AmericaSpace Launch Countdown

Next Launch AsiaSat-6 on a Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral AFB, FL
scheduled for:
27 Aug 14 4:50:00 GMT
27 Aug 14 0:50:00 EDT

Days
Hrs
Min
Sec
Click here for more details...

Enter your email address to subscribe to AmericaSpace and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Breaking News: Both House and Senate Leaders Raise Temperature on Ames ITAR Questions

Ames_Research_Pic_Logo

Photo Credit: NASA

Things are heating up over questions of whether an investigation about possible ITAR violations at Ames Research Center was squelched last year. In response to questions about whether the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California ever sought indictments of Ames officials for ITAR-related violations, Melinda Haag, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of California, recently denied publicly that her office had sought indictments in the Ames case. Now both she and Assistant U.S. Attorney Lisa Monaco, at the Department of Justice, have come into the crosshairs of Reps. Smith and Wolf, as well as Senate Judiciary Ranking Member Charles Grassley.

The members of Congress want to know why there is a divide between what the U.S. Attorney’s Office and law enforcement are saying happened regarding the Ames investigation. Their letters to U.S. Attorneys Monaco and Haag give the impression that some in law enforcement are none too happy with the way the Ames issues were handled. More ominously, Representatives Wolf and Smith and Senator Grassley raise serious questions not only of a legal nature for U.S. Attorneys Monaco and Haag, but for some in the White House, Department of Justice, NASA, Ames, and some company, or companies, that have Space Act agreements with NASA HQ or centers.

Two weeks ago, House Commerce, Justice, and Justice Chairman Lamar Smith and House Appropriations Commerce, Justice, and Science Subcommittee Chairman Frank Wolf wrote to both FBI Director Mueller and Department of Justice Inspector General Horowitz. In their letters, they raised questions about a request for indictment by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California, after an investigation conducted by law enforcement over possible ITAR violations at Ames that had been denied without explaining by the Department of Justice.

Now, Representatives Wolf and Smith, along with Senator Grassley, want to know why U.S. Attorney Haag’s comments conflict ” …factually with information received from federal law enforcement.” Specifically, in writing U.S. Attorney Monaco, the members wanted to know:

  1. Did you or any member of your staff have any communications related to this case with any current or former U.S. Attorney’s Office official? If so, who did you or your staff speak to and please describe the communication?
  2. Did you or any member of your staff have any communications related to this case with any current or former White House and/or Executive Office of the President official? If so, who did you or your staff speak to and please describe the communication?
  3. Did you or any member of your staff have any communications related to this case with any current or former NASA official? If so, who did you or your staff speak to and please describe the communication?
  4. Did you or any member of your staff have any communications related to this case with any employee, representative, attorney, or lobbyist of an organization or firm that has a contract or Space Act Agreement with NASA headquarters or any NASA center? If so, who did you or your staff speak to and please describe the communication?

In their letter to U.S. Attorney Haag, the questions were just as pointed:

  1. It is our understanding that Assistant United States Attorney Gary Fry was initially assigned to this case, but was replaced by Elise Becker. Is this correct? If so, please explain why AUSA Fry was removed and replaced by AUSA Becker.
  2. Did you or any member of your staff have any communications related to this case with any current or former official at Justice Department Headquarters? If so, who did you or your staff speak to at Main Justice and please describe the communications?
  3. Did you or any member of your staff have any communications related to this case with any current or former White House and/or Executive Office of the President official? If so, who did you or your staff speak to and please describe the communication?
  4. Did you or any member of your staff have any communications related to this case with any current or former NASA official? If so, who did you or your staff speak to and please describe the communication?
  5. Did you or any member of your staff have any communications related to this case with any employee, representative, attorney, or lobbyist of an organization or firm that has a contract or Space Act Agreement with NASA headquarters or any NASA center? If so, who did you or your staff speak to and please describe the communication?

 

Rep’s Wolf & Smith Letters to US Attorneys Monaco and Haag

12 comments to Breaking News: Both House and Senate Leaders Raise Temperature on Ames ITAR Questions

  • mike shupp

    Numbers, please, or at least a little history.

    (1) Is the first ITAR-violation inquiry at NASA spurred on by Congressmen? If not, what were the circumstances behind other investigations and how did the judicial process turn out?

    (2) Is this the first ITAR-violation inquiry, anywhere in the federal government, brought about by Congressmen? Again, circumstances and outcomes would be useful.

    (3) Are these the first ITAR-violation inquiries brought by these 3 particular Congressmen? Or the first criminal inquiry of any sort brought about by these 3 Congressmen? How does their record stand, when compared with other Congressmen, present and past?

    Inquiring minds want to know.

    • A investigation by federal law enforcement on ITAR issues will not start with Congress. If sources are correct, this one began with several Ames people.

      Congressional members with oversight of NASA are only now getting involved because these possible ITAR violations began long enough ago that the statute of limitations for filing charges already expired on one count and will soon for another. If you read the Wolf, Smith, Grassley letters, you’ll have your questions answered.

      At this time however, neither I nor AmericaSpace will comment any further about the Ames ITAR issues beyond what we are currently reporting. There will be additional coverage by AmericaSpace on the Ames ITAR issues as more is learned. Please stay tuned.

  • [...] minutes before Fry was to begin the proceedings, and without explanation, he was replaced by Assistant U.S. Attorney Elise Becker, and the investigation suddenly [...]

  • [...] minutes before Fry was to begin the proceedings, and without explanation, he was replaced by Assistant U.S. Attorney Elise Becker, and the investigation suddenly [...]

  • [...] minutes before Fry was to begin the proceedings,and without explanation,he was replaced by Assistant U.S. Attorney Elise Becker,and the investigation suddenly [...]

  • [...] minutes before Fry was to begin the proceedings, and without explanation, he was replaced by Assistant U.S. Attorney Elise Becker, and the investigation suddenly [...]

  • [...] Those who get their news from the mainstream media would never know it, though the scandalous details have been reported in several aerospace trade publications as well as Washington D.C.’s conservative newspaper. Read about this unbelievable occurrence—and the administration’s apparent cover-up—at the nation’s space agency (National Aeronautics and Space Administration or NASA) here, here and here. [...]

  • [...] this time Holder’s fingerprints appear to be on the purported International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) violations by NASA Ames Research Center Director, Simon P. “Pete” [...]

  • Keith

    Yea, so what is anybody gonna do about it? This is just another outlandish breaking of written laws. Had Rand Paul and Ted Cruz not stepped up on this killing Americans with drone business, congress would be continut to sit on both hands collecting their handsome ransom from the tax payer. Sometimes I think congress is nothing but a bunch of drones trying to figure out how to pick the tax payers wallet and give the money away to foreign interests. This is just sickening.

    • Keith,

      To my knowledge, only one American citizen has been killed in a drone strike, Awalaki.

      And I’m curious what is the issue with drones is the US? Aren’t they just another weapon that extends law enforcement’s ability to kill those who would otherwise be taken-out with…say, snipers? Will Rand and Ted next filibuster over FBI and police snipers?

  • Don Jones

    Recent Congressional action to have the NASA IG investigate the NASA-Ames ITAR voilations is a farce! ;-( No better example of the fox investigating the hen house! ;-(

    DoJ needs to really investigate from a unbiased view — if there really is one even here!

    DJ from San Jose

    • DJ,

      You’re right of course. But the House will start with NASA IG Paul Martin in a manner that one would give someone an inch of rope to see if he will take more and hang himself. House staffers know a lot more than they are letting onto. So if Martin messes this up, the House will know and, I imagine, there will be one more person to investigate. So it’s up to Martin to make the right choice.