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BUSH INTEL CHIEF DOING INTEL FOR CNOOC

 

Posted 1:00 AM Eastern
by Investigative reporter, Jon C. Ryter
July 13, 2005
NewsWithViews.com


James C. Langdon, Jr., while serving as the chairman of the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Panel [PFIAP] lobbied Beijing-based Goldman Sachs executive William Wicker to help him secure a lobbying contract with China National Offshore Oil Company [CNOOC] for his law firm, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, LLP. Langdon, who also served as a top fundraiser for the Bush-Cheney Campaign in 2000 and 2004, is a long-time, close friend of Wicker. Wicker, who engineered the buyout of Unocal by CNOOC from rival Chevron (after a buyout agreement between Chevron and Unocal had been all but finalized) was president of Texaco when Chevron and Texaco merged to become the fourth largest oil producer in the world.

The involvement of Langdon in what can easily become Washington's newest Bush scandal underscores the world of quid pro quos inside the DC beltway, and raises the question once again of whether the laws concerning lobbying are being properly enforced, or if new laws are needed that criminalize profiteering from access to the hierarchy of any presidential administration. (Of course since a large percentage of the Congressman and Senator who are defeated for re-election—or make a career change upon retirement—sell their connections to lobbying firms who are in the business to profit from those connections, it is unlikely that Congress will enact legislation to ban the practice of selling access once they leave office).

What was not initially revealed when Langdon officially recused himself from dealing with matter related to CNOOC—either at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, LLP or at PFIAP—was the fact that Langdon met with CNOOC officials in China in February to personally lobby them for the contract that would retain his law firm to represent CNOOC before the federal boards—such as the Committee on Foreign Investment. The committee is a very secretive, 12-member board operated by the Department of the Treasury. Sitting on that board are both cabinet officials and high-ranking members of the Bush Administration. While Langdon is not a member of the CFI, when the CFI is reviewing nationals security issues, clearly input from the PFIAP is essential. It is doubtful that point—which requested a review of their proposed purchase by the CFI—escaped the Chinese government when they shook hands with Langdon in Beijing and hired his law firm.

When it was revealed that Langdon's law firm had been retained because of Langdon's lobbying Beijing, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, LLP spokesman Mark Palmer skirted the question of whether the head of the PFIAP flew to Beijing to help his law firm nail down the lobbying deal with communist China and then recused himself from CNOOC matters by simply saying that Langdon "...is not working on the deal." Actually, by that time, after 36-hours in Beijing and a firm handshake, the deal was done and Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, LLP—will still be using Langdon's prestige to represent CNOOC before the CFI even if Langdon recuses himself from speaking on behalf of CNOOC, or as the chief intelligence officer of the PFIAP concerning conflicts with national security issues related to China's proposed takeover of Unocal. This whole deal smells like rotten carp.

Langdon, as head of PFIAP, has one of the nation's highest security clearances and is privy to top secret information that is not even available to most members of Congress. His work for CNOOC must be viewed as a conflict of interest. His subsequent recusal from dealing with matters related to CNOOC is inconsequential—its akin to closing the barn door after the farm animals have escaped and are roaming free all over the countryside. Allowing Langdon to remain an active member of an international legal law firm like Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, LLP while serving as a top adviser to the President of the United States borders on insanity. That's like giving an alcoholic the key to a well-stocked liquor cabinet and taking his word that he won't take a drink.

The House Armed Services Committee headed by Congressman Duncan Hunter [R-CA] will hold hearings tomorrow, July 13, on the national security implications of the Langdon link to the CNOOC buyout of UNOCAL Curt Weldon [R-PA] told the media yesterday that he intends to get to the bottom of Langdon's involvement with CNOOC, adding that "...[u]nfortunately, corporate dollars often transcend national security." Langdon's connection to this growing scandal highlights the conflicts of interest that abound in Washington, DC, and the need for laws with teeth that protect the American people from the piranhas of industry who swim in the political seas of plenty, feasting on the taxpayers of the United States as they sacrifice the security of the nation in order to line their pockets.

One of the scheduled witnesses in tomorrow's Armed Services Committee will be Center for Security Policy chairman Frank J. Gaffney, Jr. Gaffney noted that what Langdon did is simply a reflection of "...just how extensive China's tentacles are in official Washington."

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But, it's important to remember that China got its toehold in Washington, DC long before George W. Bush came to town. If you recall, the People's Liberation Army financed both of the Clinton-Gore campaigns; and as early as 1983, was funneling money to liberal senatorial campaigns through then Sen. Alan Cranston [D-CA] who headed the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee in order to blunt Ronald Reagan's effectiveness in an attempt to defeat the popular president's re-election in November, 1984.

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The involvement of Langdon in what can easily become Washington's newest Bush scandal underscores the world of quid pro quos inside the DC beltway, and raises the question once again of whether the laws concerning lobbying are being properly enforced...