Editor’s note: This column is the sixth segment of a new 11-part exclusive WorldNetDaily series excerpted from Jack Cashill’s shocking new book, “Ron Brown’s Body.” “At the end of day,” says Cashill who began the project a skeptic, “it is not irresponsible to talk about murder.” Cashill further notes that, astonishingly, no reporter from the major media has written a book about the 1996 presidential election that even mentions the names James Riady, John Huang or Bernard Schwartz. Today, Cashill examines the dangerous relationship between Schwartz, Brown and the Clintons.
No American had more sway over Clinton administration foreign policy than Loral honcho Bernard “Bernie” Schwartz. His money spoke with such clarity that, in early February 1996, the White House dispatched Ron Brown to collect a major chunk of it in person. No doubt, Schwartz could have mailed it in. But by sending a Cabinet member, the White House signaled both its respect for Schwartz and its recognition of his intent, namely to secure waiver approval for Loral’s satellite launches.
In return for staying “on board” Brown’s sinking ship, his confidante Nolanda Hill, who had also been targeted by Brown’s independent counsel, insisted on being apprised of any action that might threaten her freedom. Brown welcomed a second opinion. On his February trip to New York to see Schwartz, he needed one.
The meeting was brief and to the point. Hill met with Brown immediately afterward. Still reeling, Brown showed her the two checks Schwartz had given him. Hill could not believe what she was seeing. Combined, they totaled $1.2 million. Hill does not “think” the total was $1.2 million, she “knows” it was and told the Justice Department as much in a pre-sentencing interview.
The checks must have unnerved even the Democratic National Committee, as they were never logged in. Still, Schwartz got his point across, and before this election cycle was over, he would officially donate more than $630,000 in soft money to the DNC – 50 times what he had given in the last presidential election. No Democrat gave more.
In February 1996, Schwartz’s money mattered. The Clintons were just beginning to smell victory. To secure it, they had to continue feeding the TV beast. They had fully ignored all Federal Election Commission restrictions and were using soft money as though it were hard.
Much to Schwartz’s frustration, however, the Pentagon was standing firm on the question of commercial satellites. Given the vital technology contained therein, much of it secret, the military had convinced Secretary of State Warren Christopher to keep the satellites on the so-called ”munitions list,” an inventory of the nation’s most sensitive military and intelligence-gathering equipment.
Almost immediately, Deputy National Security Adviser Sandy Berger had begun plotting to undermine Christopher. In November 1995, Berger sent a memo to Christopher’s deputy and long time Clinton buddy, Strobe Talbott. Berger claimed that Ron Brown, who “was far more sympathetic to the satellite makers,” would appeal Christopher’s ruling to Clinton. Berger was clearly setting Brown up for the fall, should there ever be one.
Still, despite Berger’s machinations, the serious professionals within the National Security Agency, State and Defense were resisting the wholesale transfer of licensing authority for these satellites to the Commerce Department. Once moved to Commerce, the military feared it would lose veto power over exports. In time, Berger would justify their fears as he eventually finessed control to the Commerce Department.
Nolanda Hill was appalled. For all the compromises of her Washington life, she retained her red-blooded Texan vigor. She loved her country, warts and all, and damned if she didn’t know where those warts were. What Brown and Schwartz were doing was treasonous, she thought, and said so in no uncertain terms.
Just a week or so after Brown’s New York meeting with Schwartz, a Chinese Long March 3B rocket carrying the Loral-built Intelsat 708 satellite crashed just after liftoff and killed or injured at least 60 people in a nearby village. This was the third Long March failure in the last three years involving U.S.-built satellite payloads.
Confident of his relationship with the president, Schwartz up and dispatched a Loral-led review team to China to assess the failure of the rocket and suggest refinements. The Cox Committee would later describe Schwartz’s actions as “an unlicensed defense service for the People’s Republic of China that resulted in the improvement of the reliability of the PRC’s military rockets and ballistic missiles.”
So serious was the offense that in 1998 the Criminal Division of the Justice Department launched an investigation. Incredibly, while the investigation was in process, Berger, now national security adviser, sent a memo to the president urging him to “waive the legislative restriction on the export to China of the communications satellites and related equipment for the Space Systems /Loral (SS/L) Chinasat 8 project.”
This waiver would present a huge problem for the prosecution. Berger admitted as much: “Justice believes that a jury would not convict once it learned that the president had found SS/L’s Chinasat 8 project to be in the national interest.” But Berger was not about to let that stop him: “We will take the firm position that this waiver does not exonerate or in any way prejudge SS/L with respect to its prior unauthorized transfers to China.” Berger was blowing smoke, and he knew it. A waiver would make prosecution all but impossible. Under pressure from Schwartz, the president approved the waiver, and the prosecution came to naught.
This story merits its own book, but what deserves immediate comment is the willingness of the Clintons to risk everything to keep the cash pipeline open. Schwartz kept it open and full. Before he was through, Schwartz and Loral would donate roughly $2 million to the Clinton cause. Whether Schwartz gave additional money or favors off the books is a question that deserves asking.
A second question that deserves asking is just how much damage Schwartz, Berger and the Clintons did to America’s national security.
A third question worth asking is whether Ron Brown’s very real threats to expose these machinations led to his death.
Tomorrow: Part 7 – Wang Jun’s excellent White House adventure