that Raytheon requested
and obtained the meeting with Huang.
“Thank you for agreeing to host a meeting with representatives of
Raytheon at 2:30 pm next Thursday, November 3,” wrote Elliot.
“As we discussed, the purpose of the meeting is to brief you and
other Commerce Department officials concerning Raytheon’s efforts to
sell the Patriot missile system to South Korea. Needless to say, we
would like to request Commerce Department
support for these efforts — and, in particular, for accelerated South
Korean procurement of the Patriot.”
Raytheon gave Huang, the ex-Lippo banker, detailed information on the
Patriot missile and South Korean missile defenses. Huang obtained both
“Coalition military tactical information on North Korean offensive
missiles” and a “U.S. Army analysis” of South Korean defenses.
According to a Raytheon attachment sent to Huang, titled “Modernization
of South Korean Air Defense,” South Korea has no defense against a North
Korean missile attack.
“The North Korean threat consists of primarily high performance
aircraft, cruise missiles and an extensive family of tactical ballistic
missiles,” states the Raytheon documentation given to Huang. “The SCUD
tactical ballistic missiles deployed by North Korea are a serious threat
to all populated areas and industrial areas and military forces in South
Huang was given detailed information on South Korean missile
“Rapid reinforcement of South Korea by Coalition nations cannot occur
until air superiority is established following the outbreak of
hostilities. Given the close proximity of Seoul to the North Korean
threat, this air superiority must be in place
prior to the conflict, air lifts of reinforcements can begin immediately
and available friendly air power can be freed to place maximum effort on
interdiction of attacking land forces.”
“An all weather, day and night Patriot Missile defense of South Korea
is essential to establishing a credible long term deterrence to the
North Korean aircraft, cruise and tactical ballistic missile threats and
is key to the United States objectives for regional stability,” states
“The destabilizing influence of North Korea’s tactical ballistic
missile program must be countered with a defensive capability that can
deny the use of these missile as weapons of terror against the people of
One-time event? According to more documents discovered at the U.S.
Commerce Department, convicted John Huang also obtained detailed
information about Chinese and American artillery sales to the Middle
East. In 1995, Kuwait allocated $1.3 billion to upgrade its field
artillery. Included in this new program was an intense competition
between U.S. based United Defense and China North Industries, or
“Norinco” to win the contract.
The documents in Huang’s files note that there was “heavy pressure
from the Chinese Government” on Kuwait “to select Norinco.”
“China also remains the only member of the U.N. Security Council that
has not been awarded a large military contract from Kuwait. It is
understood that the Chinese are pressing this issue with the Kuwait
Government,” notes the Commerce document from Huang’s files.
Huang’s file on the Kuwaiti howitzer purchase also contains detailed
weapon information of great value to the Chinese military.
“The Chinese offer is of particular concern in that its howitzer has
been recently modernized and configured to NATO standards for ammunition
interoperability,” states the Commerce Department document.
Huang’s assignment to weapon systems is more than just a curious
series of events. The U.S. Commerce Department is not authorized to
conduct the business of warfare. Things that kill like bombs, bullets,
missiles and cannons are by law under the Defense Department and the
Still, the ex-banker did manage to put in some time covering the
secret financial artworks of the Clinton administration. According to an
August 1994 “TPCC” or “Trade Policy Coordinating Committee” document,
John Huang and the CIA discussed pay-offs to Indonesian dictator
John Huang met 37 times with the CIA for secret briefings. Documents
from the U.S. Commerce Department show that in 1994 agents from the
Central Intelligence Agency met with John Huang and representatives from
the U.S. Export-Import Bank and the Overseas Private Investment
Corporation. The subject of the meeting was U.S. government financed
trade deals that contained “first family involvement” or illegal
payments to relatives of then Indonesian dictator Suharto.
The 1994 meeting between the CIA and Huang provided detailed
information on a now-invalid $2.6 billion U.S. sponsored electric power
plant for Indonesia. A 1994 Commerce Department report found in Huang’s
files noted that the Indonesian “Paiton” power plant had encountered
difficulties with financing because the “Asian Development Bank (ADB)”
knew it contained money for a Suharto family member.
“ADB had raised concern about first family involvement during its
consideration of the $50 million financial portion,” states the Paiton
Project document found in Huang’s files.
Another document found at the Commerce Department states, “Ambassador
Barry stated that the project is facing two problems (i) the ADB
financing may cave in and (ii) EXIM financing. Regarding ADB, technical
questions have been satisfied, but ADB
is skittish about involvement of Indonesia’s first family (a minority
shareholder is married to Pres. Suharto’s daughter).”
After the CIA meeting on Indonesian corruption, Huang immediately
left the Commerce Department and went to an office owned by Arkansas
billionaire Jackson Stephens. At the Stephen’s offices, Huang made a
very long phone call to his former Indonesian employer — the Lippo
In 1999, an Indonesian government audit revealed that the Paiton
power plant has accumulated losses of over $280 million. PLN, the
Indonesian power company, estimated that it had lost over $18 billion in
total to Suharto corruption inside various power plant contracts.
At their request, the U.S. legal counsel for the Indonesian power
company PLN quietly obtained copies of the Paiton documents from this
reporter. PLN officials used the Clinton administration documents to
file a lawsuit in the Indonesian courts, charging that U.S.
officials knew the Paiton power plant contract was “corrupt from the
PLN also acquired other U.S. government documents, all legally
obtained by the Freedom of Information Act. The documents clearly show
that Clinton administration officials were aware of “corruption,
collusion and nepotism” inside the electric power trade deals made with
Suharto. In December 1999, the Indonesian court ruled that the entire
$2.6 billion dollar Paiton power plant contract was illegal.
And what of Mr. Huang? John Huang bravely cited his Fifth Amendment
rights nearly two thousand times when asked if he was an agent for the
Chinese military. In 1999, Huang pled guilty to campaign finance