In April of 1996 Secretary Ron Brown died in a tragic airplane crash while visiting the former Yugoslavia. Several important US businessmen died with him on that rugged mountainside in europe. The death of the Secretary came as a blow to the White House and to the criminal investigations of Ron Brown's Commerce Dept. It was well known that a Special Prosecutor was preparing heavy evidence of corruption. Mr. Brown's death stopped that part of investigation just before the 1996 election.
Yet, other parts of that investigation are now winding their way into the US courts. One such example is the recent guilty pleas from the Lums, involving the bribery of Secretary Brown and special deals for natural gas. Examples of prosecutions soon to come have been brought forth from Ms. Hill, Ron Brown's former girl-friend, who alleged that the Secretary had an off-shore bank account of one million dollars from Vietnam.
The blow to the White House was displayed by the President himself, who personally burst into tears at Ron's funeral. However, his forced display of mourning was caught on film. Clinton had just stepped out of his limo, laughing his guts out, when he noticed several cameras were focused on him. Perhaps, someone had told him something funny about Ron Brown?
However, adding to this mystery, another Commerce employee seems to have been involved in the fatal trip. Ira Sockowitz would collect a vast array of information on Bosnia and Croatia just days before the troubled Mr. Brown would leave for his trip. Fresh bios on all the right people, prepared by an array of professionals from every field of science. This information involved the people Mr. Brown was scheduled to meet in Bosnia and Croatia.
Later, in August of 1996, Ira Sockowitz quietly took these bios of the Bosnian and Croatian leaders out of the secured facility at the Commerce Department to his new job at the Small Business Administration. These secret documents would join a host of other classified material from the Department of State, NSA, CIA, Commerce, Russia, and France. All hidden in a personal safe just before the 1996 Presidential election.
SOCKOWITZ FILES INVENTORY
FOLDER Labeled - Bosnia & Croatia Leadership
Not all weapons are on earth. Hundreds of objects fly over our heads on a daily basis. Satellites, a spin off of the missile age, are the robot eyes and ears of modern warfare. Satellites provide communications links, targeting, reccon and electronic information. Satellites can also yield vast amounts of commercial, communications, weather and business data.
Still, one needs a reliable space truck to put satellites up. Something nice to do that kind of heavy lifting. Unreliable systems can be a disaster to both national security and national business. Our grounded fleet of shuttles were an "eggs in one basket" concept after the Challenger explosion. We had abandoned the tried and true Saturn and other expendable launch vehicles. Meanwhile, Ariane (France) and Long March (China) pumped up satellite after satellite.
This high tech business should be something for the world of NASA, NRO, DoD or the CIA.... N O T. Try the US Commerce Department. Ira Sockowitz walked out of the Commerce Department with what appears to be a big bang assignment:
sub folders SPACE LAUNCH and SPACE COMMERCE
Sockowitz FILES - XXXX = classified
* 12/08/95 memo to Bettie Baca from William Reinsch re National Interest Waiver for XXXXXXX Communication Satellite Project with attachments. - Source Dept. of Commerce - classified.
* 12/11/95 17 page document dealing with telecommunications satellites (Russia and Kazakhastan) - Source Dept. of Commerce.
* 12/01/95 Classified Transmission from National Security Council - Message no. 2565 - source NSC - SECRET.
* 11/1/95 Fax copy of US/ Ukraine Joint Launch Vehicle Program - source Howard Pedlosky.
* 11/29/95 Interagency Briefing - XXXXXX Alternate Launch Site (ALS) Export Licensing - source LKE.
* 10/24/95 Attachment A - Statement of Work to Technical Assistance Agreement between XXXXXXXX Commercial XXXXX Company and XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX - Source XXXXXXXX (?)
Now for some background information...
LKE is an international venture formed in early 1993 for the worldwide sale of Russian Proton commercial launch vehicles and satellite integration services. The venture includes Lockheed Commercial Space Company, Khrunichev Space Center and NPO Energia. Launch service contracts for Proton and Atlas are held through ILS International Launch Services (ILS) using contracts with Lockheed Khrunichev Energia (LKE) and Lockheed Martin Commercial Launch Services. The Proton launches will fly from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in the Republic of Kazakhstan. The Atlas will be launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida.
The end of the cold war is making strange bedfellows out of people who still have nuclear weapons pointed at each other. Alas, money is money and LKE is booked solid now that they have US government blessing. The appetite of humanity for military space pictures is only exceeded by our desire to watch MTV. One example is the IRIDIUM project - a world wide ring of low orbit communications satellites (see photo at top).
This was no space walk. There was big money involved. For example, the most recent purchase of Russian engines by Lockheed totals to over a billion dollars. US money paid to Russian engineers to build Russian rocket engines. Yet, here among the stars is a former DNC fundraiser, banker and lawyer. Neither cosmonaut nor astronaut. Commerce Department bureaucrat Sockowitz, floating out of a secret facility with classified notes on a multi-billion dollar US/Russian satellite launch deal.
Federal Election Commission data -
There is one Lockheed Martin contribution from 1993-1994.
There are 576 Lockheed Martin contributions from 1995-1996.
Early in 1993 the Clinton administration set up a group of government agencies to review domestic encryption policy. This group adopted the name "Interagency Working Group" or IWG. This little social club of bureaucrats included members from the following agencies:
BXA (Bureau of Export Affairs)
Dept. of Justice (ATR/FCS)
NIST (National Institute For Standards and Technology)
Dept. of State
Office of Management and Budget
This "Interagency Working Group" met and wrote several reports on proposed Clinton administration policy and legislation. For example, the working group met in May of 1993. From that meeting a series of questions arose which were documented and distributed to members of the meeting. "How extensive need legislation or other controls be to ensure satisfactory levels of use of key escrow encryption?", asked Geoffrey Greiveldinger from the Dept. of Justice. The suggested answer is, of course, blacked out as Secret by the NSA.
However, the Interagency group would later write a secret report in November of 1993 which states: "MANDATE THE GOVERNMENT SOLUTION: Legislation to prohibit use of any encryption product in the United States that does not employ the chip designed by NIST/NSA/FBI..." Again, the legislation drawn up by the secret elite is blacked out as secret. This particular draft document is so heavily classified that even the government classification level was redacted by the NSA. You can see both memos at the SOFTWAR web site:
Did the IWG stop in 1993? The answer comes from inside the secret files of Ira Sockowitz. It is known that Ira Sockowitz walked out of the secured facility at the Dept. of Commerce with dozens of classified documents from the CIA, NSA, NSC and Dept. of State. In addition, Ira also took Secret memos and reports from the IWG. Here are just a few samples:
* 3-8-96 Fax transmission from Ed Appel, Office of Intelligence, National Security Counsel (NSC) to Interagency Working Group (IWG) on Cryptographic Policy (1 p) sending a charter draft (3 pp). Classified as per DOC.
* 3-13-96 Informal note from Ed Appel, National Security Counsel (NSC) to Interagency Working Group (IWG) on Encryption and Telecommunications re Escrow Agent Approval. NSC/DOC document. Classified as per DOC/NSC.
* 2-9-96 Agenda for 2-9-96 meeting for IWG on Encryption and Sockowitz notes. DOC document. Classified as per DOC.
* 1-31-96 Agenda for 1-31-95 meeting for IWG on Encryption and Sockowitz notes. DOC document. Classified as per DOC.
So, Mr. Sockowitz met with the IWG as late as Feb. 1996. Thus, the IWG is still in business. There is One BIG problem with the IWG. One member agency is the CIA. The CIA is authorized to deal with foreign - NOT DOMESTIC - policy. This simple fact means that the CIA has consciously violated its charter and Federal law since 1993.
The basic components of a modern war-rocket are the rocket itself, and a re-entry vehicle which is nothing more than a satellite with a heat shield. To control a modern ICBM (Inter Continental Ballistic Missile) you need a computer, some software and a code system. The computers provide the control and the secret codes ensure it will only respond to master.
The final component is, of course, the nuclear warhead.
Ira Sockowitz left the Department of Commerce and went to his new job at the Small Business Administration with boxes of secret materials. He shouldn't have taken them from the secured facility at Commerce. Inside these boxes are all the basics of modern warfare. Inside one box were materials on secret code keys and the US companies that make them, consuming over half of the materials taken. This author has already spent a great deal of time pursuing some of these documents.
Yet, Mr. Sockowitz was interested in far more than encryption software. Many more documents left with Sockowitz. The descriptions, forced from the Clinton administration by Judicial Watch, are all that have been released. For example one file in the "SPACE LAUNCH" folder is described as:
"Cover sheet for classified info; memo to Bettie Baca from William Reinsch re National Interest Waiver for XXXXXXX Communications Satellite Project with attachments - 4 pages classified documents and 10 pages unclassified documents and Executive Secretariat Clearance Sheet."
Bettie Baca is very familiar to Softwar. Ms. Baca wrote this in response to our April 4, 1997 FOIA request for information on the US government project to nationalize the computer security industry:
"Seven documents which provide legal advice concerning project Clipper are being withheld under attorney-client privilege incorporated into exemptions (b)(5), two documents are being withheld under the attorney-client privilege and deliberative process privilege incorporated into exemption (b)(5) and one document is being withheld under the deliberative process privilege incorporated into exemptions (b)(5)."
May 23, 1997
Gee, Bettie. You have lots of jobs there at Commerce. One minute you are exchanging letters with William Reinsch on secret satellite deals the next you are rejecting FOIA requests. If we were to ask about waivers would you cite "attorney-client privilege" again?
Another example inside the folder marked "REMOTE SENSING" is evidence that the Department of State was heavily involved. Here are two of several entries:
"3/25/96 Cable from American Embassy TOKYO (002655) (double sided)"
"Cover sheet for classified documents; 4 part of Classified Material Reciept dated 04/11/96 (double sided); Draft State Department Cable dated 04/17/96"
Finally, and most chilling of all is the Sockowitz folder labeled "URANIUM FROM RUSSIA". Inside this folder were details of US efforts to buy left-over weapons grade uranium from Russia, including memos to Ginger Lew and others on "Suspension Agreement on Uranium from the Russian Federation". There are even documents filed on Canada:
Russia currently has 130 tons of weapons grade plutonium and over 1000 tons of weapons grade uranium left over from the Cold war. These radioactive isotopes pose a great risk to world peace and a great temptation for terrorist states. For example, in late 1995, US intelligence officials picked up indications that Iran was engaged in an effort to steal or purchase 600 kilograms of enriched uranium stored at an unguarded site in the former Soviet Union. Defense officials responded with a plan called "Operation Sapphire" in which the US bought the leftover uranium and quickly transported it to a processing facility where it was diluted for use in commercial nuclear reactors.
What would appear to be a sweet success for President Clinton actually turned out to be a significant political failure. The secret nature of trafficking in nuclear materials invaded the White House and contaminated Clinton's campaign. A Russian arms dealer, known for his association with organized crime, paid President Clinton a visit last year and had DINNER with the President.
MI5, the UK's intelligence service, had already observed the same dealer working with Russian MINIATOM (Ministry of Atomics) officials and suspected he was involved in illegal trafficking of radioactive materials. MI5 quietly warned its CIA counter-parts who passed the details to their White House contacts in the National Security Counsel (NSC). Democratic (DNC) leaders wanted the arms dealer to be allowed in the White House because he promised large donations to the 96 campaign. The White House NSC advisors wanted him to stay out because of his connections to illegal weapons trade. Finally, NSC members provided secret evidence to Democratic party officials in the form of National Security Agency (NSA) intercepts of phone conversations in a failed attempt to scuttle the invitation. However, despite the hard evidence, the DNC bank account prevailed. Thus, the Russian arms dealer was able to smooze with the Prez and make his donation to Clinton's campaign.
Of course, the DNC has returned the "tainted" money.
Yet, another unlikely connection has also appeared in the form of Commerce Official Ira Sockowitz. Ira took thousands of pages of secret information with him when he left the Commerce Dept. in February 1996 for a new job at the SBA. One section of material taken by Sockowitz deals with "Uranium From Russia." Ira Sockowitz, banker, lawyer and DNC fund-raiser personally worked with Ginger Lew and an assortment of State Dept. personnel on U235 from Russia. One issue he dealt with was Canadian protests of the US purchases. It would seem that some Canadian uranium miners were not too happy over the US/Russian midnight deals since it violated NAFTA and cut in on their glowing business.
Finally, more allegations surfaced that the same arms smuggler who donated the "tainted" money to the DNC had also leased a C-130 to fly uranium out of Khazatistan in 1995. Perhaps, the same U235 that the US Defense Department bought? It does not seem too far fetched to question the connections between "Sapphire" and the sudden influx on foreign money into the Clinton campaign. Nor does it seem out of place to ask about passing secret information to DNC buddies. Would it be improper to ask if the "tainted" donations were a kick-back for a secret uranium deal to keep Iran out of the nuclear club?
Redacted Inventory of Ira Sockowitz materials at SBA DOC = DEPT. OF COMMERCE NSC = NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL NSA = NATIONAL SECURITY AGENCY CIA = CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY DOS = DEPT. OF STATE file folder labeled "Uranium From Russia" pages description date source 4 8/4 note to Ginger Lew from Steve re: 8-4-94 DOC Homer Moyer and Uranium; 8/4/94 memo to Timothy J. Hauser from Paul L. Joffe and Roland L. MacDonald re: Participation of Miller & Chevalier in Verification of Russian Uranium Suspension Agreement. 14 Memo to Joe Spetrini from Tom Ehr and 6-24-94 DOC Melissa Skinner re: Yesterday's NAFTA Chapter 20 Consultations with Canada Regarding the Amendment to the Suspension Agreement on Uranium from the Russian Federation. 2 Memo to Paul Joffe and Joe Spetrini 6/27/94 DOC from Tom Ehr and John McInerney re: Miller & Chevalier Briefing on Meeting with Department of JUSTICE Anti-Trust Officials Regarding Amendment to the Suspension Agreement on Uranium from the Russian Federation. 2 Statement of Administrative Intent signed 7-17/94 DOC signed by Joseph A. Spetrini. 15 Memo to Stephn J. Powell from David J. Ross 4-11-94 DOC re: GATT and NAFTA Considerations of the Amendment to the Suspension Agreement on Uranium from the Russian Federation. 15 Memo to Stephn J. Powell from David J. Ross 3-23-94 DOC re: GATT and NAFTA Considerations of the Amendment to the Suspension Agreement on Uranium from the Russian Federation. 4 Memorandum for Ginger Lew from Steve 3-23-94 DOC Powell re: Canada's Complaint about US - Russian Uranium." *** end of sub file file folder labeled "CHINA": pages description date source 6 Memo from Timothy J. Hauser re: Your meeting 1-30-96 DOC with US Ambassador to China Sasser (addressee not indicated) (double sided copies). 3 Cover sheet and 2 pages classified none DOC information 2 US Nonproliferation Sanctions Authority none unknown 10 Cover sheet and 9 pages (including 4 pages 1-26-96 DOC classified information). *** end of file folder file folder labeled "TURKEY": pages description date source 3 Cover sheet and 2 page memo from Robert 1-2-96 DOC P. Gallagher to The Secretary re: WELCOME BACK PACKAGE (classified document). *** end of file folder file folder labeled "INDIA" pages description date source 5 1 page cover sheet + 4 pages classified 12/28/95 DOC information concernnig GLENN Amendment 185 1 page cover sheet + 184 pages concerning various DOC IPR India (including 10 pages of limited STATE Dept. official use documents and 17 pages of confidential documents), including 1 page handwritten notes of Mr. Sockowitz (undated); 5/94 Dept. of State telegram re: IPR Enforcement Gains Respectability in India (2 copies); Defacto Application of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Agreement (undated) (3 copies); 10/11/94 letter from William McGuire to Gregory Francis re: BXA End-User Seminars in India (10 pages including attachment); 1/6/95 FAX transmittal sheet from Roger A. Brooks to Ira Sockowitz re: Paper on India (3 pages of attachments not included); and 1/9/95 Indian IPR Briefing Book Prepared by Ira Sockowitz (164 pages, including 10 pages of limited official use documents and 13 pages of confidential documents). Some double sided copies ** end of file folder file labeled "ENCRYPTION": pages description date source 107 secret Study of the International Market 2-1-96 DOC/NSA for Computer Software with Encryption unredacted 98 secret Study of the International Market DOC for Computer Software with Encryption redacted 9 OECD Reporting Cable re meeting in Paris 1-25-96 DOC on 12/18-19/95 of experts on cryptography FRANCE policy. RESTRICTED 1 informal note from Ed Appel, National 3-13-96 DOC/NSC Security Council (NSC), to Interagency Working Group (IWG) on Encryption and telecommunications re Escrow Agent Approval 4 FAX transmission from Ed Appel, Office of 3-8-96 DOC/NSC Intelligence, NSC, to Interagency Working Group on Cryptography Policy (1 p) sending a Charter draft (3 pp). 105 Memo from Ed Appel, NSC to IWG-Encryption 2-13-96 DOC/NSC/NSA Members re 3-15-96 meeting (1 p); fax sheet from Ed Appel to Ira Sockowitz (1 p); and the following attachments: Infosec Business Advisory Group Paper re "The Use of Cryptography in Business" dtd 12/19-20/95 (10 pp); International Chamber of Commerce ICC position paper on International Encryption (5 p); draft letter from Edward J. Appel and Michael R. Nelson (IWG/ET) to Edward J Regan, Chairman of Information Policy Committee of U.S. Council for International Business (USCIB) (1 p) with draft response to USCIB's "Comments on Administration Criteria" (7 pp), 12-1-95 letter from Edward J. Regan, USCIB, to Executive Office of the President (4 p),2- 16-96 memo from Chris Inglis, National Security Agency (NSA), to Ed Roback, NIST (1 p) with attached draft of talking points to cover CSPP questions (10 pp), paper on "Perspectives on Security in The Information Age" (26 pp), printout from Information Access Co. re Crypto policy perspectives dtd 8-94 (13 pp), Fax cover sheet dtd 2-23-96 from Ed Roback, DOC NIST to Ira Sockowitz re draft "Leahy bill" (1 p) with attached Bill (21), and article from The Washington POST re "Scrambling from a Policy on Encryption" (4 pp/ds). 63 handwritten notes from Ira Sockowitz to Ray 5 Agenda for 2-9-96 meeting for IWG on 2-9-96 DOC Encryption and Sockowitz notes. 5 Agenda for 1-31-96 meeting for IWG on 1-31-96 DOC Encryption and Sockowitz notes. 5 Agenda for 1-25-96 meeting for IWG on 1-25-96 DOC Encryption and Sockowitz notes. 8 Agenda for 1-18-96 meeting for IWG on 1-18-96 DOC Encryption and telecommunications and Sockowitz notes. 4 Memo from Ira Sockowitz to Ginger Lew re DOC Encryption IWG meetings of 1-18, 1-25, and 1-31-96. 15 Classified material Receipt dtd 2-10-96 (4 DOC pp), cover sheet (1 pp), White House fax sheet dtd 2-16-96 (1 p), and draft version 2-16-96 of Encryption Policy Options (9pp). 1 Talking points on Encryption by Mike Nelson 1-18-96 DOC OSTP 28 #20914 in upper right hand corner none DOC 1 Classified Material Receipt re Encryption 2-21-96 DOC Policy Options paper-draft version 2-16-96 10 Memo from Ed Appel enclosing draft of 1-23-96 DOC Encryption Policy Options fpr 1-25-96 NSC Deputies meeting.
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