Congressional leaders are challenging a U.S. Attorney's denial that the Justice Department shut down a federal espionage investigation involving the illegal transfer of U.S. space defense weapons technology to foreign countries, including China, The Washington Examiner has learned.
Melinda Haag, the U.S. Attorney for Northern California, also denied that she had ever requested authority to prosecute anybody as a result of the espionage investigation.
But Sen. Charles Grassley, R-IA, and Representatives Lamar Smith, R-TX, and Frank Wolf, R-VA, say Haag's denials don't square with evidence they've reviewed and they wonder if Justice Department or White House officials interfered with a potentially explosive espionage investigation or if "politics played a role in the prosecutorial decisions made in this case."
"Your statement conflicts factually with information we received from federal law enforcement," Wolf, Smith and Grassley said in letters sent today to Haag and Assistant U.S. Attorney General Lisa O. Monaco questioning the abrupt end to an FBI national security investigation and grand jury probe.
At the center of the controversy is cancellation of a national security probe once led by Assistant U.S. Attorney Gary Fry. Frustrating attempts by foreign powers to steal U.S. space weapons technology have long been priorities for the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security and NASA's Inspector General.
The technology reportedly involves U.S. weapons capable of operating from space to defend the United States against international ballistic missile attacks.
Grassley, Smith and Wolf believe Fry was looking into charges of the unauthorized transfer of the military's space weapons technology to foreign nationals working at NASA's Ames Research Center near San Francisco.
In a Feb. 8 letter obtained by The Washington Examiner, Wolf and Smith first publicly charged something was amiss with the investigation in letters to FBI Director Robert Mueller and to the Justice Department's Inspector General.