The Secret Life of Web Hubbell

Congressional investigators looking into the White House
campaign scandal have discovered that convicted Whitewater
figure, and former assistant Attorney General, Webster Hubbell
had access to national security secrets.  The documents involve
top secret materials of high value to China or to banking
interests such as the Lippo group owned by Moctar Riady.
Investigators report that Hubbell played a major role in a
secret computer security project called CLIPPER.  CLIPPER was an
effort to "mandate" government computer security and ban all
other computer products.

The CLIPPER chip was designed to allow the US government to
monitor all phones, faxes and computers, according to recently
declassified Department of Justice documents.  CLIPPER used a
special technology called encryption to scramble any information
passing through it, including voice, fax or computer data.
CLIPPER also had a special feature which allowed the government
to monitor any information passing through it.  US Commerce
Department official Raymond G. Kammer denied in April 1993 that
CLIPPER contained a "trap door" or "back door".  However,
declassified documents show that Kammer's statement was false.
US government Officials knew that CLIPPER had a special back
door feature.  FBI agent J. R. Davis, wrote in a 12/23/92
Department of Justice report, "The most serious concern is that
the scenario regarding the use of the 'exploitable' chip could
surface publicly during the transition period or shortly after
the Clinton administration arrives, but before they approve the
proposed overall solution."

Hubbell's CLIPPER work at the Justice Department also raises
questions about Attorney General Reno and conflicts of interest,
according to Larry Klayman of Judicial Watch.  Klayman noted Ms.
Reno was Hubbell's direct superior during his 1993 and 1994
CLIPPER work.  Any investigation into Hubbell's role in CLIPPER
will also involve investigating the Department of Justice and
Janet Reno.  The Justice Department has so far refused to
release documents on Hubbell to Judicial Watch, and to several
privacy activist groups who have sued in Court for their

In addition, according to Klayman, who is a former Justice
Department prosecutor, Whitewater Special Counsel Ken Starr can
now investigate directly into the White House campaign scandals
involving Huang and Lippo because of Hubbell.  Hubbell is
currently being investigated by Starr for possibly taking money
from Lippo in 1994 to not testify in the Whitewater scandals,
involving the President and the First Lady.  Unlike Whitewater,
however, Hubbell's work on CLIPPER involves the activities of
Huang and Clinton inside the White House.

It was known that Hubbell attended at least one meeting at the
National Security Administration (NSA) on May 2, 1993 along with
Vince Foster and Bernard Nussbaum.  Now, documents from Hubbell's
personal schedule from 1993, show that the Whitewater figure met
multiple times at the White House on a top secret project called
CLIPPER.  Hubbell met with the then National Security Council
advisor George Tenet who is currently the Director of the CIA.

Hubbell resigned from the Justice Department in April of 1994.
In late June 1994, Lippo Chief James Riady met with John Huang,
and Bill Clinton in five days of White House visits.  Early the
next week, a Lippo unit paid Hubbell about $100,000.  In
December 1994 Hubbell pled guilty to several felony charges
relating to illegal billing in the Whitewater affair.  Webb
Hubbell also cited his Fifth Amendment rights to not testify
before the Senate Congressional hearings.

The "exploitable" feature of CLIPPER worried US government
officials about potential security breaches.  Then FBI Director
William Sessions wrote two secret papers to George Tenet early in
February of 1993.  The FBI documents reveal that CLIPPER had
flaws which could compromise all the systems equipped with it.
Webster wrote "This design means that the list of chip keys
associated with the chip ID number provides access to all
CLIPPER secured devices, and thus the list must be carefully
generated and protected.  Loss of the list would preclude
legitimate access to the encrypted information and compromise of
the list could allow unauthorized access."

The CLIPPER flaws also worried other US government agencies and
the space agency, NASA, even declined to use CLIPPER because of
security concerns.  In 1993 NASA's Benita A. Cooper, Associate
Administrator for Management Systems and Facilities, wrote a
letter rejecting CLIPPER.  Ms. Cooper referenced Soviet spy John
Walker as an example of why NASA would not adopt the chip.
Walker is currently serving life in prison for disclosing US
Navy secret codes to the former Soviet Union.  Ms. Cooper wrote
"There is no way to prevent the NSA from routinely monitoring
all (CLIPPER) encrypted traffic.  Moreover, compromise of the
NSA keys,  such as in the Walker case, could compromise the
entire (CLIPPER) system."

In early May, 1994 Assistant Attorney General Jo Ann Harris
testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee that the Clinton
administration did not intend to nationalize the US computer
security industry:

  "As the administration has made clear on a number of
occasions, the key escrow encryption initiative is a voluntary
one; we have absolutely no intention of mandating private use of
a particular kind of cryptography, nor of criminalizing the
private use of certain kinds of cryptography."

Yet, Attorney General Janet Reno was charged if necessary, to
make CLIPPER mandatory, according to a recently declassified
Presidential Directive of April 1993 on CLIPPER.  The directive
states "Should (US) industry fail to fully assist the government
in meeting its requirements within a reasonable period of time,
the Attorney General will recommend legislation which would
compel manufacturers to meet government requirements."
Additionally, the CLIPPER documents sent to Tenet in 1993 by
then FBI Director Webster state "Technical solutions, such as
they are, will only work if they are incorporated into all
encryption products.  To ensure that this occurs, legislation
mandating the use of Government approved encryption products or
adherence to Government encryption criteria is required."

The White House source of legal advice in the CLIPPER project
was the Justice Department.  Janet Reno was directed by
President Clinton in April 1993 to join the Inter-Agency Working
Group (IWG) to set CLIPPER policy.  The Department of Justice
wrote most of the reports and ran the IWG meetings.  Now
Congressional investigators know that assistant Attorney
General Webb Hubbell was given access to TOP SECRET documents
and plans on the CLIPPER chip, including the math algorithm and
even the flaws of the system.

Of greater concern to investigators is the possible penetration
of US economic secrets.  For example, one major feature of
CLIPPER that is still in use today is an electronic Digital
Signature.  Digital signatures are used to verify bank money
transfers world wide.  Trillions of dollars are sent each year
using this method.  The larger version of the CLIPPER chip,
called CAPSTONE, was designed for banks and contained a special
digital signature to verify money transfers.

In 1993 and 1994 the Clinton administration attempted to
purchase the patents on the most popular commercial banking
digital signature from a US company called RSA Inc.  RSA
Chairman Jim Bidzos turned down the offers and the effort failed
in March 1994.  After March 1994, RSA threatened to sue anyone
using the digital signature unless they paid patent royalties.
In December 1994 the administration responded by patenting the
signature as US government property and simply declared it was
free for anyone to use.  In addition, the administration put in
writing that the Justice Department would defend and pay for any
lawsuits involving the contested electronic signature.
According to Commerce Department documentation this effort was
to make all electronic security free, and not subject to patent
royalties.  Thus, the government made the signature very
attractive to US security software and hardware makers.

In December, 1997, this author submitted a legal Freedom of
Information request to the Commerce Department seeking all
information on "any projects to monitor US financial and banking
transactions".  Curiously, the Commerce Department replied that
one document, which they refused to release, references the
patent on the digital signature currently held by the
government.  This raises the question of whether the government
developed digital signature has an "exploitable" feature similar
to CLIPPER to allow government interception and decoding of
financial transactions.  

The role of Web Hubbell in the secret CLIPPER project has also
raised questions outside of Capitol Hill.  "This is a potential
economic espionage threat," stated computer expert and
President of Delta Tech, Steve Bryen.

"US companies doing business in China are most vulnerable," said
Bryen who recently testified before Congress on the Clinton
exports of super-computers to China.  "China can use this to
conduct commercial espionage against major US corporations.  It
is very worrisome that China may have the opportunity to
break-in and conduct electronic operations using reverse
engineering.  The digital signature is widely used by US
commercial and financial institutions.  China can combine the
encryption technology and the 50 plus super-computers the
Clinton administration sold them to break into major US

"The public imposes a great deal of trust in US officials and
deserves to have persons of the highest integrity to serve in
position, such as Assistant Attorney General," stated Michelle
Van Cleave, advisor to the House Committee on Terrorism.

"I am stunned to learn Whitewater figure Hubbell had access to
Clipper," stated Ken DeGraffenreid member of the National
Security Research Institute.

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