A congressman says he’s alarmed that President Obama’s science “czar,” John Holdren, apparently has been collaborating with the Chinese even though Congress specifically prohibited that activity in a bill signed into law by his boss, Obama.
The accusations from U.S. Rep. Frank Wolf. R-Va., came this week in a hearing of the House Foreign Affairs subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations.
The committee was listening to testimony about China’s espionage in the United States and “the violation of the law by the director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy.”
Wolf noted he opposed the idea that the U.S. should work with China in any way regarding that nation’s space program.
“The Chinese space program is being led by the People’s Liberation Army, and to state the obvious, the PLA is not our friend as evidenced by their recent military posture and aggressive espionage against U.S. agencies and firms,” Wolf said.
His concern was raised because NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden had scheduled a trip to China to talk about cooperation between NASA and the Chinese army, and Holdren made multiple trips to China for weeks of meetings.
Holdren’s viewpoints have been far afield from traditional American perspectives, with his suggestion that America should surrender to a “planetary regime” and his petitioning for a deliberate reduction in the stocks of U.S. weapons-grade plutonium.
WND first broke the story that Holdren also visited the Soviet Union during the Cold War as vice chairman of a group whose founder was accused of providing vital nuclear information that helped the Soviets build an atom bomb.
“I was … concerned to learn that Dr. John Holdren, head of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), had spent 21 days in China on three separate trips in one year – more than any other country. Very little information about these cooperative agreements with China were being provided to Congress and the American people,” Wolf said.
“So, I included language in Section 1340 of the Fiscal Year 2011 Continuing Resolution preventing NASA and OSTP from using federal funds ‘to develop, design, plan, promulgate, implement or execute a bilateral policy, program, order, or contract of any kind to participate, collaborate, or coordinate bilaterally in any way with China or any Chinese-owned company,” he continued.
It was signed into law by Obama in April.
“Less than one month after its enactment, I learned that Dr. Holdren and OSTP had defied the provision. Even more troubling is that he withheld information about his intention to do so during his appearance before the House Commerce-Justice-Science Appropriations subcommittee when we discussed, among other things, the implementation of Section 1340, and Dr. Holdren’s participation in the U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue, from May 6-10,” he said.
Wolf said he called on the Government Accountability Office to investigate, and that office determined the “plain meaning of Section 1340 is clear.”
“OSTP may not use its appropriations to participate, collaborate or coordinate bilaterally in any way with China or any Chinese-owned companies,” the GAO said.
Further, the GAO said, “As a consequence of using its appropriations in violation of Section 1340, OSTP violated the Antideficiency Act. … Accordingly, OSTP should report the violation as required by the act.”
A WND call to the White House was routed to several different offices without getting a response to a request for comment.
Further, when asked for a contact for Holdren, the White House press office told WND, “I don’t think that will be possible.”
In a published statement prepared for the meeting, Holdren said he knew about the ban and wouldn’t follow it.
“OSTP’s activities in bilateral diplomacy with China on … issues fall under the president’s exclusive constitutional authority to conduct foreign diplomacy and thus cannot be precluded by Section 1340(a). In reliance on this advice, OSTP continued to engage in these activities,” the statement said.
He added that managed cooperation can outweigh its liabilities – “even when the cooperation is with a potent adversary.”
Wolf explained in a statement to constituents that he authored the ban “after the NASA administrator and the president’s science adviser attempted to enter into new technology-sharing agreements with the Chinese government, including human spaceflight.”
“I take the GAO findings very seriously,” he told the committee in his statement. “Following the law is not voluntary for administration officials. That is why Dr. Holdren should commit today to full compliance with Section 1340 and publicly acknowledge his error in participating in the bilateral conference with the Chinese government.”
He said the U.S. has been a leader in space technology for decades, and it should be wary of any agreements through which others would have access to its technology.
“I want to be clear: The United States has no business cooperating with the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) to help develop its space program,” he said.
He said American work on the space program has “provided the U.S. with countless security and economic advantages over the last 40 years. … The U.S. has held an enormous advantage in space technology, defense capabilities, and advanced sciences – generating entirely new sectors of our economy.”
He said he had asked Attorney General Eric Holder to make Holdren accountable for the misbehavior, but Wolf’s office said there had been no response.
The ripples that are created by violating such provisions are far-reaching, he said.
He said China simply is not yet playing on the same level of civilization as the U.S.
“China has a thriving business of harvesting and selling for transplant kidneys, corneas and other human organs from executed prisoners,” he pointed out. Also, “The Chinese government maintains a brutal system of labor camps.”
Beijing also requires outside companies, such as Yahoo, to serve its communist government agenda, and the Chinese are exporting technology for spying on citizens to other nations.
And it oppresses religious rights, routinely putting in prison Protestant house church pastors, he said.
“Let’s be perfectly clear about how China is advanced militarily: They are utilizing ‘other than legal means,’” Wolf said.
China also is a major source of Internet attacks on U.S. technology, and it is a major arms supplier for various unwelcome regimes around the world.
“The Chinese government brutally represses its own people. It persecutes people of faith. It censors the Internet. It maintains labor camps. The Chinese government actively engages in cyber-espionage. It steals state secrets. It aligns itself with countries directly at odds with U.S. interests. It supports genocidal governments and buttresses rogue regimes. There’s a legal term, ‘willful blindness,’ that aptly described our dealings to date with China. Faced with these painful truths, blindness is no longer an option,” he said.
WND previously has reported on Holdren’s perspectives, including that he collaborated with conspiracy theorist Paul Ehrlich, author of “The Population Bomb,” in which it was proclaimed: “The battle to feed all of humanity is over. In the 1970s, the world will undergo famines – hundreds of millions of people are going to starve to death.”
Holdren also predicted 1 billion people will die in “carbon-dioxide-induced famines” in a coming new ice age by 2020.