William Katz:  Urgent Agenda

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GREAT MOMENTS IN NATIONAL DEFENSE – AT 10:08 A.M. ET:   Is our government for us or against us?  There are times when it's hard to decide.  From Fox:

The U.S. government has approved the sale of U.S. taxpayer-backed A123 Systems to a Chinese company, despite security and economic concerns about sensitive technology changing hands.

A representative with A123 Systems confirmed Tuesday to FoxNews.com that Wanxiang America Corp. has gotten approval from a Treasury Department agency to take over "substantially all" of the non-government business assets of the lithium ion battery manufacturer.

"We're pleased the government has completed its review and provided us with the go-ahead to finalize this transaction," Pin Ni, president of Wanxiang America, said in a written statement.

A representative with the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States -- an inter-agency panel chaired by the Treasury Department that would have made the decision -- declined to comment.

The move comes despite concerns from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle about a Chinese firm taking over a company -- and technology -- that U.S. taxpayers helped fund through $249 million in grants. Of that money, about $130 million had been released so far, the Department of Energy said.

The grant “was used for the construction of brick and mortar advanced battery manufacturing facilities at two Michigan locations," Energy Department spokesman Bill Gibbons said. "The purchase of these assets includes the Energy Department’s requirement that the plants and equipment partially paid for by the Recovery Act stay in Michigan and continue to operate, generating job opportunities for American workers and helping to establish a domestic manufacturing base for this growing global market.”

Even so, the deal would essentially transfer sensitive battery technology with "key military applications," according to one group that opposed the sale.

COMMENT:  The Clinton administration did the same thing with missile technology transferred to China.  I suspect, but cannot prove, that some dirty money is changing hands in this deal. 

Indeed, it is no secret that foreign countries spread plenty of money around Washington every year, especially to former government officials, to make their way a bit easier.  The Saudis are champs at this.  World champs.

Take one example:  Bill Clinton.  He's gotten fabulously wealthy since leaving the White House.  Did all that money come from from fees for speeches to PTA groups?  I don't think so.  Again, I stress that I have no direct evidence, but I wonder why the media is so uninterested in the flow of money in Washington.  It may be one of the biggest untold stories of our time.  People, including foreign governments, pay major dollars for influence.  Influence can be bought.

If a foreign country expects to obtain valuable technology, and a profit of, say, $50-million on a deal, a $5-million-dollar fee to an "adviser" is not unreasonable.

Remember, the U.S. Government openly offers millions of dollars in rewards every year to foreign citizens who give us valuable information.  Imagine what goes on out of the public eye.

January 30, 2013