Judicial Watch Sues Office of the Director of National Intelligence over Adviser’s Controversial China Ties
MAY 15, 2014
(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch announced today that on April 24, 2014, it filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) to obtain records regarding the activities of Theodore H. Moran (Judicial Watch v Office of the Director of National Intelligence (No. 1:14-cv-00719)). Moran served as a top ODNI advisor while also working as a paid consultant to Huawei Technologies Ltd., a Chinese company cited by the House Intelligence Committee as a potential espionage threat. Moran was a member of the National Intelligence Council (NIC) before resigning from both positions in December 2013.
The FOIA request was filed December 18, 2013, seeking the following:
- All Notifications of Personnel Action (SF-50’s), financial disclosure forms, conflict of interest forms, and expense reports for former ODNI and National Intelligence Council advisor Theodore Moran from January 1, 2007, to the present.
- All memoranda and reports produced by Theodore Moran in connection with his role as an advisor to ODNI or the National Intelligence Council from January 1, 2007, to the present.
In his role as an advisor to intelligence director James Clapper and one of 18 members of the NIC, Moran provided intelligence agencies with judgments on key international issues, including foreign investments in the U.S. Moran submitted his resignation after Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA) complained to Clapper that Moran’s work with Huawei “compromises his ability to advise your office.” Moran claims to have disclosed to NIC in 2010 his relationship with Huawei Technology.
Wolf’s concerns were bolstered by an October 2012 House Intelligence Committee report citing the relationship between Huawei and the Chinese government as potentially providing the opportunity for “economic and foreign espionage by a foreign nation-state already known to be a major perpetrator of cyber espionage.” The Committee report concluded, “Based on available classified and unclassified information, Huawei and ZTE [a second Chinese technology company] cannot be trusted to be free of foreign state influence and thus pose a security threat to the United States and to our systems.”
According to an Associated Press story at the time of Moran’s resignation in May 2013, Moran authored a policy paper distributed by Huawei Technologies arguing that “targeting one or two companies on the basis of their national origins does nothing for U.S. security in a world of global supply chains.” Moran also criticized what he termed “a policy of discrimination and distortion that discourages valuable inward investment from overseas, while providing a precedent for highly damaging copycat practices in other countries.” Moran told AP that he was “totally transparent.”
“Once again, we’ve had to sue the Obama administration to get basic information about a pressing national security issue,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “We want basic documents to evaluate any conflicts of interest at the heart of our nation’s intelligence establishment – the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.”