Reps. Wolf and Smith Ask For Answers About Ames Research Indictments

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Today, House Appropriations Commerce, Justice, and Science Subcommittee Chairman Frank Wolf and House Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith sent a letter each to FBI Director Robert Mueller and NASA’s Inspector General Michael Horowitz requesting answers to a delayed Department of Justice Investigation concerning several potential ITAR violations at Ames Research Center. These ITAR violations may have included the improper handling of, among other classified information, information on U.S. missile defense weapons.  Foreign nationals working at Ames Research were allegedly discovered attempting to take such information to China, among other countries. It is further alleged that these ITAR-related violations occurred at Ames Research Center over a period of years.

The two senior members of the House covering NASA’s appropriations and oversight asked why indictments sought by the U.S. Attorney’s office, and supported by the FBI, were denied by the Justice Department without reply. They also requested to know why an assistant U.S. attorney on the investigation was unexpectedly transferred. The following are excerpts from the letter to FBI Director Robert Mueller.

“We have been told by sources close to this investigation that the FBI’s case is substantially complete and was referred to the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of California for prosecution, but it has been stalled for more than a year and that an assistant U.S. attorney was reassigned from the case. It is our understanding that the charges in this case are rapidly running up against the statute of limitations, and that the first charge expired on December 15, 2012.” — Rep. Frank Wolf and Rep. Lamar Smith

“We are very concerned to learn earlier this week that despite the U.S. Attorney’s request for permission from the Justice Department to proceed with indictments, this request was recently denied without explanation, despite the backing of both the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s office. We are deeply concerned that political pressure may be a factor and are formally requesting an investigation into the circumstances of the Justice Department’s actions with regard to this case.” — Rep. Frank Wolf and Rep. Lamar Smith

Letters to FBI Dir. Mueller & NASA IG Horowitz

Some have speculated that Smith’s tenure as Chairman of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee would follow the status quo. These letters suggest that Rep. Smith seeks to inject some energy into NASA oversight.

4 comments to Breaking News: Reps. Wolf and Smith Ask For Answers About Ames Research Indictments

  • Mary Kanian

    THIS STORY DESERVES IMMEDIATE ATTENTION & ACTION AT THE HIGHEST LEVELS OF GOVERNMENT……I HATE IT WHEN WHAT A LOWLY TAXPAYER & CITIZEN OF THESE UNTED STATES, SUCH AS MYSELF, DISCOVERS THAT WHAT I SUSPECTED FOR YEARS…..YES…YEARS…..HAS INDEED BEEN HAPPENING !!!!

    IT SEEMS THAT ONLY JUST IS BLIND IN THIS COUNTRY…INDEED IN THIS WORLD…BUT I EXPECT BETTER…MUCH BETTER OF “THESE UNITED STATES”…!!!!!

    THE ONLY WAY TO CLEAN UP THE DIRT…IS EXPOSE IT!!!!!

    (Thank you Jim Hillhouse!!)

  • Mary Kanian

    **Correction to above…

    IT SEEMS THAT ONLY JUSTICE IS BLIND IN THIS COUNTRY…..etc

  • Karol

    Excellent article Jason! Thank any deity you may wish to worship for AmericaSpace, Jim Hillhouse, Jason Rihan, et. al. Nothing can be added to your eloquent and obviously heartfelt reply Mary other than, how can “Who wore what dress to the Grammy Awards” receive far more coverage by the news media than this extremely important information? What next? Am I crazy on a ship of fools, or is something very seriously wrong here?

  • […] 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. […]