Page 1       TOP OF DOC

    PLEASE NOTE: The following transcript is a portion of the official hearing record of the Committee on Government Reform. Additional material pertinent to this transcript may be found on the web site of the committee at [http://www.house.gov/reform]. Complete hearing records are available for review at the committee offices and also may be purchased at the U.S. Government Printing Office.

62–410 CC



before the




 Page 2       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

JULY 29, 1999

Serial No. 106–79

Printed for the use of the Committee on Government Reform

Available via the World Wide Web: http://www.house.gov/reform

DAN BURTON, Indiana, Chairman
STEPHEN HORN, California
JOHN L. MICA, Florida
BOB BARR, Georgia
 Page 3       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
LEE TERRY, Nebraska
DOUG OSE, California
PAUL RYAN, Wisconsin
HENRY A. WAXMAN, California
TOM LANTOS, California
ROBERT E. WISE, Jr., West Virginia
PAUL E. KANJORSKI, Pennsylvania
CHAKA FATTAH, Pennsylvania
DANNY K. DAVIS, Illinois
JOHN F. TIERNEY, Massachusetts
 Page 4       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
HAROLD E. FORD, Jr., Tennessee
BERNARD SANDERS, Vermont (Independent)

KEVIN BINGER, Staff Director
DANIEL R. MOLL, Deputy Staff Director
DAVID A. KASS, Deputy Counsel and Parliamentarian
CARLA J. MARTIN, Chief Clerk
PHIL SCHILIRO, Minority Staff Director

    Hearing held on July 29, 1999
Statement of:
Bergin, Peter, Acting Assistant Secretary and Director of Diplomatic Security; Jacquelyn L. Williams-Bridgers, Inspector General; Bonnie R. Cohen, Under Secretary for Management, accompanied by Edward W. Gnehm, Director General of the Foreign Service; Mary A. Ryan, Assistant Secretary for Consular Affairs, U.S. Department of State; and Don Schurman, Regional Security Officer
Letters, statements, etc., submitted for the record by:
Bergin, Peter, Acting Assistant Secretary and Director of Diplomatic Security, prepared statement of
Burton, Hon. Dan, a Representative in Congress from the State of Indiana:
American Foreign Service Association statement
Letter from Mr. Chen
 Page 5       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
Majority reports and exhibits
Prepared statement of
Cohen, Bonnie R., Under Secretary for Management:
Information concerning alleged consular malfeasance
Prepared statement of
Waxman, Hon. Henry A., a Representative in Congress from the State of California, prepared statement of counsel to Mr. Parish
Williams-Bridgers, Jacquelyn L., Inspector General, prepared statement of


House of Representatives,
Committee on Government Reform,
Washington, DC.
    The committee met, pursuant to notice, at 10:30 a.m., in room 2154, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Dan Burton (chairman of the committee) presiding.
    Present: Representatives Burton, Morella, Shays, McHugh, Horn, Mica, McIntosh, Scarborough, Barr, Miller, Hutchinson, Terry, Biggert, Ose, Vitter, Waxman, Maloney, Kucinich, and Schakowsky.
    Staff present: Kevin Binger, staff director; Barbara Comstock, chief counsel; James Wilson, chief investigative counsel; David Kass, deputy counsel and parliamentarian; Kristi Remington, senior counsel; Kevin Davis, senior investigator; Marc Chretien, senior investigative counsel; Mark Corallo, director of communications; John Williams, deputy communications director; Corinne Zaccagnini, systems administrator; Robin Butler, office manager; Michelle White, counsel; Carla J. Martin, chief clerk; Lisa Smith-Arafune, deputy chief clerk; Phil Schiliro, minority staff director; Phil Barnett, minority chief counsel; Kenneth Ballen, minority chief investigative counsel; Michael Raphael and Michael Yeager, minority counsels; Ellen Rayner, minority chief clerk; and Jean Gosa, minority staff assistant.
 Page 6       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Mr. BURTON. The committee will be in order. We have some motions we have to go through before I make my opening statement here.
    A quorum being present, the Committee on Government Reform will come to order, and before the distinguished ranking member and I deliver our opening statements, the committee must first dispose of some procedural issues.
    I would first like to take a moment to welcome the newest member of our committee, David Vitter from New Orleans.
    David, welcome. Glad to have you with us. I know that my colleagues on both sides of the aisle are really glad to have you on the committee, and we look forward to working with you.
    I move that the Subcommittee on Criminal Justice, Drug Policy, and Human Resources be expanded from 16 members to 18 members with 10 members from the majority and 8 members from the minority party. All in favor of the motion will signify by saying aye.
    Those opposed will signify by saying no.
    In the opinion of the Chair, the ayes have it and the motion is agreed to.
    I also move that Mr. Vitter of Louisiana be appointed to the majority vacancies on the Criminal Justice, Drug Policy, and Human Resources Subcommittee and the National Economic Growth, Natural Resources, and Regulatory Affairs Subcommittee. All in favor of the motion will indicate by saying aye.
    All opposed will signify by saying no.
    In the opinion of the Chair, the ayes have it and the motion is agreed to.
    I ask unanimous consent that all Members' and witnesses' written opening statements be included in the record, and without objection, so ordered.
    I ask unanimous consent that all articles, exhibits, and extraneous or tabular material referred to, be included in the record, and without objection, so ordered.
 Page 7       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    I ask unanimous consent that one staff report and compilation of exhibits regarding this hearing be included in the record.
    [NOTE.—The majority report and exhibits referred to may be found at the end of the hearing.]
    Mr. WAXMAN. If I may inquire, Mr. Chair, I think our staffs were in consultation about holding back one of the staff reports until later.
    I withdraw my reservation.
    Mr. BURTON. Without objection, so ordered.
    I also ask unanimous consent that a statement from the American Foreign Service Association be included in the record, and without objection, so ordered.
    [The information referred to follows:]
    [The official committee record contains additional material here.]

    Mr. BURTON. And finally, I ask unanimous consent that questioning in the matter under consideration proceed under clause 2(g)(2) of House rule 11 and committee rule 14, in which the chairman and ranking minority member allocate time to committee counsel or members as they deem appropriate for extended questioning, not to exceed 60 minutes, divided equally between the majority and minority; and without objection, so ordered.
    As I said earlier, I have been involved in a number of congressional hearings and investigations over the years. I have learned a few things along the way. One thing I have learned is that sometimes you begin investigating one problem, and in the process, you uncover other problems you weren't even aware of. By exposing the problem, shining the light of day on it, hopefully you begin the process of fixing it.
    That's what happened under my predecessor Bill Clinger. We began investigating the firing of seven Travel Office employees. In the process, we discovered that the Clinton White House had obtained over 900 confidential FBI files of Republicans who no longer worked there.
 Page 8       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    It happened again during our investigation into illegal foreign fundraising. When Johnny Chung appeared here in May, he testified that a general in charge of China's military intelligence agency gave him $300,000 to donate to the President's campaign. They said they liked the President and they wanted to see him get re-elected. But Mr. Chung also testified about another problem, one we were not expecting, visa fraud. Mr. Chung testified that he saw one of the senior officials at the United States consulate in Beijing, Charles Parish, accept a shopping bag full of cash in exchange for providing visas to Chinese nationals. Now, that's a very disturbing allegation.
    Mr. Chung testified that Mr. Parish asked him for $500 to pay for a computer class for his secretary. Chung said he did it. Chung testified that Mr. Parish asked for $7,000 to pay for tuition for several Chinese students studying in California. Mr. Chung said he did that, as well. This happened at a time when Mr. Parish was approving 25 to 30 visas for Chung's business associates.
    My staff called Johnny Chung this week to ask him for more information about this. He told us that he was riding in a car with Mr. Parish in Beijing. He said that Mr. Parish didn't really ask for the money; he demanded it. Chung said that the tone in Mr. Parish's voice sent a very clear message, ''I want you to do it, you have to do it.'' Chung said that Mr. Parish was so insistent that Chung called his wife on the cell phone in the car and told her to go to the bank right away and get a cashier's check and take it to the school.
    Mr. Chung says he provided his copy of this check to the Justice Department. We have asked the Justice Department to provide this documentation to us. We asked Janet Reno and the Justice Department almost 2 months ago. We are still waiting. Once again, we are getting no cooperation from the Justice Department and Attorney General Reno.
    Mr. Parish is here today, and we are going to ask him about all of these issues.
 Page 9       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    A U.S. visa is a very difficult thing to get. People line up for blocks outside U.S. Embassies all over the world. They wait all day to ask for a visa, some all night. Most of them get turned down.
    It has been estimated that the street value of a visa in some countries is worth as much as $20,000.
    If a Foreign Service Officer is taking advantage of his position by accepting bribes or illegal gratuities in exchange for visas, that is a very serious problem, a crime. So we started looking into it.
    What we found out was that Johnny Chung wasn't the only one making allegations about Mr. Parish. Employees at the consulate had been filing complaints about him for over a year and a half. American citizens complained to senior Embassy officials. Articles started to appear about him in the Chinese press, in the Chinese papers. We have a copy of a State Department cable. It says that a Chinese Government official approached an Embassy staffer at a reception. The Chinese official told him that he was amazed at how many unqualified Chinese were getting visas. He said it was common knowledge that if you took the right Embassy official to dinner and bought him a gift, you were guaranteed to get a visa. It seems like the only ones who weren't asleep at the switch were the Chinese.
    So what happened with Mr. Parish? Was he fired? No. Was he prosecuted? No. Was he disciplined in any way? No. He was transferred back to Washington. He was given other sensitive assignments. Instead of getting fired, he got a raise. In fact, he got four raises.
    We took a hard look at the State Department's investigation of Mr. Parish. What we found was very disappointing. Three separate offices conducted investigations of Mr. Parish, and all three dropped the ball. Documents were destroyed without being reviewed. Witnesses were not even interviewed. Bank records were not subpoenaed. We found allegations of serious wrongdoing that weren't even checked out in a cursory way.
 Page 10       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    The result was that a Foreign Service Officer who had been accused of serious wrongdoing got shifted from one job to another without any action taken against him whatsoever. It looks to me like nobody wanted to deal with this problem. Everyone dropped the ball.
    Mr. Parish was put to work reviewing visa applications from Iraq and Iran. In his employee evaluation form—in which he received a glowing rating, by the way—it says that his position, ''coordinates with the intelligence and law enforcement communities in the handling of the most sensitive visa applications, those from persons suspected of terrorism, espionage, or other serious threats to U.S. national interests.''
    When Mr. Parish was placed in this job, was it known that he was under criminal investigation?
    Now, if this was just an isolated incident, maybe it would not be such a big deal. One of the reasons I called this hearing today is to try to find out just how widespread the problem is. There are signs that it may not be an isolated incident at all.
    I was talking to one of my caseworkers just the other day, and she was trying to help a constituent get a visa for a relative in Romania. They were denied. But I learned that there are rumors about Embassy officials taking bribes in Romania. I have no idea if they are true or not. But these are things we need to look into because we have that oversight responsibility.
    I was reading an article in the Los Angeles Times. They have done an excellent job reporting on this issue. I want to read a couple of quotes from the article. ''Of a dozen cases known to the Times, a majority of diplomats, suspected of wrongdoing in issuing of visas, retired or were moved to another post. Cases that were opened took years to develop and usually ended up being dropped.''
    ''Those suspected of issuing visas in exchange for money, gifts or sexual favors often are allowed to retire or move to another post rather than face extensive investigation or prosecution.'' The Times article cited cases of fraud that happened in Asia, Africa, South America, all over the world.
 Page 11       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    I wanted to say something as a matter of fairness. People who work in U.S. consulates have a tough, tough job. They face tremendous pressure. They face lines of hundreds, even thousands, of people who want visas every day, and they have to make snap decisions. I think that most of our consular officers are honest and hardworking, and do their jobs under very difficult circumstances, but it is fairly obvious that there is a very small minority that are willing to take advantage of this situation.
    I have a statement from the acting president of the American Foreign Service Association. They represent all of the Foreign Service Officers. I would like to submit this statement for the record. He says, ''We deplore them, corrupt diplomats, because these isolated incidents besmirch the reputation of the overwhelming majority of Foreign Service people who conduct themselves with absolute integrity.''
    If the State Department doesn't have the resources or the will to punish corrupt officials, then these problems are only going to get worse. The consequences are serious. We have a serious illegal immigration problem. We have a problem with international terrorism. We have a problem with international drug trafficking. If Embassy officials can be tempted or bribed, these people that I just mentioned are going to take advantage of the situation.
    Mr. Parish is here today. I issued a subpoena for him to be here. I know he doesn't want to be here. I am sorry to put him in this situation, but nobody else has seen fit to ask him about these allegations under oath, so we are going to do it today. I have also asked several people from the State Department to appear and answer questions about their investigations of Mr. Parish. We are going to ask them some tough questions about whether an adequate job was done. Looking at the record, I think it would be pretty hard for an objective person to say yes to that question.
    I want to say one thing in their defense before we get started. We have had a difficult time with the State Department in the past. We have had senior officials refuse to testify. My colleague, Mr. Gilman, at the International Relations Committee, has had similar problems. I have had to issue subpoenas just to get witnesses for hearings. That should never have to happen, and it hasn't happened this time.
 Page 12       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    I doubt if our witnesses really want to be here today. Nobody likes having their work questioned. But they have come, they have agreed to testify and answer the committee's questions without a subpoena, and I appreciate that. Under Secretary Cohen has agreed to testify. I understand that she has been traveling recently, and I appreciate that she is here today. I hope that she will be able to shed some light on how widespread the problem is. I also hope that she will be able to inform us about what, if anything, is being done to improve the State Department's efforts to investigate these cases. We have had pretty good cooperation from the State Department this week, and as I said, I compliment them for that.
    I wish I could say the same thing for the Justice Department. I am absolutely furious about what happened yesterday as we were preparing for this hearing. The Inspector General is here today. Her office worked with the Justice Department to investigate the Parish matter. She got a call from the Justice Department yesterday. They told her that she couldn't testify about the work her office has done because it is covered by grand jury secrecy laws.
    I have it on pretty good authority that the Justice Department has a plan to close this case, but is keeping it open, I believe, to keep us from having the Inspector General testify; and I believe I know of a number of other cases where the Justice Department is deliberately keeping cases open so this committee cannot have access to witnesses. I say to my colleagues that I think this goes beyond being unconscionable. It is an obstruction of justice. If the Justice Department plans to close a case, and they keep it open only for the purpose of keeping Congress from doing its investigations, then that is almost criminal.
    This is absolutely the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard. It is typical of the kind of stonewalling that Janet Reno's Justice Department has engaged in. For 2 years, they have hidden behind the so-called 6(e) rule. They won't share any information with Congress. They won't let us immunize witnesses. They won't let us interview Charlie Trie or John Huang, and now they want to say that other agencies can't share information with us. Janet Reno is doing a disservice to the Congress, and she is doing a disservice to the American people who are represented by the Congress of the United States.
 Page 13       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    I would like to make two final points before I yield to my colleague, Mr. Waxman.
    First, for most people from other countries, the first place they come into contact with anyone from the United States is at one of our Embassies. If they are confronted by corruption at the Embassy, think about the message that sends about our entire country. Think about how that reflects on all of the dedicated Foreign Service Officers who are following the rules and doing their jobs well. That is why I think this is a very important issue.
    Second, this particular case is important because of where it happened. Mr. Parish wasn't working in Canada or France or Israel. He was working in China. China has been conducting very aggressive espionage at some of our nuclear facilities. They have stolen nuclear weapons secrets from us, thus endangering every man, woman, and child, at some point in the future. China has illegally funneled millions of dollars into the United States to try to influence our elections. China has been exporting nuclear technology and missile technology to rogue nations.
    The United States Embassy in Beijing is one of our most sensitive posts. If allegations of corruption weren't being followed up in Beijing, I don't have a lot of confidence that they are being pursued more diligently elsewhere. I hope that our witnesses today can persuade us otherwise.
    I now yield to my colleague from California, Mr. Waxman, for his opening statement.
    [The prepared statement of Hon. Dan Burton follows:]
    [The official committee record contains additional material here.]

    Mr. WAXMAN. We are here today to look into the State Department's response to allegations that one of its Foreign Service Officers, Charles Parish, may have accepted gifts from visa applicants and their sponsors while he was posted in China, may have committed visa fraud or other crimes, and may have violated the State Department's code of ethical standards.
 Page 14       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    These are serious allegations against Mr. Parish. They have appropriately been the subject of investigations by the State Department's Diplomatic Security Service, the State Department's Office of Inspector General, and the FBI. It appears that all these investigations determined that there is insufficient evidence to bring charges against Mr. Parish, and now our committee is investigating Mr. Parish.
    This is not a situation where allegations of serious wrongdoing went unnoticed or where political appointees allegedly interfered with the normal processes of government. Apart from a tenuous connection to Johnny Chung, the facts surrounding Mr. Parish appear to have nothing to do with the campaign finance investigation.
    It appears that the State Department acted reasonably in the investigation of Mr. Parish. Junior officers raised concerns about his management practices to the second in command of the U.S. Embassy on April 11, 1996. By May 1, the regional security officer had begun an investigation and confronted Mr. Parish with allegations of misconduct. Shortly after that, Mr. Parish asked to curtail his assignment in Beijing. By May 17th, he was out of China and reassigned to Washington while an investigation continued.
    That is not to say there weren't some problems with the investigations. Some documents and gifts found in Mr. Parish's office were retained as relevant to the investigation. Other material was discarded. It obviously would have been preferable to retain the material until the investigation was completed.
    Mr. Parish was posted to Washington after he curtailed his assignment and may have had continued involvement in visa issues during the investigation of this case. The State Department probably should not have put Mr. Parish in this position until all serious allegations were resolved.
    Even though we can point to mistakes in retrospect, it is important to keep the investigation of Mr. Parish in the proper perspective. Everyone involved in the investigation of his case had other responsibilities. Unlike this committee, which can devote unlimited resources to pursuing even the most fruitless inquiries, State Department investigators have to make responsible choices about priorities and how to allocate their scarce time and resources. The evidence indicates that these career officials acted in good faith in determining that there was insufficient evidence to pursue a criminal investigation any further.
 Page 15       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Now, I won't take the time of the committee now to go and make a point-by-point correction of a lot of factual inaccuracies in the chairman's statement. I will do so for the record, but let me say that it lacked the judiciousness that we ought to apply when investigating anybody of wrongdoing.
    The attack on the Justice Department seems to me to be particularly unwarranted. If the Justice Department were continuing an investigation, they obviously still think there is more for them to learn; and the chairman thinks there is more yet to learn. So they are being criticized for continuing their investigation. The chairman says they are continuing their investigation but they should close it and then he can continue to investigate it.
    Well, that just seems to me contradictory. If they close their investigation, they would be criticized because it should be taken more seriously. If they keep it open, they are criticized because they haven't closed it so that witnesses can come before this committee to give evidence that wouldn't otherwise be permitted.
    But the fact of the matter is, whether they opened it or closed it or kept it going, there are some witnesses that are not permitted to come, by court order—not in this case, but generally, to come and comment, especially Inspector Generals, about information that they derive from grand jury testimony. That would just be illegal. So it seems unfair to me to criticize the Justice Department for not allowing an IG to come in and give testimony, violating the law with regard to grand jury testimony.
    Well, I am interested in hearing the testimony of the witnesses today. Perhaps we will learn something new and significant about this case or in the way the State Department handles allegations of wrongdoing; I hope so, and I will look forward to seeing whether that would be the case.
    I yield back the balance of my time.
    Mr. BURTON. The gentleman yields back the balance of his time.
 Page 16       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    If we have no other Members who wish to speak, Mr. Parish, would you come forward. Would you rise, Mr. Parish, please.
    [Witness sworn.]
    Mr. BURTON. Mr. Parish, do you have an opening statement?
    Mr. PARISH. No, I don't.
    Mr. BURTON. I know you are the attorney, and I would like to state for you, because I understand you would like to speak, House rule 11(k)(3) provides that witnesses at investigative hearings may be accompanied by their own counsel for the purpose of advising them concerning their constitutional rights. As Mr. Lantos, one of my predecessors—I guess it was on a subcommittee—told lawyers for Secretary Pierce in the hearings he chaired in 1989, ''In essence, gentlemen, at this hearing you are in fact a potted plant.'' I don't consider you a potted plant, but I do think it is important that you understand that according to the rules you can confer with your client, but you can't make any kind of a statement. So your client will have to speak for himself.
    Mr. MARTIN. Mr. Chairman, thank you, and I appreciate that.
    Mr. BURTON. Well, you are not a witness, and you are not allowed to make any kind of a statement. You can confer with your client, but your client is going to have to answer the questions or invoke his constitutional rights. I just want you to understand what I just said.
    Now, I don't want to press the point, but you are not a witness, and you are not allowed to make any comments. You can confer with your client, but you are not to speak to the committee, OK?
    I will now yield to our counsel, who will start the questioning.
    Mr. WILSON. Mr. Parish, good morning.
    Mr. PARISH. Good morning.
 Page 17       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Mr. WILSON. Thank you very much for being here. My name is Jim Wilson. I am the majority counsel for this hearing. Again, thank you very much for being here.
    For the record, you are here pursuant to a subpoena that was issued by this committee, correct?
    Mr. PARISH. Yes.
    Mr. WILSON. Now, you worked at the United States Embassy in Beijing from July 1994 until May 1996; is this correct?
    Mr. PARISH. Mr. Chairman, on advice of my counsel, I must respectfully invoke my constitutional right to decline to answer.
    Mr. WILSON. When you were at the Embassy in Beijing, what was your title?
    Mr. BARR. Excuse me, Mr. Chairman, could I ask on what basis is that privilege being invoked? Is it because the witness believes that answering the question of whether or not he worked at the Embassy may tend to incriminate him? I think that if the witness is going to claim a privilege, he needs to be specific about the basis on which it is invoked.
    Mr. BURTON. The witness can speak for himself on that.
    Mr. MARTIN. I gave the chairman the statement——
    Mr. BARR. Counsel, you are not a witness here.
    Mr. BURTON. I think that the witness will speak for himself regarding that, Mr. Barr.
    Go ahead. Proceed.
    Mr. WILSON. Mr. Parish, when you were in Beijing at the Embassy, how many bank accounts did you have?
    Mr. PARISH. On advice of my counsel, I must respectfully invoke my constitutional right to decline to answer.
 Page 18       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Mr. WILSON. Will you at any time after this hearing provide the committee with any information about your bank accounts in Beijing?
    Mr. PARISH. On advice of my counsel, I must respectfully invoke my constitutional right to decline to answer.
    Mr. BURTON. Let me interrupt because I don't want to prolong your appearance here, Mr. Parish. Is it your intention on advice of counsel to assert your fifth amendment privilege on every question the committee puts to you today?
    Mr. PARISH. Yes, it is.
    Mr. BURTON. Well, I am very disappointed. You are a former public servant of the U.S. Government; and to take the fifth amendment when your salary has been paid by the taxpayers of this country, and there are some allegations about alleged wrongdoing that only you can possibly clarify, it is just very disappointing that you will not talk to the elected Representatives of the U.S. citizenry.
    So I am really disappointed, but it is your position that you will not answer any questions and you will assert your fifth amendment privileges?
    Mr. PARISH. Yes, it is, Mr. Chairman.
    Mr. BARR. Mr. Chairman.
    Mr. BURTON. Mr. Barr.
    Mr. BARR. If I could again ask the witness if he could enlighten us as to what are you asserting this privilege? Is it because you believe that answering questions on your service as a former public official will tend to incriminate you?
    Mr. PARISH. Mr. Barr, on advice of my counsel, I must respectfully invoke my constitutional right to decline to answer.
    Mr. BARR. So you are refusing to tell this committee even the basis on which you are asserting that privilege; is that correct?
 Page 19       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Mr. PARISH. On advice of my counsel, I must respectfully invoke my constitutional right to decline to answer.
    Mr. MARTIN. Counsel did submit that basis to the committee.
    Mr. BURTON. Counsel, you need not make any comment. I think based upon the—Mr. Waxman, we have the time, but we will yield to you.
    Go ahead. That's all right. Go ahead.
    Mr. WAXMAN. The witness is asserting a constitutional right to refuse to testify against himself. That constitutional right applies even if he is a government employee, because he is a citizen of the United States. I am disappointed. I would rather have heard from the witness and received information so that we could look into the matter that is before us today; but the man does have a constitutional right to assert that privilege not to give testimony against himself. I guess if there is any further—Mr. Barr, as a prosecutor, if he wants to know further, some legal matter, we ought to let the lawyer speak. Otherwise, the Constitution speaks for itself, and the man does have a right.
    Mr. BURTON. Let me reclaim my time, and just say that in my opening statement I mentioned that the Justice Department, I believe—and I think I have it on very good authority—that it has been recommended, that the case on Mr. Parish be closed. If that is the case, then the IG should be able to testify. Evidently, though, there is more to this than Mr. Parish wants to divulge. If that is the case, then I cannot understand why the Justice Department has recommended that this case be closed.
    If the Justice Department has recommended this case be closed and the witness himself doesn't wish to testify because he may incriminate himself, then the Justice Department is not doing its job, in my opinion, because this case should be thoroughly investigated. As you will hear as we go through the hearing today, Mr. Waxman, I think you will hear from some of the witnesses some of the facts that we have been able to get in our investigation, that there is a lot more here that needs to be investigated that was not investigated; and on three separate occasions, the State Department, the FBI, and others dropped the ball. That is why we are going on with this investigation, not because we want to just prolong this thing, but because an adequate job wasn't done.
 Page 20       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    We have information that one of the people that was investigating this went into Mr. Parish's office, destroyed a lot of documents that Parish shouldn't have had in his office in the first place and kept very few of the others. Now, those documents were relevant to the investigation. Why they were destroyed may have been an error in judgment, I don't know, but we are going to try to find out. But why those documents were destroyed when they are relevant to the investigation is beyond me.
    We had, in Chinese newspapers, people at very high levels indicating that there were bribes being paid at the consulate to a specific individual for visas. That was not pursued.
    We had a letter from a Mr. Chen, which will be submitted for the record, where Mr. Chen said it is very clear that the gentleman in question, Mr. Parish, was involved in accepting bribes; and that was not even followed up on.
    [The letter referred to follows:]
    [The official committee record contains additional material here.]

    Mr. BURTON. Now, you know, you can criticize us for going on with the investigation, but if it is apparent these things have not been followed up on, and the integrity of the U.S. Government is in question, and that people who are trying to get in this country are getting the impression that if you pay a bribe, you can get in—and this sends the wrong message around the world. In addition, if China, which has been involved in espionage and illegal campaign contributions, could get access to the United States through bribery of an official of our Government, then, boy, we have got real problems.
    And so all I would like to say is that, and I will then yield back our time unless Mr. Barr would like a minute, I think that this investigation is justified and warranted, and we intend to pursue it.
 Page 21       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Mr. Barr.
    Mr. BARR. Mr. Chairman, if I might inquire of the witness if he has been interviewed by the State Department, by anybody at the State Department, or any other Federal agency concerning the allegations which were summarized earlier and you heard by the chairman?
    Mr. PARISH. The same answer, Mr. Barr.
    Mr. BARR. Which is.
    Mr. PARISH. On advice of my counsel, I must respectfully invoke my constitutional right to decline to answer.
    Mr. BARR. Were you present, Mr. Parish, during the opening remarks of Chairman Burton, and did you hear them?
    Mr. PARISH. Same answer.
    Mr. BARR. Which is?
    Mr. PARISH. On advice of my counsel, I must respectfully invoke my constitutional right to decline to answer.
    Mr. BARR. Are you familiar with Title XVIII of the Criminal Code, section 201, relating to bribery of public officials and witnesses?
    Mr. PARISH. Mr. Barr, on advice of my counsel, I must respectfully invoke my constitutional right to decline to answer.
    Mr. BURTON. Representative Barr, I understand the questions that you want to ask, and I am just as concerned as you are about this, but it doesn't appear it is going to be fruitful to get Mr. Parish to answer any questions because of his constitutional right.
    Mr. BARR. Then would it be your intent, Mr. Parish, your unequivocal intent to not answer any question that I pose to you?
 Page 22       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Mr. PARISH. That is correct, Mr. Barr.
    Mr. BARR. Apparently it would be unfruitful, Mr. Chairman. Thank you.
    Mr. BURTON. Thank you, Mr. Barr.
    Unless other members have something they would like to say, I don't think questions would be fruitful. Unless they have something they would like to say, I will yield back our time and yield to Mr. Waxman.
    Mr. WAXMAN. There's a vote on the House floor. The witness is asserting his constitutional right not to answer questions. I have nothing to ask.
    Mr. BURTON. That being the case, Mr. Parish, you will be excused, and we will recess until the fall of the gavel right after this vote. Chair stands in recess.
    Mr. BURTON. Committee will come to order. I ask unanimous consent that a staff report regarding Mr. Parish's improper actions be included in the record, and without objection, so ordered.
    [NOTE.—The majority report may be found at the end of the hearing.]
    Mr. BURTON. Let me just say that we have now Under Secretary Bonnie Cohen, and I just told Ms. Cohen that my mother's name was Bonnie. I have a soft spot for that. It means very pretty. Under Secretary Bonnie Cohen; Inspector General Jacquelyn Williams-Bridgers; Acting Assistant Secretary Peter Bergin; and Donald Schurman.
    And Mr. Gnehm, are you going to add to their knowledge as this goes on?
    Mr. GNEHM. If they so desire.
    Mr. BURTON. Well, then I probably ought to have you stand and be sworn as well.
 Page 23       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Would you all stand.
    Ms. COHEN. Excuse me, could I add Mary Ryan.
    Mr. BURTON. Well, not as a testifier, but as an adjunct. If she is going to give you information, you can have her stand as well.
    [Witnesses sworn.]
    Mr. BURTON. Be seated. We will start with you, Under Secretary Cohen. You are recognized, if you like, to make an opening statement.

    Ms. COHEN. Thank you very much. I think we are all pleased——
    Mr. BURTON. Pardon me, if we could, we would like, if it is possible, to keep your statements to 5 minutes because we have a lot of ground to cover.
    Ms. COHEN. We are pleased to be here to explain our visa operations and the procedures for investigation of consular malfeasance. You did introduce everyone. I think we would like to start with a very brief statement from Pete Bergin, who is the Acting Assistant Secretary for Diplomatic Security. Then the Inspector General Jackie Williams-Bridgers, has a statement, and then I have a statement.
    Mr. BURTON. OK. Fine.
    Mr. Bergin.
 Page 24       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Mr. BERGIN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I would ask that my written statement be made part of the official record, sir.
    Mr. BURTON. Without objection, so ordered.
    Mr. BERGIN. Thank you.
    Good morning, Mr. Chairman and members of the committee. Thank you for the opportunity to appear before this committee to discuss the Bureau of Diplomatic Security's role in investigating Charles Parish.
    Embassy Beijing's management first became aware of the allegations against Mr. Parish on April 11, 1996, from junior officers of the Embassy, who expressed concern about the lack of managerial controls in the consular section. The next day, the Deputy Chief of Mission initiated an inquiry into the concerns and uncovered additional allegations that Mr. Parish gave special treatment to some of the organizations that sponsored visa applicants and to his personal contacts and friends. These allegations stemmed from a birthday party given by a Chinese national who was a friend of Mr. Parish.
    Embassy Beijing Regional Security Officer Don Schurman promptly advised the Diplomatic Security Visa Fraud Branch in Washington that post officials had received allegations of questionable management practices and possible unethical activities by Mr. Parish in his position as Chief of the Nonimmigrant Visa Section. Post reported that they had no evidence that Mr. Parish might be accepting money or other benefits in exchange for issuing visas. Nevertheless, our Visa Fraud Branch opened a criminal investigation on Charles Parish based on these reported allegations concerning his suspect managerial conduct and the potential for involvement in visa malfeasance, which is a violation of the U.S. Criminal Code.
    The Visa Fraud Branch, working with Mr. Schurman, initiated its investigation by reviewing all relevant visa documents and related information. The RSO conducted a thorough search and retrieved and forwarded copies of 27 visa applications from individuals who were sponsored by a friend of Mr. Parish. In addition, the RSO sent a list provided by post's consular section containing anecdotal examples of alleged activities which gave the appearance of impropriety, specific instances in which visas were allegedly issued under questionable circumstances and cases where visas were issued to individuals previously refused.
 Page 25       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    The Visa Fraud Branch in Washington reviewed the materials and discovered sufficient anomalies to warrant further inquiry. The investigation focused on the United States operations of two Chinese nationals and their New York-based companies that appeared to benefit from the issuance of the visas Mr. Parish had approved. The two Chinese nationals provided information and documentation to the Visa Fraud Branch that they claimed supported the legitimacy of their operations. The Visa Fraud Branch also obtained official documentation from the Immigration and Naturalization Service on the two companies. This documentation indicated that INS had approved a number of petitions for Chinese nationals who had been sponsored by these two companies. The Visa Fraud Branch's investigation found no indication of any involvement by Mr. Parish in any criminal activities. In the absence of further leads from Beijing, and given unproductive investigative results to date, the status of the investigation into Mr. Parish was considered inactive pending any additional information.
    In January 1998, Mr. Chairman, the FBI and the Department's Office of Inspector General made inquiries about Mr. Parish and complete access to Diplomatic Security files was provided to them. In March 1998, our Visa Fraud Branch also helped facilitate the Inspector General's investigation at post with the regional security officer. The Federal Government actively pursued leads in the Charles Parish case. However, the investigations did not reveal criminal wrongdoing, nor did the Diplomatic Security investigation find any basis for referral to the Bureau of Personnel for any further administrative action.
    Mr. Chairman, the Department does not generally discuss in public the details of a personnel investigation in view of the Privacy Act. The Department is prepared to provide such details in this case because of the committee's strong interest and in response to a specific request.
    At this time, sir, I would like to turn the testimony over to Ms. Bridgers. Thank you.
 Page 26       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    [The prepared statement of Mr. Bergin follows:]
    [The official committee record contains additional material here.]

    Mr. BURTON. Ms. Bridgers.
    Ms. WILLIAMS-BRIDGERS. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman, for your invitation to testify before this committee on the role of my office in the investigation of Mr. Parish.
    For reasons that I will explain in a moment, I am unable to testify on the specifics of our investigation. I would, however, like to provide both in my statement for the record and in oral summary, information that the committee has requested regarding my office's investigations of visa fraud involving U.S. consular officers since 1990. I have also addressed in some detail in my written statement the Office of Inspector General's [OIG] general oversight of the Department's consular antifraud efforts.
    I am unable to testify regarding OIG's investigation of Mr. Parish because of concerns expressed by the Department of Justice [DOJ] that my testimony would or could disclose information in violation of rule 6(e) of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure.
    DOJ's concern stems from a recent decision by the Chief Judge of the U.S. District Court of the District of Columbia. Originally issued under seal, this opinion was not unsealed until October 30, 1998, and has not been published in any official legal reporter. My office was unaware of this decision and its full ramifications for my testimony, until yesterday morning when Department of Justice attorneys, who had been given a draft of my testimony, provided their final comments.
    My office's investigation of Mr. Parish was conducted jointly with the FBI, which served as the lead agency. The investigation was initiated as part of DOJ's larger Campaign Contribution Task Force probe for which a grand jury was impaneled. Based on the recent court decision, DOJ has cautioned that any discussion of our investigation could implicate rule 6(e) concerns. Thus, DOJ has advised me that even interviews conducted by my agents of witnesses who were not called before the grand jury could be considered subject to the restrictions of rule 6(e) and, thus, grand jury protected.
 Page 27       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Under the circumstances, I feel the only responsible approach is for me to err on the side of caution so that there cannot be any suggestion that I have acted in a manner other than in full compliance with the court's decision. Nonetheless, I am pleased to appear before the committee to discuss my office's oversight of consular fraud.
    My office's Office of Investigations conducts passport and visa fraud investigations, including those targeted against employees of the Department. Often the investigations involve cooperative efforts with the Bureau of Diplomatic Security and other law enforcement agencies. Visa and passport fraud currently comprises over 25 percent of our workload. Our cases include a broad range of malfeasance related to consular fraud.
    Mr. Chairman, in your recent letter to Secretary Albright, you requested information on our investigative cases of alleged visa fraud by U.S. consular officers. Since 1990, our office has opened 283 consular fraud investigations. Of these, 206 were visa fraud investigations and 77 were passport fraud investigations. Some of the subjects in these investigations are Foreign Service national employees in our Embassies. However, the majority are not employees of the U.S. Government, but individuals in the United States or overseas who act as ''brokers'' to extort money from individuals in exchange for visas.
    Approximately 10 percent of the 283 investigations have involved allegations against U.S. diplomats. Since 1990, we have opened 29 cases on Foreign Service Officers alleged to have engaged in visa fraud. Four of these cases have resulted in a referral to the Department of Justice for prosecutorial consideration. DOJ declined prosecution on three, and one resulted in an indictment. However, this individual was acquitted by a jury trial. Of the 29 cases, 2 resulted in referrals to the Department's Director General for administrative action. According to our records, both employees who were the subject of these two investigations received letters of reprimand for appearances of impropriety and/or improper visa issuances.
    The 283 cases, however, do not fully disclose the extent of our efforts in the passport and visa fraud area. Any one case may involve multiple subjects. For example, one case in 1998 resulted in the indictment of 11 subjects, all nongovernment individuals.
 Page 28       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Attempts to falsify, alter, or counterfeit U.S. visas or passports, or to obtain genuine documents by fraudulent means are a constant problem, both in the United States and overseas. Fraud associated with these official documents focuses on either the document itself, through counterfeiting or alteration, or on the issuance process through bribery or trickery. Defeating these efforts requires secure documents that are difficult to counterfeit and easy to detect when they are altered. Additionally, countering fraud requires officials who are well trained and informed about common methods of fraud.
    The Department has faced significant challenges in its visa processing operations over time. In recent years, the Department has made significant progress in visa processing operations. The Office of Consular Fraud Prevention Programs has shifted focus from looking at individual fraud cases to identifying systemic fraud-related issues across a large number of cases.
    Currently, my office is reviewing the Department's consular antifraud programs. While we have not yet issued our final report, my written statement details more specific observations on our ongoing review.
    Mr. Chairman, this concludes my summary. I would be happy to answer questions at the appropriate time.
    [The prepared statement of Ms. Williams-Bridgers follows:]
    [The official committee record contains additional material here.]

    Mr. BURTON. Ms. Cohen, were you going to go next?
    Ms. COHEN. Yes, thank you. I will submit my complete statement for the record.
    I would like first to give you a larger perspective on the State Department's visa processing operations. We have about 800 consular officials worldwide. They adjudicated 7.4 million nonimmigrant visas in 1998, including 156,000 in Beijing. In addition, in 1998, our consular officers worldwide processed over 725,000 immigrant visas, handled over 6,000 deaths of Americans abroad, visited Americans in foreign prisons 4,800 times and orchestrated, in 1998, 13 evacuations of Americans from countries that had become dangerous.
 Page 29       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    In cases where allegations of wrongdoing by government personnel do emerge, investigations, as Pete Bergin has said, are conducted by the Department of Diplomatic Security Services, or DS, whose job it is to enforce the laws of the United States pertaining to U.S. visas. DS agents are trained law enforcement officers who, in any investigation, follow codified procedures contained in the U.S. Criminal Investigators Handbook.
    The Department of State's Office of the Inspector General, as Ms. Williams-Bridgers has said, also has a mandated investigative role concerning all employee misconduct, and DS and the OIG cooperate to ensure that the law is enforced.
    DS also works closely with the Bureau of Consular Affairs on cases involving employee corruption, attempted bribery of consular officials, and counterfeit issuances. Cases that implicate consular employees most often involve illegal activities designed to facilitate the travel of illegal aliens to the United States.
    DS maintains a three-pronged strategy of deterrence, enforcement, and education to maintain the integrity of the U.S. visa issuance program worldwide. In addition, the training program for all consular offices includes classes in internal controls and malfeasance. The value of U.S. travel documents, as you yourself have indicated, the nature of the overseas environment, and the U.S. official's potential vulnerability are emphasized in training provided every officer by the Office of Fraud Prevention Programs in Consular Affairs. The Bureau of Consular Affairs also publishes a consular management handbook that serves as a key reference guide to all posts.
    Finally, the regional security officer provides a mandatory orientation on security and malfeasance to every arriving officer at post. If an investigation of a consular employee by diplomatic security reveals misconduct, but Justice declines to prosecute, the case is referred to the Office of Employee Relations in the Bureau of Personnel. That office reviews the information and drafts a proposal for discipline, which is reviewed by the Office of the Legal Adviser and the grievance staff for legal sufficiency.
 Page 30       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    The proposal for discipline is sent to the employee for response and then forwarded to a senior Department official for decision. In making a decision, the deciding official takes into account the report of the investigation, the proposed discipline, all information submitted by the employee and the aggravating factors, i.e., prior discipline, seriousness of offense, or mitigating factors.
    The process for investigating allegations of wrongdoing and referrals for disciplinary action for Foreign Service employees also has built-in protection for the rights of the employee. Until the investigation is completed, no basis exists for taking adverse action against the employee. This protects the employee against false allegations and accusations. Except in very unusual cases, the Foreign Service employee does continue to serve, to be assigned and evaluated, and to compete for promotion during the investigation. However, the Department does monitor the employee's assignment carefully during any investigation to ensure that the people's interest is preserved.
    Once investigation finds potential wrongdoing, appropriate disciplinary actions are taken by the Bureau of Personnel. These range from admonition to suspension to termination, depending on the seriousness of the offense.
    Mr. Chairman, I want to assure you that the State Department and all its career and political employees take visa malfeasance very seriously. We have procedures in place to handle accusations of malfeasance of consular officials, to investigate these cases and to take disciplinary action if necessary. At the same time, the Department has procedures to protect employees who have been wrongly accused.
    We welcome this hearing. I think you can tell by the number of people and the expertise that I have here that we are ready to really answer any of the questions you have, to share with you how our operation is implemented, to tell you the steps we've taken to improve it, and to hear from you your ideas and questions. Thank you.
 Page 31       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Mr. BURTON. Thank you, Ms. Cohen.
    [The prepared statement of Ms. Cohen follows:]
    [The official committee record contains additional material here.]

    Mr. BURTON. Mr. Schurman.
    Mr. Schurman, do you have an opening statement?
    Mr. SCHURMAN. I do not have an opening statement.
    Mr. BURTON. That being the case, we will start the extended questioning. I will start by asking all of you, you talk about all of the things that you did. Did you get his bank records, any of you? Did you get Mr. Parish's bank records?
    Mr. BERGIN. Diplomatic Security did not get his bank records, because in the view of the agents who were conducting the case, in consultation with the Assistant U.S. Attorney, the threshold for prosecutorial merit of the case, there was insufficient probable cause. So on the basis of that, there was no follow-on to request a subpoena from the magistrate.
    Mr. BURTON. Do you have any idea how many bank accounts he had?
    Mr. BERGIN. I do not, sir.
    Mr. BURTON. Given all of these allegations, don't you think that it would have been wise to check into these things?
    Mr. BERGIN. Yes, sir, but in the course of the criminal investigation, it was determined that there was insufficient probable cause.
    Mr. BURTON. Who made the determination that there was insufficient probable cause?
    Mr. BERGIN. That decision was made by the case agents involved in the investigation.
 Page 32       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Mr. BURTON. For whom does the case agent work?
    Mr. BERGIN. For the Chief of the Criminal Investigations Division.
    Mr. BURTON. What division oversees that, is that the Justice Department?
    Mr. BERGIN. No, sir, that is within DS.
    Mr. BURTON. So this was a judgment call that there was not enough probable cause to check his bank records?
    Mr. BERGIN. Yes, sir.
    Mr. BURTON. Even though there were allegations in publications and in letter form that he was taking bribes?
    Mr. BERGIN. Yes, sir, that is correct.
    Mr. BURTON. What in the world do you need for probable cause? My goodness.
    Ms. Williams-Bridgers, you can't answer anything. Are you aware of any information that the task force and the FBI have closed their investigation? Or are you aware that the Attorney General is—they are just waiting for her to finally close this case out?
    Ms. WILLIAMS-BRIDGERS. Upon the concurrence of the Campaign Contribution Task Force lead attorneys, the FBI has closed its case on Mr. Parish.
    Mr. BURTON. So the FBI has closed its case, and I understand that the task force has agreed with that; is that correct?
    Ms. WILLIAMS-BRIDGERS. That's correct.
    Mr. BURTON. So it is only awaiting the Attorney General's final determination, right?
    Ms. WILLIAMS-BRIDGERS. I am not sure.
 Page 33       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Mr. BURTON. Trust me. It is very clear that the Attorney General is holding this case open, and it has been pending for some time, and now they are hiding behind 6(e) and will not let the committee talk to you because of 6(e). If that does not sound like an obstruction of information to the Congress and, I believe, an obstruction of justice, I don't know what is.
    Did you get any bank records?
    Ms. WILLIAMS-BRIDGERS. Respectfully, I cannot speak to the specific investigative steps that we may have taken during the course of the joint investigation.
    Mr. BURTON. Because of 6(e)?
    Mr. BURTON. Because Janet Reno and the Justice Department says it is 6(e), even though the case by the task force and the FBI has been closed, and it is sent to the AG for the final disposition?
    Ms. WILLIAMS-BRIDGERS. It is my understanding that the Chief Judge's opinion extends to disclosure of any information.
    Mr. BURTON. I understand what you are saying. I wish the American people could hear what is going on around here. The Congress of the United States is being blocked by keeping cases open and hiding behind 6(e) because of Judge Johnson's decision and their interpretation of it, so we can't get information. I have 121 people that have taken the fifth amendment or fled the country, and many of them are hiding out in China.
    Janet Reno must dislike me a lot, or she is working for somebody that she should not be working for. This is terrible.
    Mr. Schurman, you served as a regional security officer at the Beijing Embassy, correct?
    Mr. SCHURMAN. That is correct.
 Page 34       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Mr. BURTON. As part of that job you were in charge of determining whether any of the Embassy's officers were breaking the law? You were supposed to look into that?
    Mr. SCHURMAN. Yes.
    Mr. BURTON. We know in April 1996 the Embassy commenced an investigation of Charles Parish. Can you tell us how your investigation started?
    Mr. SCHURMAN. I received a call from the Deputy Chief of Mission to come to a meeting in his office. That basically started the inquiry into Mr. Parish.
    Mr. BURTON. Is it not true that junior officers had been complaining about Mr. Parish, people who were under his control, and about him overstepping what decisions were made?
    Mr. SCHURMAN. I am not aware—that is a fairly broad question. Had they complained to me about Mr. Parish; is that what the question is, sir?
    Mr. BURTON. Yes.
    Mr. SCHURMAN. No.
    Mr. BURTON. Had they complained to anybody, to your knowledge?
    Mr. SCHURMAN. I am not aware that they complained to anybody about—I mean, there were certainly—I am aware that there were complaints that Mr. Parish was easier than the other visa officers in terms of providing visas, but that was not necessarily a complaint of criminal activity.
    Mr. BURTON. But if we brought junior officers in here, we would probably have some additional information, I am sure.
    Did you ever hear any complaints about Mr. Parish before April 1996?
    Mr. SCHURMAN. In terms of, he was easier to—getting a visa from Mr. Parish was supposed to be easier than the other officers.
 Page 35       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Mr. BURTON. Did you hear that Mr. Parish was more likely to grant a visa to a young attractive woman than other candidates?
    Mr. SCHURMAN. Yes.
    Mr. BURTON. Did you see an article in a local Beijing magazine about the Embassy's nonimmigrant visa section?
    Mr. SCHURMAN. No.
    Mr. BURTON. Did you see that it contained a statement that it was easy to get a visa from Mr. Parish?
    Mr. SCHURMAN. I didn't see that article. I don't read Chinese.
    Mr. BURTON. Have you heard of the article?
    Mr. SCHURMAN. Since then, yes.
    Mr. BURTON. You were aware of the article?
    Mr. SCHURMAN. Not at that time.
    Mr. BURTON. Were you aware of it when you started your investigation?
    Mr. SCHURMAN. Not at the start of the investigation.
    Mr. BURTON. As the investigation progressed, were you aware of it?
    Mr. SCHURMAN. Yes.
    Mr. BURTON. Why didn't you start an investigation of Mr. Parish earlier based upon the information that you received about his activities?
    Mr. SCHURMAN. Being easier in terms of giving visas is not an illegal activity.
    Mr. BURTON. After the April 1996 meeting with Mr. Hallford and the Embassy's junior officers, you were ordered to investigate Mr. Parish; is that correct?
 Page 36       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Mr. SCHURMAN. After the meeting with Mr. Hallford and the consul general, I prepared a telegram which I sent to Diplomatic Security. Based upon that telegram, Diplomatic Security opened a case. At that point, the official investigation began.
    Mr. BURTON. Mr. Hallford was indicating that there should be an investigation? That is why you sent the wire?
    Mr. SCHURMAN. Mr. Hallford—the primary purpose of the meeting was to discuss management, internal controls, and some of the ethics issues with Mr. Parish. After attending the meeting, I felt that I should prepare my perceptions from the meeting and send those to Diplomatic Security in a telegram.
    Mr. BURTON. What triggered your feeling like that?
    Mr. SCHURMAN. Because of the concerns about the ethical conduct of Mr. Parish.
    Mr. BURTON. So they were discussed in that meeting?
    Mr. SCHURMAN. Yes.
    Mr. BURTON. After the April—now I want to talk about the destruction of documents. One of the first things that you did was seal Mr. Parish's office and change the locks.
    Mr. SCHURMAN. That is correct.
    Mr. BURTON. Why did you seal his office?
    Mr. SCHURMAN. To ensure that if there were pieces of evidence in there, I would be able to get them and——
    Mr. BURTON. And they would not be destroyed?
    Mr. SCHURMAN. Or removed.
    Mr. BURTON. Destroyed or removed; is that correct? You were protecting them because you didn't think that they should be destroyed or removed?
 Page 37       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Mr. SCHURMAN. Headquarters directed me. Headquarters was running the investigation, and they asked me.
    Mr. BURTON. If you seal an office, you are trying to protect the evidence?
    Mr. SCHURMAN. Possibilities of evidence, yes, sir.
    Mr. BURTON. So you want to make sure that no documents or evidence is destroyed; is that correct?
    Mr. SCHURMAN. That is correct.
    Mr. BURTON. Did you have an opportunity to review what Mr. Parish had in his office?
    Mr. SCHURMAN. Yes, I did.
    Mr. BURTON. Did he have a lot of documents?
    Mr. SCHURMAN. Yes, there were a lot of documents in the office.
    Mr. BURTON. How many?
    Mr. SCHURMAN. Thousands.
    Mr. BURTON. Thousands, OK. In fact he had so many documents in the office that you sent a cable to Diplomatic Security in Washington and asked them to send someone to help you review the material, right?
    Mr. SCHURMAN. Yes.
    Mr. BURTON. What was DS's response to your request for help?
    Mr. SCHURMAN. They asked me for specific pieces of information, which I provided them.
    Mr. BURTON. Did they send help?
    Mr. SCHURMAN. No.
    Mr. BURTON. Why not?
 Page 38       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Mr. SCHURMAN. I can't answer that.
    Mr. BURTON. Given that you had to do this investigation by yourself, were you able to review all of that material?
    Mr. SCHURMAN. I spent probably in excess of 50 hours going through all of the material in the office.
    Mr. BURTON. You went through every document?
    Mr. SCHURMAN. At least on a cursory review, yes, sir.
    Mr. BURTON. Did you look at them in any detail or did you just kind of shuffle through them?
    Mr. SCHURMAN. Diplomatic Security gave me guidelines for looking through the material in the office, and that is basically what I did. I used those guidelines.
    Mr. BURTON. Were you able to take an inventory of all of the materials?
    Mr. SCHURMAN. No.
    Mr. BURTON. It is my understanding that you destroyed most of the materials in Parish's offices and saved only several stacks of documents out of a whole room of documents. Why did you do that?
    Mr. SCHURMAN. I did not destroy any document in the office. After going through all of the documents in the office, I had it sealed for about a month. The consulate wanted the office back because it is a very cramped office area; they really needed the space.
    I had basically felt that I had been through everything in the office and found anything that was—could have been obvious evidence; and therefore, I turned it back over to the consulate. They cleaned out the office themselves. I did not destroy any documents.
 Page 39       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Mr. BURTON. What do they do with the documents, do you know?
    Mr. SCHURMAN. Any of the documents that were official, I understand they were going to file them. Anything else that they saw as unnecessary, they disposed of it in whatever way they wanted to.
    Mr. BURTON. It is my understanding, when you talked to our staff, you told them you had not looked at all of the documents—when you talked to our staff prior to this hearing.
    Mr. SCHURMAN. There were many files. Some of the files were basically brochures on companies. I reviewed the brochures and to the extent that I believed they were promotional information on Chinese companies. I didn't go through those documents in detail.
    Mr. BURTON. Of course, Mr. Schurman, you know that you are under oath?
    Mr. SCHURMAN. I understand.
    Mr. BURTON. You told our staff you did not look at all of the documents. Did you look at all of the documents?
    Mr. SCHURMAN. I looked at all of the documents, but not every detail of each document.
    Mr. BURTON. So you did a cursory look?
    Mr. SCHURMAN. Yes, sir.
    Mr. BURTON. Now, when the documents were turned over to the Embassy, did you say anything to them that the documents should be kept secure because this was still an open investigation?
    Mr. SCHURMAN. No, sir.
    Mr. BURTON. So what happened to the documents?
    Mr. SCHURMAN. They went into the normal files at the consulate.
 Page 40       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Mr. BURTON. Are they still there?
    Mr. SCHURMAN. It was the policy of the consulate to destroy visa application records after 1 year.
    Mr. BURTON. Do you know if they were destroyed?
    Mr. SCHURMAN. I don't know.
    Mr. BURTON. So they may still be there?
    Mr. SCHURMAN. I have no information on that.
    Mr. BURTON. Do you think that maybe those should have been secured because the investigation was ongoing and there might have been something in there that was relevant to the investigation? I mean, you are making this judgment call all by yourself, and there were publications that said he was taking bribes and there were letters that said he was taking bribes.
    Didn't you tell anybody that these documents ought to be kept in a storeroom someplace for further review?
    Mr. SCHURMAN. I did not.
    Mr. BURTON. Why?
    Mr. SCHURMAN. I felt I had looked through the information.
    Mr. BURTON. You just said you did a cursory look. If you just did that, why in the world would you not say I have not had time to go into these in detail, they ought to be stored because this investigation is not closed? Why?
    Mr. BERGIN. As I mentioned in my statement, the focus of the investigation was on these two Chinese nationals, one, Ms. Zou——
    Mr. BURTON. Wait a minute. You are saying that the focus of the investigation was on these two Chinese nationals, but the investigation was into Mr. Parish, and these documents were in Mr. Parish's office and they contained a lot of information regarding visas; and there was some question about whether or not he was taking bribes. Why would you allow these documents to be disposed of?
 Page 41       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Mr. BERGIN. The instruction from Washington to Mr. Schurman was to go through this information and locate that information which Mr. Parish had in his office which was relevant to the relationships that he had with these two Chinese nationals.
    Mr. BURTON. Why was it limited to just those two?
    Mr. BERGIN. Sir, in my view, with 20/20 hindsight, this was not a model investigation.
    Mr. BURTON. You have got a guy who is accused of wrongdoing. There is an investigation going on. There have been allegations about this in Chinese publications. It is pretty well known. There is a letter from Mr. Chen that says it is going on. It is no secret he had people who were subordinates who said there was something funny going on, and an investigation has started and you limit it to two people. I don't understand that.
    Mr. BERGIN. We were reacting to the allegations stemming from the meeting that Mr. Schurman attended with Mr. Parish and the DCM regarding the——
    Mr. BURTON. Two people. I understand it was regarding two people, but if he had hundreds and thousands of files in his office, wouldn't it be logical that there might be more? And if there were more, you should keep those files so they could be reviewed thoroughly before you closed that investigation?
    Mr. BERGIN. Mr. Chairman, we did some things right and we could have done a lot better on other things.
    Mr. BURTON. Who ordered from Washington that this be limited to those two individuals?
    Mr. BERGIN. This was a judgment made by special agents within the Visa Fraud Branch.
    Mr. BURTON. Who were the special agents who made this judgment?
    Mr. BERGIN. Their names, sir?
 Page 42       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Mr. BURTON. Yes. Who were they?
    Mr. BERGIN. I would have to check, and I will get back with you.
    Mr. BURTON. We would like that for the record.
    Mr. BERGIN. The Visa Fraud Branch of Diplomatic Security today has 14 agents assigned to it. They have global responsibilities. In the case of Mr. Parish, in 1996, because of resources, there was one agent, one special agent assigned to all East Asia and Pacific.
    Mr. BURTON. I don't want to get into that. I understand that they had a very heavy workload and it was very difficult.
    Mr. BERGIN. If I can just put it in some context.
    Mr. BURTON. You can, but make it limited.
    Mr. BERGIN. This agent was responsible for a case in Seoul where he was TDY for 6 weeks. After that, he was assigned to the Olympics, and he was involved in that.
    So what I am suggesting, sir, he was involved in a number of activities. Therefore, in terms of prioritizing of the case, it was decided to narrow the focus to Mr. Parish's relationships with these two Chinese nationals.
    Mr. BURTON. Well, in those stacks of documents which were in Mr. Parish's office, there was a credenza that was full of files regarding Chinese companies and also an extensive set of visa applications in his office. Those were probably destroyed as well.
    Now if there was some evidence that he had been involved with two companies, and there were brochures and visa applications from other companies, why would you limit the investigation to those two and just shut the case down and send the boxes back to the Embassy?
 Page 43       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Mr. SCHURMAN. In addition to removing the material specifically requested by DS, I went through and pulled out everything that might have some interest, and I retrieved those and put those in a box in my office.
    At that point I felt I had gone through everything in sufficient detail. And as I say, I put a number of hours in there myself. My normal duties were basically taking up my full day, and I was spending nights and weekends doing this.
    Mr. BURTON. Was it normal for an employee who worked in Beijing to have a bank account in Hong Kong?
    Mr. SCHURMAN. Hong Kong was the medical evacuation point. It was the nearest sort of First World city to Beijing. So I know that a lot of members from the Embassy went down there on a regular basis. I don't know——
    Mr. BURTON. When you went through the records, you found a bank account of Mr. Parish's in Hong Kong. You did not pursue that at all?
    Mr. SCHURMAN. I looked at the paper itself. It looked like it was an insignificant amount of money, and therefore, I decided it was not anything that was out of the ordinary for somebody to have an account down there.
    Mr. BURTON. I know it was an insignificant amount of money, but how did you know that he might not have had $1 million in there the week before?
    Mr. SCHURMAN. I didn't know that.
    Mr. BURTON. But you put it in the box and it was destroyed, and so we don't have that bank account number. Here is a man who is accused of taking bribes, and all of the evidence that might be there is gone.
    In retrospect, do you think that the statement of Mr. Parish's Hong Kong bank account might have been useful to see what kind of balances there might have been in there from time to time?
 Page 44       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Mr. SCHURMAN. Possibly.
    Mr. BURTON. There is another category of documents that have been destroyed, and the absence of these documents has harmed the committee's investigation. These are the Embassy's copies of visa applications processed by Mr. Parish.
    The committee, along with the Inspector General's Office, asked the State Department to provide a list of all the visas approved by Mr. Parish. It turns out we cannot be provided with this list because all of the visa applications were destroyed pursuant to an Embassy policy of destroying old files after a year.
    That was the policy, to destroy the old files after 1 year?
    Mr. SCHURMAN. That is my understanding.
    Mr. BURTON. So if there was bribery that took place, and the person got away with it for a year, the evidence would have been destroyed in due course. It would have just been destroyed as a matter of regular actions of the Embassy, correct?
    Mr. SCHURMAN. Yes. I am not involved with the consulate's normal policy and their normal——
    Mr. BURTON. Mr. Schurman, at the time the investigation was going on, didn't it occur to you to save the visa applications that he had processed? You are investigating a man for possible bribery, and you have visa applications and there are applications on record during that year that have been processed. Did it not occur to you to maybe save those visa applications just in case there might have been a bribe paid on one of those during that current year?
    Mr. SCHURMAN. I saved all of the material that DS asked me to save, and then I saved a bunch of additional material.
    The consulate that year processed something in the neighborhood of 125,000 visa applications. So I would assume that Mr. Parish had a reasonable percentage of those.
 Page 45       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Mr. BURTON. I know, but don't they keep track of who approved visas for record purposes? They have some record that Mr. Parish or somebody approved it, don't they?
    Mr. SCHURMAN. The OF–156 form, which is the application form, has a block on it for the individual, the officer who either approves or disapproves it.
    Mr. BURTON. Did you not think maybe it would be advisable to pick out all of them for that current year, that had not yet been destroyed, with Mr. Parish's name on it—especially if a subordinate had maybe disapproved it, and he approved it later for some reason—and keep those with records so they could be reviewed when the case was open?
    Mr. SCHURMAN. Diplomatic Security was basically running the case. If they had asked me to do that, I would have. I probably would have asked for the help to do it. That would have been a very significant undertaking.
    Mr. BURTON. To find the ones with his name on?
    Mr. SCHURMAN. Yes.
    Mr. BURTON. Don't they have a computer that lists which ones were approved by each agent?
    Mr. SCHURMAN. There were 125,000 processed that year. I would assume that Parish had 30,000 of those, if not more.
    Mr. BURTON. So why would it have been so difficult to have those spit out and put into a box?
    Ms. COHEN. Many of the committee members, especially Mr. Horn, are familiar with the computer capabilities in the past of the State Department; and there would have been no capability to spit out this kind of information. We have Mary Ryan here, who can address this in detail, but basically the State Department, with bipartisan support, has been investing in computer systems for the last 2 to 3 years.
 Page 46       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Mr. BURTON. Let me ask you this. If you have a corrupt employee who is handling the visas and taking money, what you are telling me if they get away with it for a year, they have gotten away with it. And these visas are worth $10- to $20,000 on the street. So if a person is pretty slick and they can get away with it for a year and the documents are destroyed, and they are sitting with a bank account in Hong Kong that nobody is checking on, is that what you are telling me, no check and balance?
    Ms. COHEN. I am not saying that. All cases of visa malfeasance are taken very seriously. There has been increased training both for consular officers and for DS officers in the last couple of years. In addition, people have access to a line to the Inspector General to report these things themselves and we followup directly.
    Mr. BURTON. Mr. Schurman, did you interview the junior officers in the nonimmigrant visa section as part of your investigation?
    Mr. SCHURMAN. I did not formally interview anyone.
    Mr. BURTON. Nobody?
    Mr. SCHURMAN. Not formally.
    Mr. BURTON. Did you talk to anybody?
    Mr. SCHURMAN. Yes, sir.
    Mr. BURTON. What did they say?
    Mr. SCHURMAN. They basically had the same—told me the same things that they had told Scott Hallford.
    Mr. BURTON. That was?
    Mr. SCHURMAN. There were concerns that he was overriding some of the visas.
    Mr. BURTON. Give me a few examples. Did they say it was because of a woman? Because she was pretty? Was it because of money?
 Page 47       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Mr. SCHURMAN. As I remember it, as you said, there were complaints that he would more likely give a visa to a young pretty woman than someone else.
    Mr. BURTON. OK. Did anybody ever say anything about money, that there with a suspicion that he took money for visas?
    Mr. SCHURMAN. No.
    Mr. BURTON. Nobody ever said that?
    Mr. SCHURMAN. The visa officers, I do not recall them making that statement.
    Mr. BURTON. When you were doing the investigation, did anybody say that there was a suspicion that he took money for visas?
    Mr. SCHURMAN. The consul general and the other gentleman who was acting consul general, Dan Piccuta, both stated that they did not believe that he was taking money for visas.
    Mr. BURTON. Were you aware that he took his secretary and another Chinese woman to Las Vegas and California, were you aware that a maid went into his room and said she saw $10,000 lying on the bed, and that he was there at the expense of a company?
    Do you know who paid for that room? Is it legal for a company to pay for those rooms? Isn't there a limitation on how much a Foreign Service Officer can take from a company?
    Mr. SCHURMAN. The first part is—I was not aware of any of the information in Las Vegas. I was aware that he went with his secretary and another woman. That was reported in my first telegram back to the Department. I was not aware—nothing was reported——
    Mr. BURTON. Did you find out who paid for their accommodations?
    Mr. SCHURMAN. I asked Mr. Parish in the first meeting, and he said that he paid for his trip back there himself.
 Page 48       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Mr. BURTON. Did anybody check to see if it was being paid for by one of the people who had been the beneficiaries of his visas?
    Mr. SCHURMAN. I don't know if anybody checked or asked.
    Mr. BURTON. Did you ask him about whether he had violated the Embassy's nonfraternization policy with Chinese?
    Mr. SCHURMAN. Yes, I did.
    Mr. BURTON. And what did he say?
    Mr. SCHURMAN. He did not answer that question.
    Mr. BURTON. You didn't pursue it? He just said that he wouldn't answer it?
    Mr. SCHURMAN. I am not—he did not answer the question.
    Mr. BURTON. When you interviewed him, did you talk to him about the gifts that he had received and the value of those gifts that were in his office?
    Mr. SCHURMAN. Yes.
    Mr. BURTON. Were they all under $20?
    Mr. SCHURMAN. No.
    Mr. BURTON. Were they expensive?
    Mr. SCHURMAN. Some were.
    Mr. BURTON. How much?
    Mr. SCHURMAN. The one I recall, there was a pair of cuff links from one of the local department stores, and it was in excess of $200.
    Mr. BURTON. After the interview, you and Mr. Hallford sent a cable back to Washington stating that you thought Mr. Parish was not accepting money for services. How did you come to that conclusion?
    Mr. SCHURMAN. Would you repeat that, please.
 Page 49       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Mr. BURTON. How did you come to the conclusion that Mr. Parish wasn't getting money? You wired back to Washington stating that you and Mr. Hallford thought that he was not accepting bribes for visas.
    Mr. SCHURMAN. I don't recall stating that I thought that.
    Mr. BURTON. Was there a cable sent back? Who sent the cable?
    Mr. SCHURMAN. I originated all of the telegrams regarding the case from Beijing.
    Mr. BURTON. But you never searched his apartment or bank records?
    Mr. SCHURMAN. That's correct.
    Mr. BURTON. I see that my time has expired.
    Mr. Waxman.
    Mr. WAXMAN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
    As I listened to the chairman's questioning, it sounds like an autopsy of the investigation that took place, and perhaps we can learn, for the future, how to handle these kinds of investigations better.
    Is it your position, each of you, that you tried to do your best, given the resources you had available, given the fact that you had to make some prioritization of all other things that you needed to do, but now that we look at it perhaps it wasn't a perfect investigation? Is that what we are hearing from all of you?
    Mr. BERGIN. Yes, sir. I would say both the agents in Washington and Mr. Schurman acted completely in good faith.
    Mr. WAXMAN. Let me ask you this. Were any punches pulled? Was there any kind of sinister interference by anyone to try to protect Mr. Parish, to try to hinder the investigation?
 Page 50       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Mr. BERGIN. From my reading of the record of the case, absolutely none.
    Mr. WAXMAN. Let me ask all of the other witnesses. Do any of you have any evidence or can you think of any kind of reason that more wasn't done in pursuing this investigation because of anything other than lack of resources?
    Mr. SCHURMAN. No one attempted to interfere with my investigation. My impression was that many of the officers would have liked me to have found evidence, and if they had some, they would have presented it.
    You are correct, there was no interference at all with the investigation.
    Mr. WAXMAN. In hindsight we can talk—yes.
    Ms. COHEN. I wasn't there at the time, but I have had the opportunity to look at this, and to remind everyone, this has now been investigated three times: first by Mr. Schurman in DS, then by the IG, and now by the FBI. To the best of my knowledge, no one has found any criminal activity, and I think the chairman alluded to that.
    Obviously, we agree in hindsight that more could have been done, and perhaps more done more carefully. But we are in the process of addressing that.
    We do have new leadership in DS, Peter Bergin. In addition, we have for the first time a security professional as the Assistant Secretary for Diplomatic Security.
    Mr. WAXMAN. I think the best thing that we can do now is learn for the future.
    Ms. WILLIAMS-BRIDGERS. Mr. Waxman, as the Under Secretary just mentioned, the Office of Inspector General conducted its investigation quite separate from that of the Bureau of Diplomatic Security and subsequent to the investigation by Diplomatic Security. And we pursued all viable leads and determined, in consultation with the Justice Department and the FBI, that there was no evidence to substantiate the allegations that we were pursuing.
 Page 51       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Mr. WAXMAN. I know that. Did you find any evidence of anybody interfering with the investigation so that all of the evidence wouldn't come forward and that Mr. Parish was going to be protected?
    Ms. WILLIAMS-BRIDGERS. I can say that no one interfered with the course of our investigation.
    Mr. WAXMAN. That is just not on the radar screen of anyone who reviewed this investigation; is that correct?
    Ms. WILLIAMS-BRIDGERS. I have not had any experience with interference with any investigation that we have conducted.
    Mr. WAXMAN. You would think that the Diplomatic Security Service had nothing to do, but to devote all of its resources to investigating Charles Parish.
    Mr. Schurman and Mr. Bergin, let me see what overseas diplomatic service personnel, and particularly a regional security officer, might be responsible for doing. You manage all of the programs to protect State Department's facilities; isn't that right?
    Mr. BERGIN. Correct.
    Mr. WAXMAN. That means managing the security force and assessing threats by terrorists or others against the Embassy, consulate, and other buildings?
    Mr. BERGIN. That is correct, sir.
    Mr. WAXMAN. You are also responsible for protecting all of the State Department personnel from criminal or terrorist threats while they are abroad?
    Mr. BERGIN. That is correct.
    Mr. WAXMAN. And you are responsible for safeguarding all of the classified and sensitive information used by our diplomats every day in their work?
    Mr. BERGIN. Yes, sir.
    Mr. WAXMAN. And you are also responsible for conducting investigations into all allegations of visa and passport fraud; is that correct?
 Page 52       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Mr. BERGIN. That is correct.
    Mr. WAXMAN. And you serve as the principal adviser to the Ambassador on security matters; is that correct?
    Mr. BERGIN. Yes, sir.
    Mr. WAXMAN. That is obviously a lot of ground to cover and you have to make a lot of hard decisions as to allocating your time and resources; isn't that a fair statement?
    Mr. BERGIN. Yes, sir.
    Mr. WAXMAN. I am impressed to hear that for the whole world we have 14 investigators who look at, what, diplomatic visa fraud?
    Mr. BERGIN. We have 14 agents in our Visa Fraud Branch, and their responsibility is global for every Embassy; and there are 200-plus Embassies and consulates around the world where visas and passports are issued, not to include the——
    Mr. WAXMAN. Is there only one for East Asia?
    Mr. BERGIN. Back in 1996, yes, that is correct.
    Mr. WAXMAN. So it seems to me if you didn't have the resources, it is unfair to criticize you for not making this the highest priority. After all, we don't have any basis for letting you appoint a special prosecutor on Mr. Parish the way that we have special prosecutors sift through people's personal life for every possible wrongdoing, from the President of the United States to members of the Cabinet; and I hardly think an accusation against a person means that person ought to be investigated for every possible crime that he may have possibly committed.
    Mr. BERGIN. Back in 1996, we had approximately 640 special agents who were responsible on a worldwide basis for all of those missions that we perform on behalf of the American public.
 Page 53       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Today we are approaching 980, thanks to the Congress, thanks to Secretary Albright. In the aftermath of the East African bombings, we have been given 200 special agents, and their first mission is the protection of life. Protection of the integrity of our passports and visas is a corollary responsibility.
    Mr. WAXMAN. I am pleased to hear that.
    Now let's go back to this case, and now we are looking at how this case should have been a higher priority than everything else, and so there were more resources devoted to it.
    In this case, you received information that a midlevel officer may have mismanaged his office and may have breached the State Department's Code of Ethical Conduct.
    Mr. Schurman, you conducted an investigation into Mr. Parish's activities. Did you have unlimited time and resources to do that job?
    Mr. SCHURMAN. No, I didn't.
    Mr. WAXMAN. Do you think you and your superiors made reasonable decisions about the amount of investigative resources to put into this investigation?
    Mr. SCHURMAN. Yes, sir.
    Mr. WAXMAN. It wasn't just Mr. Schurman that was involved in this inquiry. It was Ambassador Sasser and his Deputy Chief of Mission, both of whom personally looked into the matter.
    Ms. Cohen, would you say that our Embassy in China is one of our more important posts in the world?
    Ms. COHEN. It is critically important.
    Mr. WAXMAN. In addition to worrying about personnel matters, do the Ambassador and his DCM have to worry about a host of other issues, some of which impact our foreign policy interests?
 Page 54       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Ms. COHEN. Absolutely.
    Mr. WAXMAN. In addition to Mr. Parish, they were spending time thinking about most favored nation status, which was coming up for a vote, and thinking about the imminent transfer of Hong Kong to China's control. They were probably thinking about sanction decisions relating to China's sale of nuclear technology to Pakistan. And they might have been thinking about human rights issues, nonproliferation, global environmental issues, tensions between China and Taiwan, tensions between North and South Korea, and a whole host of issues which are very important to the United States; isn't that correct?
    Ms. COHEN. Yes.
    Mr. WAXMAN. In light of everything going on in the United States Embassy in Beijing, do you think that the State Department acted too slowly or was derelict in its responsibility in investigating Mr. Parish and resolving the accusations made against him?
    Ms. COHEN. I think the State Department acted very promptly. Whether now, in hindsight, we need to tighten procedures or tighten training, which we have done, to make these kinds of investigations more thorough, we are looking at that.
    Mr. WAXMAN. These hearings that we are having today, or this hearing today, arose out of Johnny Chung's testimony before the committee in May. Mr. Chung made allegations that some people told him information relating to Chinese attempts to influence our elections. He also said that he had some dealings with Mr. Parish. After hearing these allegations, our committee began to investigate Mr. Parish to see if he was connected with the Chinese plot to influence our elections.
    Let me ask, are any of you aware of any evidence that the Chinese Government tried to influence our elections through Charles Parish?
    Mr. SCHURMAN. I am not.
    Ms. WILLIAMS-BRIDGERS. I am not.
 Page 55       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Mr. BERGIN. I am not.
    Ms. COHEN. I am not.
    Mr. WAXMAN. The investigation did not even concern violations of our campaign fundraising laws at all, did it, that you conducted? In other words, did your investigations involve campaign finance laws?
    Mr. SCHURMAN. No, mine did not.
    Mr. WAXMAN. Did any of yours?
    Mr. BERGIN. No, sir.
    Mr. WAXMAN. The investigations by the Bureau of Diplomatic Security at the State Department and by the Office of Inspector General seem to have involved routine investigative decisions by career employees such as, who do you interview and when do you stop investigating; was everyone involved in the investigation at the State Department a career employee rather than a political appointee?
    Mr. SCHURMAN. To my knowledge.
    Mr. BERGIN. To my knowledge, yes, sir.
    Ms. COHEN. Yes, sir.
    Mr. WAXMAN. Are any of you aware of any attempt by any political appointee to stop or otherwise affect the investigation of Mr. Parish?
    Mr. SCHURMAN. I am not.
    Ms. WILLIAMS-BRIDGERS. I am not.
    Mr. BERGIN. I am not aware.
    Ms. COHEN. I am not aware.
    Mr. WAXMAN. It seems to me what we have at this hearing is one particular case which may not be much of anything. It does not have to do with a Chinese plot to influence our elections. In fact, it does not appear to have anything to do with political fundraising. It seems to be about a routine investigation performed by the State Department and by its Inspector General, and whether you did enough in investigating what is a serious violation. If there were, in fact, bribes being taken by Mr. Parish, or anybody that works at Embassies, I would want it investigated, and it seems to me that you did what you thought was appropriate.
 Page 56       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Now I have a few questions for Ms. Williams-Bridgers about the Inspector General's investigation. Do I understand that the Office of Inspector General opened an investigation into Mr. Parish's possible misconduct on January 22, 1998?
    Ms. WILLIAMS-BRIDGERS. That's correct.
    Mr. WAXMAN. And your agents conducted a number of interviews in the course of the investigation?
    Ms. WILLIAMS-BRIDGERS. I cannot speak about specific investigative steps that we took during our Parish investigation, but it is normal practice for us to conduct numerous interviews.
    Mr. WAXMAN. Did your office investigate jointly with the FBI and the INS?
    Ms. WILLIAMS-BRIDGERS. We were engaged jointly with the FBI.
    Mr. WAXMAN. And your investigators joined with the FBI to interview Johnny Chung; is that correct?
    Ms. WILLIAMS-BRIDGERS. I cannot speak about any specific interviews that we conducted, sir.
    Mr. WAXMAN. Is it the case your office closed the investigation on February 23, 1999, and concluded that ''No evidence had been developed which substantiates criminal conduct by Parish in this matter. Since all logical leads have been completed with a negative result, no further investigative activity appears warranted,''?
    Mr. WAXMAN. Now the chairman has said that the Justice Department has not officially closed its investigation, and he is accusing the Justice Department about the motives of the Justice Department in not concluding their investigation. He says that he thinks that they don't want this committee to be able to do its job. Have you heard of any evidence that points to that conclusion?
 Page 57       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Ms. WILLIAMS-BRIDGERS. The FBI has officially closed their investigation of Mr. Parish with the concurrence of the Campaign Contribution Task Force lead attorneys on this case.
    I am sorry, was——
    Mr. WAXMAN. The FBI has closed its investigation and the Justice Department still won't allow you to testify?
    Ms. WILLIAMS-BRIDGERS. Because of their interpretation of the Chief Judge's opinion, which would consider any and all information collected during the course of the investigation as being 6(e) protected, meaning I should not disclose any of that information.
    Mr. WAXMAN. If the Justice Department officially closed its investigation, does it have discretion in any way to allow you, even if the investigation were completed, to talk about 6(e) materials?
    Ms. WILLIAMS-BRIDGERS. It is my understanding that the 6(e) protection extends indefinitely beyond the closure of the case.
    Mr. WAXMAN. What is the reason for that? What is the rationale? I know that there is a court case that said that, but what is the rationale for a judge not allowing Congress to have grand jury information?
    Ms. WILLIAMS-BRIDGERS. I am not in a position to answer that, but if the Chair indulges me, I would call upon OIG Counsel, Rick Reback, or we can provide that information for the record.
    Mr. Chairman, Mr. Waxman has asked me a question that I am not able to respond to accurately. But if I can call——
    Mr. BURTON. For the record, you are welcome to respond.
    Mr. WAXMAN. Let me see if I can get the information another way.
 Page 58       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    The Justice Department advised you not to discuss the Parish matter because discussion could improperly disclose evidence taken from the Federal grand jury. My understanding is that these concerns aren't just the imaginings of the Justice Department, but are founded on rule 6(e) of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure and a ruling by Judge Norma Holloway-Johnson of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.
    We have heard Chairman Burton accuse the Attorney General of keeping a criminal case open on Mr. Parish just so the Inspector General would be barred from discussing grand jury material protected by rule 6(e). Rule 6(e) imposes a broad blanket of secrecy which under these circumstances can only be lifted by a court order and only then upon a strong showing of particularized need and the court's careful balancing of whether the interests served by disclosure will outweigh the interests in secrecy. The protection given by rule 6(e) does not end when a criminal investigation closes.
    And so what we have here is a matter that is irrelevant for purposes of whether the Justice Department's investigation of Mr. Parish is open or closed; isn't that correct?
    Ms. WILLIAMS-BRIDGERS. The guidance provided by the Justice Department attorneys reflected on their interpretation of the Chief Judge's opinion and not on the existence of the investigation.
    Mr. WAXMAN. Well, we are committed to an oversight jurisdiction over the State Department, Justice Department, over the whole Government, and we want to be sure that our Government is doing everything that it should be doing, and if need be, we change the laws; if resources are needed, we provide additional resources.
    It seems so strange that we are now taking on a congressional investigation of allegations against one man—serious—but that have been investigated three times and led to no criminal prosecution. And we bring him before a committee of Congress where he asserts his constitutional right, which he has an opportunity as an American citizen to do, and then you are brought before us and criticized in retrospect on what it appears that you have done properly, maybe not as completely and not as perfectly as it could have been done, but you had other things to do.
 Page 59       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    And so I guess the only thing that I can see of value in this hearing is to see if you have any recommendations on how future investigations should be conducted, given that we don't want to tolerate any corruption or wrongdoing.
    Do any of you want to respond now, or perhaps we can leave the record open and have some further submissions to us? That seems to me to be the value of this hearing when all is said and done.
    Ms. COHEN. I think that we all agree that is the value of the hearing, and we welcome the hearing on that basis. We have been evaluating our procedures. DS has been working with the Inspector General, and we welcome the opportunity to submit for the record the steps that we have taken and are taking and also would be glad to hear any additional suggestions you all have.
    Thank you very much.
    [The information referred to follows:]
    [The official committee record contains additional material here.]

    Ms. WILLIAMS-BRIDGERS. I would be glad to submit our comments for the record.
    Mr. WAXMAN. Do you know whether you need more resources to do the job and can you tell us how much more money you will need?
    Ms. COHEN. I have said this in other forums.
    This agency is strapped for resources on an operational basis. I am not talking about foreign policy investment, but the costs of operating around the world. We are certainly a great superpower, yet on an operational basis, our Department of State is underfunded.
    Any of you who take a trip—and I know that some of you have, in the Dominican Republic or Haiti or China and have seen people waiting for visa services, know what I'm talking about. China is a good example; people were storming the Embassy in China and we only have a 10-foot setback. We are on record looking for more resources, particularly for security operations. We are very appreciative of the bipartisan support that we got for the emergency security supplemental this summer, but that is only a start in rebuilding the infrastructure of this department.
 Page 60       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Mr. WAXMAN. I think if Congress is going to call you in to respond to the job that you have done, and then does not take seriously the requests for additional resources so you can do the job, I think that is somewhat hypocritical.
    And none of us wants to see any kind of corruption go on in our Embassies. We know that you have a lot of responsibilities, sometimes including taking care of Congressmen when we travel officially to meet with people. I think that is an appropriate function for Members of Congress in doing our job, but certainly it doesn't seem fair to ask you to do everything and then not give you the resources to do what is important to be done.
    One last question: Do any of you think that we ought to look into the idea of having an unlimited special prosecutor investigate anybody who is accused of any offense, such as those offenses that were alleged against Mr. Parish? Do you think that makes sense?
    Ms. Williams-Bridgers, you are a prosecutor.
    Ms. WILLIAMS-BRIDGERS. No, I am not an attorney.
    Mr. WAXMAN. Are any of you prosecutors? I guess you are not the right ones to ask.
    Ms. COHEN. This is not in response to that question, but I think in this context it is helpful to know that allegations of visa fraud come up all the time. I think if you think about it, perhaps even where you are, people will say—will advertise or say that they can get visas because they know somebody. People overseas say they can get visas because they know somebody. It is a way for them to take advantage of something which is in very short supply.
    We do investigate all accusations that come to our attention. We refer some to the IG. In addition, she gets words of allegations through her own channels. So we take them very seriously. But people like to portray themselves as connected to the visa system.
    Mr. WAXMAN. I would imagine that when you have somebody who can make the decision whether you get a visa or not, that is an important decision. And if somebody who has that kind of discretion is corrupt, they can get bribes. That is why we need a whole way to make sure that we are checking on people.
 Page 61       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Mr. BERGIN. Can I add something, Congressman? This particular hearing focuses on a Foreign Service Officer who allegedly made some bad decisions.
    I had the very good fortune before taking this job of being the RSO in India, and had the privilege of working with a Foreign Service Officer, a consular officer by the name of James Waller, who worked closely with us on a visa fraud case in which a travel broker, using a foreign national employee of that consulate in Bombay as an intermediary, tried to bribe Mr. Waller to issue 31 visas for $130,000. It took a nanosecond for him to report this bribe to the RSO in New Delhi. We acted swiftly and meaningfully and were able to encourage this travel broker to travel back to Galveston, TX, where she was interviewed and apprehended and arrested.
    In India, we filtered through hundreds of allegations of visa fraud. These are very complex, complicated, time-consuming investigations. In many cases, we cannot get to the threshold that a crime was committed. Yes, there was an appearance of improprieties. And we have a relationship with the Director General of the Foreign Service to ensure that these improprieties are dealt with from a personnel perspective.
    Mr. WAXMAN. I would hope that you can do everything possible to stop these improprieties from happening because it is a serious matter; but I have to tell you, from the perspective of a Member of Congress, in my time, I have had people come forward with immigrants in my District and act as if they can represent them to get me to do something that I would ordinarily do for anybody that lives in my district, and we try to make it clear that no one is to get compensation for the work that we do in our office.
    We had a situation once where the caseworker received a gift from an immigrant family because they were so grateful and they thought that is what they were supposed to do. You have to be vigilant. Sometimes it is the culture where people think that they are supposed to pay as a way of showing appreciation or to get what they want, but this should not be tolerated by our Embassies or consulates or by our congressional offices or by the INS. The rules should be followed and apply to everybody.
 Page 62       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    The counsel for Mr. Parish wanted to make a statement and you properly ruled that he wouldn't be permitted to speak, but I want to submit for the record his statement.
    Mr. BURTON. Without objection, so ordered.
    [The information referred to follows:]
    [The official committee record contains additional material here.]

    Mr. WAXMAN. Let me just ask any of you, is there anything else that you want to add to the subject matter that is before this committee today on this hearing that you haven't had a chance to talk about?
    Ms. COHEN. Well, at the risk of overstaying my opportunity to talk, again, having been there only 2 years, the people who apply to the Foreign Service, who get selected, who dedicate themselves to this career are extraordinary. Everyone is required to do 2 years overseas in consular duty, and they are extraordinarily dedicated to serving both America and to serving the communities in which they find themselves.
    I think an example of that is the consular official—again in China, which seems to figure large these days—who in the midst of the attacks on the American Embassy left the Embassy where she was, managed to get out with the records of Americans who were applying for adoptions of Chinese children and were waiting in hotels in China with these children, and processed them even as the attacks on the Embassy continued.
    So while there are allegations, and they all have to be investigated, we have a very dedicated group of people joining the Foreign Service.
    Mr. WAXMAN. I think we all appreciate that and the chairman made that comment, as well, in his opening statement. He knows that most of our Foreign Service personnel all around the world do a great deal of service to our country and we do appreciate it.
 Page 63       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    We need to hear from you your recommendations on how we can help them do their job better. And if there is a problem, help you do the job of dealing with those problems and investigating properly and prosecuting, if necessary, anybody who has acted corruptly.
    Mr. Chairman, I yield back the balance of my time.
    Mr. BURTON. Mr. Horn.
    Mr. HORN. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
    I have been interested in the discussion so far. Let me try to get a few things straight in my own mind.
    Mr. Schurman, in the investigation of the office of Mr. Parish, were the records all written in English or were there also Chinese notations? Because we do have native personnel in every Embassy in the world and not everybody can know the language. What did you find on those records? Were the records in English or were the records in Chinese, yes or no?
    Mr. SCHURMAN. The official records, the official application, has both English and Chinese on it.
    Mr. HORN. What you were looking for, what kind of records did they have, were they all in English or Chinese or a mixture thereof?
    Mr. SCHURMAN. Since I didn't speak Chinese, I would have to say I was looking for anything in English.
    Mr. HORN. Did anybody translate what was on the documents, whether they are just notations or not, of Chinese? You can't read Chinese characters?
    Mr. SCHURMAN. That is correct. No one came in.
    Mr. HORN. So you couldn't look at the cards that were being kept or the visa applications and—they were not all in English; is that correct?
    Mr. SCHURMAN. That is correct.
    Mr. HORN. Why didn't you get somebody that could read Chinese to help you with that?
 Page 64       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Well, it is just obvious. You are looking like a blind man at the cards and you don't know what is there, and I don't see how you can even do an investigation.
    Mr. BERGIN. Sir, if I may add, the official forms, the 156s, they are in English. Those are the official applications for a visa.
    Mr. HORN. And you feel that by going through those in just the English part, you are going to find out whether Mr. Parish has done what he has been accused of or not?
    Well, Mr. Chairman—either you do or you don't. You are telling me all you did was look at was the English part of the record?
    Mr. SCHURMAN. I looked at both the official records and other documents in that office. I would say there were numerous documents.
    Mr. HORN. What was the date that you looked into that office, do you remember the date?
    Mr. SCHURMAN. Not specifically, but it was between—toward the end of May 1996, to the end of June 1996.
    Mr. HORN. Do you have available there exhibit CP–29, and if we can put that on the screen. That is a memorandum from the political officer at the Embassy in Beijing to the Deputy Chief of Mission, the person who is acting in lieu of the Ambassador often when the Ambassador is away on travel. Do you know at the time who was the DCM for our Embassy there? It is redacted out on my copy.
    Let me just read the text of this. ''At a May 30 dinner in Qingdao, hosted by the local foreign affairs office,'' that was our people,

    the political officer was told by Chinese officials, as well as local Chinese businessman, that ''everyone knew'' that it was ''very easy'' to get a nonimmigrant visa from the U.S. Embassy in Beijing. The Chinese said if you anticipated that you might have difficulty in obtaining a visa—for instance, you were applying for a visa allowing you to work in the United States, but you did not speak English—you simply took ''the black official'' in the Embassy to dinner, gave him a gift and you were guaranteed a visa.
 Page 65       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    The next paragraph,

    Responding to a question, a Qingdao Foreign Affairs Office representative said he had first learned of this ''procedure'' over a year ago when he was living in Los Angeles. He stated that at that time he had met ''many'' obviously unqualified Chinese people who, ''he was surprised to learn,'' had been issued PRC passports. He commented that he was even more amazed, however, that the U.S. Government had issued these people visas. According to the official, it should have been obvious that these people were not qualified for certain types of visas which would normally go to trained business people or scholars. He reportedly questioned a number of these people as to how they were able to obtain U.S. visas and was told about ''the black official,'' at the consular section in the U.S. Embassy in Beijing.

    Now, did you see that memo at all?
    Mr. SCHURMAN. I don't recall this memo.
    Mr. HORN. Did anybody here at the top end in Washington?
    Did you ever see that, Mr. Bergin?
    Mr. BERGIN. This is the first time I have seen this, sir.
    Mr. HORN. What I am waiting for, and I finally got a little bit of it, enough for a little finger, where is the outrage by the people in charge of the Department of State? I am outraged and I don't need some Justice Department attorney or somebody else telling me. If I had been there, that person would have been out of there so fast that they wouldn't have known what hit them.
    Now, if you have allegations of $10,000 on beds in Las Vegas and all of that nonsense, it seems to me that you move fast and you get them out, whether they are stealing $10 or $10,000.
 Page 66       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Mr. BERGIN. Yes. Congressman, this memo is dated June 5. I believe that Charles Parish departed post May 30 or 31, about a week in advance.
    Mr. HORN. Well, here then the Embassy finally finds out that they are the laughingstock of China by other Chinese who openly tell our own Embassy personnel in Qingdao what is going on.
    Then it seems to me, Mr. Schurman, you have got to make awful sure those records are kept somewhere, and it looks like nobody did. And I realize it is face and all that bureaucratic nonsense, but if you have got somebody that is demeaning the United States and demeaning their office after they take an oath and are a Foreign Service Officer—I assume Mr. Parish was a Foreign Service Officer?
    Mr. SCHURMAN. That's correct.
    Mr. HORN. OK. What rank was he as a Foreign Service Officer? Does anybody know?
    Mr. GNEHM. He's a 2.
    Mr. HORN. He's a 2, OK. And he was sort of in that consular phase all new Foreign Service Officers are assigned to or what—or was that his permanent station?
    Mr. SCHURMAN. He was Chief of the Visa Section.
    Mr. GNEHM. Sir, he was a consular officer within the terms of the personnel system.
    Mr. HORN. Well, you know, I look at you all, and I don't see any outrage by it, and it just upsets me, I want to tell you. I just wonder how much bureaucratic nonsense we can take like this, and State doesn't seem to be worried about it.
    Sure, you don't have enough people. Fine. You have enough people to get a few people, and that is all you need to do in order to tune up the organization. There ought to have been—the 5 you had somewhere, or the 14, they ought to have descended on that Embassy to help.
 Page 67       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    I don't understand—I don't think you were around then, Ms. Cohen, but it just seems to me good management is dealing with these things, and that is why we have an Inspector General who can't talk now because of the judicial ruling, and that is why we have the General Accounting Office and a number of things to try to safeguard what people are sworn to do and uphold the laws of this land.
    So, anyhow, I guess I would ask—none of you saw this memo, so I guess no outrage was from you, but you did know a number of things and allegations that were going on besides this memo. Are there any memos you are aware of about this time?
    Mr. GNEHM. Mr. Congressman, I would like to express my outrage.
    Mr. HORN. Yes.
    Mr. GNEHM. I would like you to hear it from me, and I would like to have the chairman——
    Mr. HORN. Yes.
    Mr. GNEHM. I work every day of my life. I have been 31 years in the Foreign Service. I happen, thanks to the Secretary and the President and the Senate, to be Director General of the Foreign Service. I consider it my job, amongst many other things, to see that these kinds of things are dealt with.
    In this particular case, what I would say to you is, it isn't always—and this is I think the point you all were trying to make earlier—it doesn't have to be criminal to still be bad. In fact, our ethics regulations are quite clear about that, that perceptions are critically important in the kind of work we do as public servants. Unfortunately, I think, as the Under Secretary said, we don't have sufficient people. The numbers the Inspector General gave you——
    Mr. HORN. I understand that, and I think you ought to get at that point in the record what resources you have asked for, where has it been chopped, either at the Secretary, at OMB, the President, Congress, wherever, let us get it in the record.
 Page 68       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Mr. GNEHM. I wanted to respond particularly to the point that there is a mechanism that a Chief of Mission has to remove an officer that is not performing or is creating a problem, particularly even a perceptual, public problem, and he exercised that in this case.
    Mr. HORN. Yes. This Deputy Chief of Mission at least knew about it around June 5th, might have known a bit earlier.
    Well, let me move on here because time is limited.
    Diplomatic Security began its investigation of Mr. Parish about the same time, as I noted, as this memo, and then Mr. Schurman informed the committee that when he was starting his investigation he requested help from Diplomatic Security to conduct his investigation. He was told that DS refused to send anyone to Beijing. Why did DS refuse to assist him in the investigation?
    Mr. BERGIN. That's a very fair question. I think sir, there were judgments made that the information that Diplomatic Security in Washington needed could be obtained by the RSO there with the assistance of the assistant RSO. Given that, they would make a determination to provide Don Schurman additional support if needed beyond that. They believed at the time that the RSO and his assistant could carry out these functions, and that they would later be able to re-evaluate the need for augmentation for Don.
    Mr. HORN. Well, let me ask you, is it accurate to say that your investigation focused on a company called Kwan Hau International and several related companies in New York and whether they were legitimate sponsors of visa applications?
    Mr. BERGIN. That is my understanding, yes, sir.
    Mr. HORN. OK. Did Diplomatic Security investigate the allegations relating to whether Mr. Parish had received gratuities from, do we pronounce it COFCO or BNU?
 Page 69       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Mr. BERGIN. COFCO. I'm not aware of those companies, sir, no. The only two companies that I'm aware of, Congressman, are Bright City International and Guang Hua.
    Mr. BURTON. The gentleman's time has expired. We will give you more time, but let me just followup on that.
    It is my understanding that there were 3 or 4 weeks in a row that Mr. Parish was in the United States in Las Vegas, Los Angeles, I think Texas and some other places, and his expenses were paid by COFCO. From what I have heard today, nobody has mentioned that. We are talking about thousands and thousands of dollars of expenses paid. He had two women with him, one his girlfriend and one his secretary. We don't know who paid their expenses. He said he paid his own travel expenses.
    I don't know that anybody has checked that out. Has anyone checked that out, to see if he paid? Did he have receipts for that? Did you check to find out if he paid his own way or did COFCO pay that? Because flying from the Orient to all these places, staying at posh places, and allegedly $10,000 on the bed is a pretty good chunk of money. It seems to me that should have been an integral part of the investigation.
    Let me now yield to Mr. Hutchinson.
    Mr. HUTCHINSON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I also want to identify with the remarks of Mr. Horn, who expressed his outrage, and I am delighted that raised a response anyway.
    I understand there are limited resources, but the problem with limited resources is that you are unable to investigate everything. In this case, you zeroed in on someone who had very serious allegations, and generally you are able to focus resources at that particular point.
    So I have been a Federal prosecutor. I know how to deal with limited resources. I know that there are only certain cases you can investigate. But when you zero in, you finish the job, and you do it right, particularly whenever there are such serious allegations. So I know some of you weren't even around then, but this is very, very disturbing whenever you see so many people who are seeking visas and the fairness of that process, particularly whenever you are dealing with our American citizens that are administrating that process.
 Page 70       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Now, Ms. Bridgers, you indicated in your testimony that you submitted to the Department of Justice an advance copy of your testimony in which they objected to the testimony because, under their impression of Judge Johnson's decision, it violated rule 6(e). Is that something you always do, is submit your testimony before a committee of the Department of Justice?
    Ms. WILLIAMS-BRIDGERS. No, it's not routine, but in this case, because it was a joint investigation, we thought it prudent to share our testimony with our partners.
    Mr. HUTCHINSON. So it was not required?
    Ms. WILLIAMS-BRIDGERS. It's not required, but actually, under the IG community standards of conducting our work, it is prudent that we share our testimony with all parties that might be affected by public disclosure.
    Mr. HUTCHINSON. Well, whenever they objected, did you consider going to Judge Johnson or asking the Department of Justice to go to Judge Johnson to get a release from 6(e)?
    Ms. WILLIAMS-BRIDGERS. In fact, we do intend to pursue further clarification of the interpretation by the Department of Justice, but time certainly did not permit it for this hearing, given that my conversation with Justice attorneys was at 12 noon yesterday.
    Mr. HUTCHINSON. So it is your intention to pursue a release from 6(e) so that you can provide your testimony to us?
    Ms. WILLIAMS-BRIDGERS. It's my intention to pursue clarification of the interpretation of the Chief Judge's opinion.
    Mr. HUTCHINSON. How are you going to do that?
    Ms. WILLIAMS-BRIDGERS. I will be working with my counsel and the Department of Justice and the Chief Judge to pursue an appropriate course of action.
 Page 71       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Mr. HUTCHINSON. Well, let me just say that I think that is an extraordinarily broad interpretation of rule 6(e). That is not appropriate, that is not the intent of rule 6(e), and I think that whenever you are looking at testimony that would be totally appropriate before this body, I think it should be re-examined.
    I think that you can re-examine the opinion. I think you can testify without any problem of violating rule 6(e). But, second, if you did reach that conclusion, you need to go back to Judge Johnson and get a release from it because that is an extraordinary implementation of rule 6(e) that hampers our legitimate work that we are doing.
    Now, I want to understand, your agency, OIG, you have administration subpoena power, do you not?
    Ms. WILLIAMS-BRIDGERS. Yes, we do, sir, via an IG subpoena.
    Mr. HUTCHINSON. And so you don't have to go to a Federal grand jury in order to issue a subpoena.
    Ms. WILLIAMS-BRIDGERS. That is correct, but in this instance, since the Department of Justice was the lead, we were following their instruction and guidance, and it was being conducted under the Campaign Contribution Task Force. We adhered to their guidance in this case. And, in fact, sir, I might add that none of the information that our agents collected was pursuant to grand jury subpoenas. None of the interviews that my agents conducted alone were conducted under grand jury subpoena.
    Mr. HUTCHINSON. You have a responsibility here, and you know, if you are going to share your work and decisionmaking with another agency you are, in essence, giving over to the Department of Justice all control that you have. And whenever you are dealing with a State Department employee that needs to be investigated—you know, this is troublesome to me. And, you know, I respect in many areas the Department of Justice, the work that they are doing, but I think they are flat wrong on some things, and in this case it doesn't look good.
 Page 72       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Now, you have got independent subpoena power, and all the subpoenas you issued were not issued pursuant to a grand jury subpoena. It looks to me like you should have severed that investigation so it wouldn't hamper you and you can go ahead and pursue it.
    Now, when did you become aware of the allegations of Johnny Chung?
    Ms. WILLIAMS-BRIDGERS. The allegations that we first became aware of concerned Mr. Parish, and those allegations were brought to our attention by the inspectors in the Office of Inspector General that were conducting a routine management inspection in the fall of 1997.
    Mr. HUTCHINSON. Fall of 1997 you became aware of Johnny Chung's allegation in reference to Mr. Parish?
    Ms. WILLIAMS-BRIDGERS. No, sir. We became aware of the allegations concerning Mr. Parish. The allegations concerning Mr. Chung were part of the larger investigation that I am not in a position to speak about.
    Mr. HUTCHINSON. Well, is there any reason you cannot at this particular point in time conduct an independent IG investigation of the allegations that have been made against Mr. Parish?
    Ms. WILLIAMS-BRIDGERS. We have conducted such an investigation.
    Mr. HUTCHINSON. And you have determined there is not any evidence of criminal wrongdoing?
    Ms. WILLIAMS-BRIDGERS. We closed our case because we found there was no evidence of wrongdoing as alleged.
    Mr. HUTCHINSON. And that includes the allegations of Mr. Chung?
    Ms. WILLIAMS-BRIDGERS. We did not investigate allegations against Mr. Chung.
    Mr. HUTCHINSON. I am not saying against Mr. Chung, the allegations that Mr. Chung made in reference to Mr. Parish.
 Page 73       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Ms. WILLIAMS-BRIDGERS. I cannot speak about the specific allegations that we investigated. I cannot provide you the details on the specific allegations that we investigated because that is what could be protected by rule 6(e).
    Mr. HUTCHINSON. Let me make it clear that I don't want to prejudge any case, and I am not here to say that Mr. Parish committed any criminal acts. I wouldn't want to do that. I think everybody is entitled to a fair investigation.
    But I did sit here and hear the testimony of Mr. Chung; and, as a former Federal prosecutor, I believe there is credible evidence of wrongdoing that has to be investigated. And, you know, for you to shut down an investigation and say there is not any sufficient evidence of wrongdoing that needs to be pursued, particularly even in an administrative standpoint, is amazing to me.
    Now, if you eliminate the criminal wrongdoing, though, and just look at it from an administrative standpoint—because the IG has that responsibility as well, do you not?
    Ms. WILLIAMS-BRIDGERS. That's correct, sir.
    Mr. HUTCHINSON. And so you made the determination there is not any criminal wrongdoing. Have you made a determination there is not any basis for administrative action?
    Ms. WILLIAMS-BRIDGERS. There was no basis for us to pursue an administrative investigation against Mr. Parish because he retired within 4 months of the start of our investigation.
    Mr. HUTCHINSON. Which again makes no sense to me. This is something of public interest, it is a matter of integrity, it is a matter of all the other employees that work for the Department of State, and I think that, whether he is retired or not, you have a responsibility to get to the bottom of them and make a determination.
    Ms. WILLIAMS-BRIDGERS. There is no avenue for us to provide a referral to the Department for them to take administrative action once a person terminates their employment from the Department of State. The only reason that we could pursue any allegations of wrongdoing against Mr. Parish is if they were criminal in nature.
 Page 74       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Mr. HUTCHINSON. Well, that is an easy way out then.
    OK. My time has expired.
    Mr. BURTON. If you want more time for questioning, we will get back to you in just a minute.
    You didn't investigate—you can't tell whether you investigated any of the allegations made by Mr. Chung.
    Ms. WILLIAMS-BRIDGERS. That's correct, sir.
    Mr. BURTON. And you can't tell us whether or not you investigated COFCO paying for all of his expenses when he came back to the United States with those two ladies?
    Ms. WILLIAMS-BRIDGERS. That's correct.
    Mr. BURTON. You can't even tell us if you looked into that?
    Ms. WILLIAMS-BRIDGERS. I cannot.
    Mr. BURTON. God, I hope everybody in the country is watching this. You have got the Congress of the United States trying to find out if somebody was giving visas to people who may have been involved in illegal campaign contributions or worse, and you can't tell the Congress of the United States anything about it, not because of grand jury material—because this wasn't done by a grand jury, was it? None of this—these were all your subpoenas and your investigation?
    Ms. WILLIAMS-BRIDGERS. We did not issue any subpoenas in this instance, but, under Justice's interpretation, the information that we collected——
    Mr. BURTON. I know, but the point is that there really was no grand jury involved.
    Ms. WILLIAMS-BRIDGERS. There were grand jury subpoenas—excuse me. There was a grand jury impaneled under the campaign task force; and, therefore, that reaches into all information collected in the course of this joint investigation.
 Page 75       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Mr. BURTON. But the investigation that you conducted had nothing to do with that grand jury.
    Ms. WILLIAMS-BRIDGERS. The interviews conducted by our agents in our investigation were not subject to grand jury subpoena, that's correct.
    Mr. BURTON. And so when you contacted the grand jury or when you contacted the Justice Department, you expanded, actually, those that were involved in your investigation because you really didn't have to contact the Justice Department, did you?
    Mr. BURTON. You did? Why did you have to contact the Justice Department?
    Ms. WILLIAMS-BRIDGERS. We are obliged by law to make early consultation and coordination with the Department of Justice whenever we are investigating allegations of criminal wrongdoing, and we do that routinely on every case.
    Mr. BURTON. And so, once you did that, then Justice said, well, this falls under the broad interpretation of 6(e)?
    Ms. WILLIAMS-BRIDGERS. No. Once we did—once we did that, it fell within the Campaign Contribution Task Force, and then later, during the course of the investigation by FBI, a grand jury was impaneled.
    Mr. BURTON. If the case were closed by Justice, the part of your investigation that had nothing to do with the grand jury, we could have?
    Ms. WILLIAMS-BRIDGERS. I wish that were the case, but the FBI case is closed. Our case is closed and—and was closed as of February 1999, and the Justice Department told me yesterday that they still considered information that we collected as being potentially subject to 6(e).
    Mr. BURTON. I think that we need to write a letter to Judge Johnson asking for a clarification of her interpretation of 6(e), because the Justice Department has made this so broad that they can obstruct anything Congress does. There is absolutely nothing we can do if Janet Reno says it is covered by grand jury or by 6(e). I mean, we have got to get an interpretation out of the judge some way to make sure that we have access. We have had 121 people take the fifth amendment or flee the country, Congress is impotent, we are impotent right now to do our job, and we represent the people of the United States. This has never been done in the history of the country that I know of.
 Page 76       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Let me ask you a question. This is to Ms. Cohen. When Mr. Parish was sent back to Washington, as your staff has stated, he was under criminal investigation, correct?
    Ms. COHEN. Yes.
    Mr. BURTON. Yet he was immediately put into a very sensitive position involving visas for Iran and Iraq. Why?
    Ms. COHEN. I really would like to have the opportunity to clarify that, because I think specific knowledge of what he was doing would help you understand the procedure that is followed when someone is brought back. So I would like Mary Ryan to answer that question since he was in her section.
    Ms. RYAN. In the first place, I should say that the Bureau of Consular Affairs was not aware that he was under investigation for criminal activities. He had a full security clearance when he came to us.
    Mr. BURTON. Excuse me for interrupting. A man is coming back from a post in China, he is under criminal investigation, and you didn't know about it, and therefore, he was put in this position?
    Ms. RYAN. He had a—he had a full security clearance.
    Mr. BURTON. Why were you not informed that he was under criminal investigation?
    Ms. RYAN. I believe it was to protect his rights.
    Mr. BURTON. And so because you were protecting his rights or his rights were being protected, he was put into another position regarding visas for Iran and Iraq in the office in Washington?
    Ms. RYAN. He was put into the visa office. We had a congressional mandate to—we had to request—all of our posts overseas had to request advisory opinions of the visa office on every Iranian male over the age of 18.
 Page 77       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Mr. BURTON. And he was making these advisory opinion decisions?
    Ms. RYAN. He was canvassing the community who had an interest in these cases and answering the post. He had no direct involvement with the visa applicant. He had no—he had no way of doing—he had no discretion.
    Mr. BURTON. Let me just followup on that. If he was canvassing people, what was he doing when he was canvassing people?
    Ms. RYAN. He was asking the FBI, he was asking other agencies if they had any derogatory information on the man whose name was in the cable. The community would come back and say yes or no, and then he would answer the post and say we have derogatory information or we do not have derogatory information.
    All the incoming cables went to all the agencies, and all of the responses went to all of the agencies, so it was totally transparent. Mr. Parish had no control whatsoever. He had no way of doing anything wrong, of giving an opinion that was not the opinion of the community.
    Mr. BURTON. It just seems incredible to me that a man that is under criminal investigation is put in a position where he is perusing and checking with other agencies about criminal wrongdoing or possible criminal wrongdoing of people who are applying for visas and then giving a recommendation on that. It just boggles my mind.
    Ms. RYAN. He wasn't giving a recommendation, Mr. Chairman. He was giving—he was giving the answer from the communities, the various agencies who had an interest in these cases, but he was not giving a recommendation.
    Mr. BURTON. He was compiling the information.
    Ms. RYAN. He was compiling the information from the agencies and telling the post what those agencies said.
    Mr. BURTON. Whether or not these people may have been involved in some nefarious activity?
 Page 78       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Ms. RYAN. That's right. Based on information that he got from those agencies.
    Mr. BURTON. And he was under criminal investigation, and you didn't know about it?
    Ms. RYAN. I did not know he was under criminal investigation.
    Mr. BURTON. I am going to yield to my counsel now. I don't think there is going to be any objection.
    Mr. WILSON. I apologize, I did not catch your name at the beginning.
    Ms. RYAN. Ryan.
    Mr. WILSON. Ms. Ryan, if I could just followup on that, you mentioned that there was no way that Mr. Parish could do anything wrong in the post that he was assigned once he came back to Washington. Did he have a security clearance?
    Ms. RYAN. He had a full security clearance.
    Mr. WILSON. OK. Is it not possible that he could have done something wrong by misusing government information?
    Ms. RYAN. That's total speculation. I would not be able to speculate on that.
    Mr. WILSON. My concern following up on that is you mentioned there was no way he could do anything wrong.
    Ms. RYAN. There was no way he could do anything wrong in responding to those inquiries that came from the field on Iranian visa cases.
    Mr. WILSON. But he had come back under a cloud of other ethical matters involving taking gratuities or bribes for visas. Would it not be possible that there could be some possibility of doing something wrong?
 Page 79       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Ms. RYAN. It's too hypothetical for me, sir. I can't answer you.
    Mr. WILSON. I'd like to followup on one thing.
    If we could take a document, CP–1, please, and put that up on the screen, and if everybody could take a look at that in their documents. It's a document from a fundraiser held here in the United States. It's the very first document in the package. And if you look down in the second column of names, the bottom three names are Mr. Charles Parish, Ms. Fan Zhang, and Ms. Diana Douglas. And my question here is, we have been told that Mr. Parish attended a fundraiser that cost $1,000 per person. He took his girlfriend and his sister to the fundraiser, and Diana Douglas is the sister. Mr. Johnny Chung apparently paid the $1,000 admission fee for this fundraiser.
    The question simply is this, are you all, and I will go down the line here, are you all aware of this document?
    Mr. Schurman.
    Mr. SCHURMAN. No, I am not.
    Mr. WILSON. Mr. Bergin.
    Mr. BERGIN. This is the first time I have seen it, sir.
    Mr. WILSON. Ms. Cohen.
    Ms. COHEN. No.
    Mr. WILSON. Ms. Ryan.
    Ms. RYAN. No. First time I have seen it, too.
    Mr. WILSON. OK. Now, Ms. Williams-Bridgers, I would like to ask you the question. You mentioned that you had closed your investigation because you had found that nobody did anything wrong or that you were unable to find anything wrong. The simple question here would be, would it be acceptable to take a $1,000 gratuity to attend a fundraiser?
 Page 80       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Ms. WILLIAMS-BRIDGERS. Responding in generic terms, there is certainly consular guidance which suggests that there's impropriety in accepting gifts in excess of certain amounts from those who are potential visa applicants or with whom you are doing business.
    Mr. WILSON. OK. Now are you aware of whether Mr. Parish did or did not provide a visa for Fan Zhang?
    Ms. WILLIAMS-BRIDGERS. I can't answer that, given the grand jury protection.
    Mr. WILSON. You can't answer it?
    Ms. WILLIAMS-BRIDGERS. I can't answer.
    Mr. WILSON. You can't answer it, but you're not telling me that you're not aware or you are aware?
    Ms. WILLIAMS-BRIDGERS. I am not telling you that I am not aware.
    Mr. WILSON. OK. Now, just speaking about this very generically as we are right here, would it be a matter of impropriety, a statutory violation if there was acceptance of a $1,000 gratuity in this particular case?
    Ms. WILLIAMS-BRIDGERS. I'm not certain that there would be a statutory violation. It would be a consideration of impropriety.
    Mr. WILSON. OK. Now this is something that—and I will ask you this question—was or was it not taken into account in the closing out of your investigation?
    Ms. WILLIAMS-BRIDGERS. I can't answer whether or not this information was taken into account.
    Mr. WILSON. OK. Turning to the question of whether the gratuity was provided for people who were associated with Mr. Parish, was that something that was considered by you in determining whether there was an impropriety or not?
 Page 81       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Ms. WILLIAMS-BRIDGERS. I cannot answer that question.
    Mr. WILSON. OK. Turning to another matter, the issue of reporting contacts with Chinese citizens by Embassy officials, are you aware of whether Mr. Parish did or did not report this particular attendance at the fundraiser to Embassy officials?
    Ms. WILLIAMS-BRIDGERS. I can't answer that question.
    Mr. WILSON. Simply because you're not able to due to 6(e)?
    Ms. WILLIAMS-BRIDGERS. Because of the 6(e) protection, that's correct.
    Mr. WILSON. Let us just ask somebody else.
    Mr. Bergin, are you aware of whether the fact of the attendance was even reported to Embassy personnel in Beijing?
    Mr. BERGIN. I'm not aware, but I defer to Don Schurman, the RSO.
    Mr. WILSON. OK. Mr. Schurman, are you aware of even the fact of attendance at this expensive fundraiser?
    Mr. SCHURMAN. I don't recall this being reported.
    Mr. WILSON. OK. Turning to another subject, when Mr. Parish returned to Washington, DC, and assumed the position that he was given, it's our understanding from personnel records that he was given a series of raises; is that correct, Mr. Schurman?
    Mr. SCHURMAN. I left Beijing in October 1997 so——
    Mr. WILSON. Maybe Mr. Gnehm—and I thank you very much for coming back to the table. Perhaps you're aware of whether Mr. Parish was given raises when he returned to Washington, DC.
    Mr. GNEHM. Sir, the year that he was serving in this job that you asked about earlier in CA, his performance file went before the promotion—Annual Promotion Board. That board did list him as a recipient for a step increase, called, in the system, meritorious step increase in salary, based on what was in his file at the time. I should tell you for the record, they're not under management control. The board is an independent board set up to make these decisions, and management has no authority over the decisions.
 Page 82       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Mr. WILSON. Are you aware of how many raises Mr. Parish received from the time he returned from Beijing until the time he retired from the Foreign Service?
    Mr. GNEHM. I'm aware of the one you asked me about. There may have been others, and I can check for you, but I wouldn't want to definitively say one way or the other.
    Mr. WILSON. Thank you for that.
    Mr. Bergin, I just wanted to ask you a question. You mentioned in your statement a little while ago that when you served in India you describe what appeared to be a sting operation involving somebody about whom there were allegations of impropriety. Was that ever considered as an option for Mr. Parish?
    Mr. BERGIN. In conducting a visa fraud case, there are several steps.
    First, you have to determine what is the credibility of the source? Is what the source is providing you valid? Is it something that's detailed, that's specific, that's precise, that would lead to us launching a full-blown investigation?
    Then you have to determine to whom were the visas issued and can you identify those people? Because what you want to do in these cases is to be able to establish a relationship between the person who was given the visa——
    Mr. WILSON. If I could just interrupt you there, are you telling us now that the visas issued in India were of greater sensitivity or consequence than the visas issued in China?
    Mr. BERGIN. Not at all. Not at all.
    Mr. WILSON. Then there's a difficulty there.
    Mr. BERGIN. What I'm giving you is a generic sense of how you conduct these investigations; and in the case in India, we had very specific, very precise information. The consular officer volunteered to us, as soon as it happened, the information that he was being bribed.
 Page 83       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    In the case of Mr. Parish, there was a lot of information swirling around about improprieties, apparent improprieties, and the agents, when they were conducting this investigation, were not able to determine whether there was criminal substance to this swirling wave of allegations.
    Mr. WILSON. Well, I think our concern, Mr. Bergin, is that when we have looked at the investigations, each sort of piece of each investigation looked at one piece of the puzzle, and when we scratched beneath the surface, we found many more issues that were easily obtained.
    For example, allegations by the colleagues of Mr. Parish in this case, who were talking about the trading of visas that followed from personal relationships with women, acceptance of gratuities, and there were indeed gratuities that were easily obtained from his office. So there were certainly things that went beyond rank speculation.
    Mr. BERGIN. I think that's fair, counsel. I would only remind the counsel of my statement earlier that this was not a model investigation; and, in retrospect, 20/20 hindsight, those consular officers should have been interviewed.
    Mr. WILSON. I just wanted to followup on one other thing. In terms of Mr. Parish's tenure in Beijing, I think we have already learned that he had high security clearances during the entire time he was in Beijing. Are you aware of whether Mr. Parish was at the time receiving classified documents from the Department of Justice and the FBI about ongoing criminal investigations, Mr. Schurman?
    Mr. SCHURMAN. I was not involved with that part of the consular operation.
    Mr. WILSON. Well, now we can't get into the documents because they are classified, but these are documents that have been turned over from his own office. So did you review documents obtained from Mr. Parish's office that were classified investigatory documents from the Department of Justice?
 Page 84       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Mr. SCHURMAN. Mr. Parish's office was a common area, and so classified documents would not be kept in that area. I did not find any classified documents in his office space.
    Mr. WILSON. Having just reviewed a number of them and gone through a number of issues with the Department of State over documents that were provided to us—in fact, they were provided to us in an open way, and we brought it to the Department of State's attention that they should have been classified. They had just been turned over to us in a box.
    Mr. BURTON. Let me just interrupt here. Mr. Schurman, you said you looked at all these documents. Now, the documents that he is referring to were given to us by the Department of State, and in that box of documents were classified documents, and you just said there were no classified documents. So are you telling me that you looked at all the documents and you didn't see those classified documents? They were there. We got them.
    Mr. SCHURMAN. I am not sure that the documents in that box all came from that office. But I will say that when I was going through the——
    Mr. BURTON. The State Department said they did. The State Department sent us those documents.
    Mr. WILSON. Perhaps if we could follow with Ms. Williams-Bridgers, I will ask the same question of you. Were you aware that Mr. Parish was privy to classified documents from the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation?
    Ms. WILLIAMS-BRIDGERS. I can say that, in the course of Mr. Parish's business, he more than likely came in contact with classified documents; and I do believe that the documents that you're referring to were part of our collection of all documents from his office. They were included in the submission of documents that we provided to the committee.
    Mr. WILSON. So they would have been in the universe of documents that Mr. Schurman had access to when he had done his investigation?
 Page 85       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Ms. WILLIAMS-BRIDGERS. That's my understanding, yes.
    Mr. WILSON. Actually, just one more point of clarification for Ms. Williams-Bridgers. As far as your negotiations with the Department of Justice go, with whom were you dealing over at the Department of Justice to come to the 6(e) determination that you arrived at?
    Ms. WILLIAMS-BRIDGERS. I was dealing with attorneys out of the Attorney General's office.
    But I should also add that I, too, am terribly concerned about the interpretation—the expansive interpretation the Department of Justice has given. It has implications not just for this case but for any other case in which grand jury subpoenas have been issued in the District of Columbia. And because we have just become aware of the expansive nature of this opinion, it has implications for how we have handled documents in the past related to other investigations. So I do intend to seek some additional clarification from the Office of Legal Counsel of the Department of Justice and, potentially, the Chief Judge.
    Mr. WILSON. Thank you for that answer. If you could—just for the record's sake, if you could provide the names of the people you were working with at DOJ.
    Ms. WILLIAMS-BRIDGERS. Yes, I can.
    Mr. WILSON. If you could right now, that would be helpful.
    Ms. WILLIAMS-BRIDGERS. I can provide it for the record.
    Mr. WILSON. OK. Do you know them now? Are you able to tell us right now what they are?
    Ms. WILLIAMS-BRIDGERS. I can't recall the last names of the individuals, I am sorry.
    Mr. WILSON. OK. Fair enough.
    Mr. BURTON. Does anyone with you have their name?
 Page 86       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Ms. WILLIAMS-BRIDGERS. Craig Iscoe is the chief attorney that we dealt with.
    Mr. BURTON. OK. Let me end up by saying this.
    First of all, I am disappointed, Mr. Schurman, because you told us under oath that you looked at—did a cursory look at all these documents and there were no classified documents. Ms. Williams-Bridgers said that the documents that were turned over to us in the box came from his office. So you didn't look at all of them; and, if you did, you didn't look very well. And then all those documents were turned over to somebody else, and ultimately they were destroyed, and it was an ongoing investigation. This thing was botched, and it is just unbelievable.
    I would just like to say to the State Department people, who in the future will be in charge of these investigations, for goodness sake, if there is an ongoing investigation and you lock up an office, don't burn up or destroy anything until the investigation is concluded. The Justice Department says this thing is still open, and a lot of the documents that might be relevant are gone, and Parish had classified documents in his office.
    Now, the reason this is important, and you may think we have been unduly critical today, but the reason this is important is people were coming into this country that may have been involved in espionage, that may have gotten visas illegally, and the espionage that took place endangered every man, woman, and child in this country. They got nuclear secrets from Los Alamos and other nuclear laboratories, and we don't know what kind of connection there might have been. So a sloppy job could have led to all kinds of problems.
    In addition to that, Johnny Chung was a main player in the conduit contributions that were coming in that affected the 1996 Presidential election; and he has stated that Mr. Ji, the head of the Chinese military intelligence, gave him $300,000, along with other contributions that came in from Communist China, to affect our elections in this country. And if visas that were requested by Johnny Chung from Mr. Parish were bringing people in who were affecting our elections by giving illegal campaign contributions, then that is criminal, and to do a sloppy job on investigating Mr. Parish, who may have been involved in doing all this, is just unconscionable.
 Page 87       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    And I just tell you, I am really frustrated by this, because none of this should have happened. If you need more money, we will try to get it for you, if you need more personnel. We are not talking about Ireland. We are not talking about England. We are not talking about South America. We are talking about the biggest country in the world population-wise that is one of our potential major adversaries down the way, and they were getting illegal visas from a person who was involved in some nefarious activities, Mr. Chung, who is helping get those visas, at least that is what he said, and it is just unfortunate.
    Ms. WILLIAMS-BRIDGERS. Mr. Chairman, may I just interject please and add one point of possible clarification?
    For the documents that we received, the classified documents that we received, it is conceivable that they could have come from Diplomatic Security and not from—not necessarily from Mr. Parish's office. Because in our attempt to collect any and all documentation, we asked for all the contents from Mr. Parish's office as well as all DS investigative files and any other information that Mr. Parish may have had in his possession.
    Mr. BURTON. Well, where would it have come from if it didn't come from his office?
    Ms. WILLIAMS-BRIDGERS. Conceivably, it could have come from elsewhere outside of Mr. Parish's office at the Embassy or from Washington from the DS files. We asked for the collection of documents from DS. All of the contents of Mr. Parish's office in Embassy Beijing were sent first to DS in Washington, and then DS transmitted that information to us. So it is possible that classified information did not come from Mr. Parish's office.
    Mr. BURTON. It is possible?
    Mr. BURTON. But you don't know that?
    Mr. SCHURMAN. I did have classified files in Beijing, as well as the unclassified files, and I assume that when they asked for the files relating to Charles Parish in Beijing they give them both, both the materials that were out of my safe and the materials that were stored in a closet.
 Page 88       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Mr. BURTON. So you had stuff in your safe relating to Charles Parish and classified material?
    Mr. SCHURMAN. The official file was in the safe.
    Mr. BURTON. And it had classified material in it?
    Mr. SCHURMAN. That's correct.
    Mr. WILSON. Relating to Charles Parish and some of the things he was doing?
    Mr. SCHURMAN. That's correct.
    Ms. COHEN. Mr. Chairman, if we're concluding, could I say a few things?
    Mr. BURTON. Sure.
    Ms. COHEN. Thank you very much. You did allude to the fact that it's difficult to come up here to testify, but I think nonetheless it's important. We recognize that this committee is performing an important function, and it does help to have us review what we have done to find weaknesses in what we've done and improve. We have tried to do that, and we will continue to try to do that.
    I want to correct, I think, two impressions that we might have left. The first concerns our limited resources. I never meant to imply, and I don't think I did imply, that limited resources ever justify not doing a very thorough job in an investigation, and I think we would all agree here that procedures needed to be tightened. We're in the process of tightening them. We need additional resources, but when we find a problem, we are prepared to direct resources to deal with it.
    The final point I'd like the make is as to whether or not we're all outraged. Again, I have only been there 2 years but in those 2 years, I have not found an instance where people have been accused of something that their fellow workers and the people who are investigating it and really everyone who knows about it are not outraged. It would be the same thing as if someone were investigating a Congressman or a member of somebody's staff. It casts aspersions on everyone, and it's been my impression that the State Department is outraged when one of their fellow workers is involved in something like this, and the Department does its best to clean it up and improve it.
 Page 89       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Mr. BURTON. Well, let me conclude by saying I appreciate you all being here and that we in the Congress believe that 99.9 percent of the people who serve this country at home and abroad do an outstanding job. It is that one-tenth of 1 percent that we are talking about, and in this particular case, it was in a very sensitive area, in China, and it is really unfortunate that happened.
    I would just urge you, though, in the future if there is an ongoing criminal investigation of anybody, if you need to store the documents and you can't find a place for them, call me. We will find a place to store the documents. Don't destroy documents or anything that is potential evidence until the case is closed.
    And, with that, I want to thank you for being here. We stand adjourned.
    [Whereupon, at 1:45 p.m., the committee was adjourned.]
    [The two majority staff reports and exhibits referred to follow:]
    [The official committee record contains additional material here.]