The Michigan Militia Corps'

Weekly Update
Internet Edition

Volume 5, Issue 25

Week of July 20, 1998

Air Force One: We Have Trouble

By Timothy W. Maier

Codes for electronic countermeasures to protect U.S. aircraft, including Air Force One, have disappeared from a company under suspicion of helping China improve its missile capability.

Former Loral Space & Communications Ltd. security executive has dropped a bomb -- not the nuclear device but one just as explosive. The jamming codes -- or the tests for the super-secret codes -- for U.S. missile countermeasure systems that protect our high-flying military jets (including Air Force One) disappeared under unexplained circumstances in 1990. And even though those codes since have been upgraded or replaced, the missing computer codes still could pose serious threats if in the hands of a foreign power or terrorist organization.

At least that's what Ed Acosta says in an exclusive interview with Insight. And he was in a position to know: In 1990, Acosta says, he personally was in charge of transporting three of the disks containing the missing high-security jamming code from Loral's Pomona, Calif., site to the company's Pasadena electronic-combat unit, then managed by Wah Lim, 53, the China-born physicist now under intense scrutiny by federal investigators regarding unrelated allegations involving illegal transfers of high-technology missile data to Red China.

Acosta, who neither implicates Lim nor accuses him of any wrongdoing, says he is stepping forward now to reveal the loss of those computer disks because he continues to be bothered about their disappearance and the way that Loral handled the security breach -- one he believes put in jeopardy U.S. national security and the life of the president aboard Air Force One.

"The disks either provided the code to be programmed into the jammer or tested the code, which in either case could compromise security and jeopardize the effectiveness of the ECM [electronic countermeasures] set," he says, recalling how he tried to ring the alarm bells while at Loral but was told to shut up.

Acosta never has forgotten. He says that after delivering the package containing the three disks to a security clerk with proper clearances at Loral's offices in Pasadena, he returned to his Pomona office believing the job completed. Shortly thereafter, Loral security informed him that the disks were missing. Challenged to prove he did not steal them, Acosta provided a transfer slip to his superiors proving he had delivered the highly classified disks to the electronic-combat unit in a heavily wrapped box stamped Secret. . . . . After what he assumed was a careful internal investigation, Acosta was stunned at what happened next. "I was told that the diskettes had probably slipped underneath the flaps of the cardboard box and the box had been disposed," he tells Insight. "They urged me to believe that no security had been compromised. It was hard to accept the story then, and even harder in retrospect."

Acosta has briefed Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, a California Republican who is chairman of the House Science subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics, and his investigators. Although there is no reason to believe that Lim, then Loral's vice president for the electronic-combat division, was involved in the missing-disks caper, congressional investigators believe the information from Acosta and others is important enough to probe further. If warranted, the matter would be turned over to the Justice Department.

Lim, now a naturalized American citizen, was identified in an earlier Insight report as being the subject of congressional inquiries and now is a central figure in a high-level Justice probe involving his role as chairman of Loral's Independent Review Committee that oversaw the analysis of why a Chinese Long March rocket exploded shortly after takeoff in 1996 (see "Rockets Red Scare," June 15). The committee's secretary faxed a highly sensitive report to military officials in Red China detailing possible causes of the rocket's failure without obtaining State Department approval -- a violation of American protocols. Lim initially had given his secretary at Loral approval for the fax, but claims that after speaking with company lawyers he immediately tried to stop the secretary from faxing the 200-page document only to discover it was too late.

Shortly after news broke that the Lim committee improperly had released to the Chinese government potentially damaging missile technology, the New York Times published a 1996 letter written by Lim in which he said he felt honored that Beijing had requested he personally chair the rocket failure-review committee and hoped to use it as an "opportunity to ensure that the Long March launch vehicles have the best reliable record in the future." This memo was written before Lim's secretary faxed the analysis of the failed Long March rocket that U.S. defense experts say may have assured reliability of Beijing's intercontinental ballistic missiles.

Through his attorney, George Newhouse, Lim has denied any wrongdoing concerning the improper fax, though Newhouse previously admitted to Insight that his client may have committed a "technical violation" of U.S. law. Despite repeated attempts to reach Newhouse on the latest revelations involving the missing high-security disks, he could not be reached, nor did he return telephoned messages. Loral officials did not return Insight's calls about the missing missile countermeasure disks. When the Long March rocket fiasco made news, however, they publically responded to the Wall Street Journal that faxing the Lim report to Communist China was a "serious mistake."

Hughes officials did not return calls on the Acosta revelations but previously had cooperated with Insight on the Long March story in which a company official was quoted as saying it was a screwup.

Robert Cooper, who headed Loral's security department in the electronic-combat division, confirms to Insight that Acosta is "telling the truth." After reviewing his personal notes on the matter, Cooper says, he doesn't know the contents of the disks but doubts they contained the countermeasure codes because he believes he would have been fired if they had. However, Acosta insists they contained the codes because these were the only classified projects under way at the time in the Pasadena and Pomona offices.

Cooper received a written reprimand along with another employee, who he says accidentally discarded the box. He recalls that Loral did get an Air Force One contract around the time of the incident. (Records obtained by Insight show Loral produces four major electronic countermeasure warning-and-response systems: radar warning, missile warning, radio-frequency jamming and infrared jamming.).

Cooper called it a serious violation that "gave security a black eye." Management's reaction? "The big wheels didn't want to get close to it because management didn't give a rat's ass about it," says Cooper, a retired Air Force satellite officer who claims Loral management gutted security to help pay for executive bonuses.

Cooper reported the incident to Defense Investigative Services, which launched a three-day probe into the matter and put the incident on Cooper's record. They concluded that because the box was the same color as the paper in which the disks were wrapped, an employee failed to see the disks and then inadvertently tossed the box and the disks in the burn bag. The residue in the burn bag then was transported by another employee to a federal-government facility for destruction. "The box was never found," he says. "It was a nightmare. This just doesn't happen every day. It was the only time something like this happened in the 13 years I was there."

Acosta agrees but still doesn't buy the official story. "The transfer box consisted of two distinct wrappers," he says. "The inside box was wrapped in brown paper and clearly stamped "SECRET" over all six of its sides. The outer box was wrapped in blank brown paper with all seams carefully taped over. The diskettes and remaining copies of the transfer form were in the inside marked box. Even if the diskettes had slipped under the flaps, someone should have torn apart the box looking for them. Besides, it's hard to believe that all three diskettes and three transfer forms could have slipped underneath the flaps."

If the disks fell into the wrong hands, they could have greatly damaged U.S. capability to protect aircraft, including Air Force One, because the "jammer is an airborne ECM designed to protect aircraft from heat-seeking [infrared-seeking] missiles that might otherwise home in on the jet exhaust," Acosta says. "Foreign governments have bought similar sets to install on aircraft used to fly heads of state. Air Force One was similarly equipped."

Congressional investigators say the codes undoubtedly have been changed; however, those with access to the disks could learn a great deal about "the direction of technology" that the United States was adopting and could use such technology to enhance their own countermeasure systems and design missiles to defeat the jammer.

Acosta is the fifth former defense employee to assist congressional investigators probing whether sensitive technology has been transferred. He follows in the footsteps of Marj Walker, who first went public in Insight with her allegation regarding Lim's ordering a subordinate to remove classified military documents from her safe and then allegedly showing these documents to a foreigner without proper security clearance. Newhouse admits the safe incident did occur but says Lim did nothing wrong and the incident was handled properly by Loral's internal security.

Walker says that when Acosta told Rohrabacher and his investigators about the missing disks "they were stunned" and "they didn't say a lot because they all looked quite shocked. My mouth fell open when he said what they were because I knew immediately what they were since I had gone to a seminar dealing with electronic countermeasures."

To this day, Acosta remains bothered about those missing disks that could have jeopardized not only the national security but the life of the president aboard Air Force One. He proposed enhancing security procedures at Loral to protect classified information but his proposal was denied. Instead, he recalls, in 1990 to 1991 "they hung a string around one cabinet with a sign saying, 'This is classified.'"

Meanwhile, congressional investigators are trying to determine why Lim was placed in Loral's satellite division -- which would have required a top-secret clearance -- prior to the completion of his Department of Defense background check. According to national-security sources, Lim worked in the satellite division from February 1993 with a "secret" clearance until the Pentagon gave him a top-secret clearance in March 1994. Lim didn't submit his paperwork until February 1994 and his background check was not completed until September 1994. Investigators are trying to determine what projects he worked on while he held only a secret clearance. At the very least, Walker says, Lim's top-secret clearance with Hughes should be suspended until the Justice probe concludes.

However, some of Lim's friends, such as Ed Rayerman, who worked with Lim at Honeywell in the 1970s, find Lim's credibility beyond reproach. "This guy is a genius," Rayerman tells Insight. "He's the best manager I have ever known. If he was trying to be a spy, he was a poor one. He never asked me for anything." . . . . Cooper agrees Loral had dedicated scientists such as Lim but says they lack common sense when it comes to security. "They do not understand security," he says. "Ultimately, they pay attention to what they want to do -- building a missile system. They don't think about national security. They are more interested in their latest project."

And who heads Loral? Bernard Schwartz, for the last three years the largest individual contributor to the Democratic Party. Hughes was run by Mike Armstrong, now chief at AT&T, who just pulled off a multibillion merger with TCI. Last year Armstrong's company spent $8.7 million lobbying in Washington, where insiders say these guys are untouchable.


Press Release

ATLANTA -- Today Congressman Bob Barr (Ga-7) announced plans to introduce legislation to restore state's rights (The State Sovereignty Act of 1998) and prevent the Administration from implementing a National ID card (The Citizen's Privacy Act of 1998). At a press conference at the State Capitol in Atlanta, Barr was joined by Teresa Nelson, ACLU of Georgia, Sadie Fields of the Christian Coalition and numerous State Representatives and State Senators in support of his legislation.

Barr remarked, "Today I'm urging Congress to take immediate action to prevent Federal encroachment on the privacy rights of Americans and state's rights guaranteed under the Tenth Amendment.

Hats off to GOA members and activists for their tremendous efforts!

By Gun Owners of America
(Wednesday, July 22, 1998)

As we told you to expect, Sen. Bob Smith (R-NH) introduced his "Anti-Brady" amendment as a rider to the StateJustice-Commerce Appropriations bill (S. 2260) yesterday. The amendment passed overwhelmingly, and, unless it's stripped out in a conference committee, the amendment should become law later this year!

The Smith amendment would do three things. As explained by Smith himself yesterday:

Stated simply, my legislation will put a stop to the FBI's plan to keep records of private identifying information on law-abiding citizens who buy guns. . . . Why would we want the FBI to maintain a file on a law-abiding gun owner who did nothing [except] exercise his constitutional right to own a gun? They want 18 months to keep these files. I don't want 18 seconds. I want these files destroyed immediately. That is point one in my amendment. . . . Secondly, the amendment prevents the FBI from imposing a tax on these people. Thirdly, it allows a person to go to court if the FBI does that. We have seen abuses by the FBI. We have seen files held in the White House. Do you want this to go on? That is what this issue is about. That is what my amendment is about.

Members and activists of Gun Owners of America deserve a lot of credit for this victory. Smith's staff has told GOA that during the past month, they have seen boxes of postcards come in to the Senate in favor of his amendment. Your other contacts were also helpful in overcoming some institutional opposition in the Senate.

High-level Senate sources reported that NRA lobbyists were "camped out" in the Senate cloakroom, pushing an alternative to the Smith amendment. They were concerned that Smith's amendment was too tough and that it didn't have enough votes to pass. But despite these objections, your grassroots efforts prevailed!

Indeed, Senator Smith's amendment is tougher than other bills that try to stop the FBI from registering gun owners. Smith's proviso actually allows individuals to "punish" the FBI by suing them for any infringement of privacy (i.e., gun owner registration), and then recover all the attorney's fees that one spends on the lawsuit.

Strange coalition forms to back Smith amendment

Sen. Smith's amendment would, obviously, benefit gun owners first and foremost. But Sen. Smith also appealed to those Democrats who were interested in the issue of privacy. "This is more than a gun issue," he told his colleagues. "This is a privacy issue [as well]."

The privacy issue can often cut across party lines. Some liberal, Democratic Senators voted with Smith purely because of the privacy implications. And thus, Smith was able to garner a filibuster-proof and veto-proof majority. To make matters simpler, we have listed the 31 "bad" Senators who voted AGAINST Smith:

Akaka (HI), Kohl (WI) Biden (DE), Landrieu (LA), Boxer (CA), Lautenberg (NJ) Bryan (NV), Levin (MI), Bumpers (AR), Lieberman (CT), Byrd (WV), Mikulski (MD), Cleland (GA), Moseley-Braun (IL), Dodd (CT), Moynihan (NY) Durbin (IL), Reed (RI), Feinstein (CA), Robb (VA), Ford (KY), Sarbanes (MD), Glenn (OH), Torricelli (NJ), Graham (FL), Wellstone (MN), Harkin (IA), Wyden (OR), Inouye (HI), Kennedy (MA), Kerry (MA)

Fight moves to the House

The House version of the Commerce-State-Justice appropriation bill will be coming up for a vote soon. GOA will keep you updated on our efforts to attach a Smith-type amendment on the House bill. Doing so would help guarantee that a HouseSenate conference committee will not strip the amendment from the bill.

Why is the IRS arming?

USA Journal Online July 23, 1998 by Jon Dougherty

You know, I think the case can be made that, to a certain extent, there is generally nothing wrong with having a few armed federal agents. Most are dedicated to the law, have families of their own and understand the concept of policing a free society.

For example, the US Marshall's service, the Border Patrol, the CIA, the Secret Service and the FBI all have specific law enforcement duties to perform. Most Americans, consequently, understand that those duties are often very dangerous and carry risks to life and limb. Self-protection, as well as the ability to protect citizens, is indeed appropriate.

But what about the Internal Revenue Service? How can Washington justify arming one of the most abusive of all federal agencies? The government's tax collectors don't need firepower, do they? Apparently lawmakers believe they do. In fact, between 1998 and 2000, the IRS will have spent some $1.2 million on weaponry , the very kind the socialists in government are denying to ordinary Americans. How typical.

The most recent budgetary figures show that the IRS has already purchased a million dollars worth of SigArms high capacity semi-automatic handguns, and by the year 2000 the IRS will have spent $200,000 more on high capacity Remington shotguns.

However, budget figures only tell part of the story. Now you know how much is being spent to upgrade and arm IRS agents, but that doesn't explain why the government believes IRS agents have a need, or even a right, to be armed in the first place.

Don't worry, I can already hear the cogs spinning in the heads of the propaganda-meisters. Officials at the Treasury Department will undoubtedly say that IRS agents who operate in the field are expected to go on arrests and therefore are required to be armed.

But the Treasury Department won't explain why IRS agents should be authorized to arrest anyone in the first place. With other federal law agencies at their disposal, the Justice Department doesn't need IRS cops.

Oh, but that's the kicker, isn't it? If you violate federal tax laws, you get to appear before specific tax courts, not just any federal court. In other words, Washington, DC is so scared they are going to get cheated out of a dime that they have established the IRS as a virtual fourth branch of government. Their own laws, their own code, their own courts, their own cops. You can murder unborn babies, but by golly don't even think about cheating on your taxes.

And what about these budget figures? You know that the government is getting a "deal" on these weapons, so figure that a Remington shotgun of the type they're buying will likely cost around $300. Sig Sauer semi-auto pistols go for about $750. Do the math: That's about 667 new shotguns and about 1340 new pistols, or enough for about 600 IRS teams of two if you figure in having the agency keep some spares lying around.

That doesn't count the number of weapons already in the IRS arsenal that are not getting replaced in this budget. Who knows what the real number of weapons the IRS has in their possession really is.

Furthermore, why would Congress - especially after both Houses have recently held hearings into the various and sundry IRS abuses over the years, even authorize arrest powers for IRS agents? Is everyone brain dead in Washington? Didn't various senators and representatives just inform the American people that they didn't much trust the IRS either?

Something smells worse than second-hand tobacco smoke here.

There is no reason to arm IRS agents anymore than there is a reason to arm Department of Energy agents, State Department agents, some Postal Service agents, federal Bureau of Land Management agents, Park Service agents, and so on. According to a recent report in WorldNetDaily, the federal government claims some 85,000 armed federal agents, with about 20,000 new ones trained each year.

It should not be the IRS' job to arrest delinquent taxpayers. After they investigate a crime and get a warrant from a judge to execute an arrest, they should be turning those warrants over to traditional law enforcement agents either on the federal level or on the state and local levels, preferably both. IRS agents, who are already operating under a prejudicial mindset against taxpayers, do not need firepower to help enforce tax laws.

Americans need to know what is happening here. When Washington worships our money more than our freedom, to the point of arming its tax collectors, something's seriously wrong in paradise.


JULY 13: You may have noticed the recent trend towards giving young schoolchildren "career awareness" and having them select tentative careers in middle school. In my home state of Oklahoma, for example,1990 legislation mandated career awareness (beginning in kindergarten) and career exploration. Many schoolchildren throughout Oklahoma are taking vocational aptitude tests. Technology education in Oklahoma seeks to have children "making career decisions at the earliest grades possible." Oklahoma's School-to-Work office says "good career decisions are based on years of career awareness and exploration activities integrated into every subject area, beginning in kindergarten."

But is all this early emphasis on career exploration really a good idea? Is this what schools are for? Do we really want schoolchildren "making career decisions at the earliest grades possible"?

To those of us lacking a doctorate in education, the obvious answer is no. "The great writers did not neglect a fad because they had not thought of it," G.K. Chesterton observed, "but because they had thought of it and of all the answers to it as well." The gifted essayist Wendell Berry, a former professor of English at the University of Kentucky, saw it all coming as early as 1984. Consider his critique of the education-as-career-preparation philosophy:

Teachers "are not providing 'career preparation' so much as theyare 'preparing young people for life,'" Berry says. "This statement is not the result of educational doctrine; it is simply the fact of the matter. To prepare young people for life, teachers must dispense knowledge and enlighten ignorance, just as supposed. But ignorance is not only the affliction that teaching seeks to cure; it is also the condition, the predicament, in which teaching is done, for teachers do not know the life or the lives for which their students are being prepared. "This condition gives the lie to the claims for 'career preparation,' since students may not have the careers for which they have been prepared: The 'job market' may be overfilled; the requirements for this or that career may change; the student may change, or the world may. The teacher, preparing the student for a life necessarily unknown to them both, has no excusable choice but to help the student 'grasp the Trunk' [obtain a broad, basic education before branching out into specialties].

"Yet the arguments for 'career preparation' continue to be made and to grow in ambition," Berry realized in 1984. Students as early as 6th grade are to be "free to choose" career paths. But as Berry points out, "these are free choices granted to children not prepared or ready to make them. The idea, in reality, is to impose adult choices on children, and these 'choices' mask the most vicious sort of economic determinism. This idea of education as 'career track' diminishes everything it touches: education, teaching, childhood, the future . . .

To require or expect or even allow young people to choose courses of study and careers that they do not yet know anything about is not, as is claimed, a grant of freedom," Berry says. "It is a severe limitation upon freedom. It means, in practice, that when the student has finished school and is faced then, appropriately, with the need to choose a career, he or she is prepared to choose only one. At that point, the student stands in need of a freedom of choice uselessly granted years before and forfeited in that grant.

"The responsibility to decide what to teach the young is an adult responsibility. When adults transfer this responsibility to the young, whether they do it by indifference or as a grant of freedom, they trap themselves in a kind of childishness. In that failure to accept responsibility, the teacher's own learning and character are disemployed, and, in the contemporary industrialized education system, they are easily replaced by bureaucratic and methodological procedures [and] 'job market' specifications." St. Paul understood that a child speaks, understands, and thinks as a child. Incredibly, many modern educators fail to grasp this simple truth, as they ask children to make decisions of enormous import "at the earliest grades possible."

If you would like to submit an editorial, commentary, or news story from your perspective on something you have been keeping an eye on, please e-mail it to and it will be evaluated for entrance. Thanks.

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