Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Ex-FBI Officials: Obama Judge Harming Nat’l Security

'There is a serious risk that [Chen] was involved in making information about U.S. military members available to the CCP, and disclosing the identity of Ms. Herridge’s source(s) to Plaintiff would entail a further national security risk...'

(Ken Silva, Headline USA) Former Fox News reporter Catherine Herridge faces contempt of court charges from Obama-appointed DC District Judge Christopher Cooper for refusing to divulge the identity of a source who fed her information on a Defense Department contractor who has ties to the Chinese Communist Party.

However, two prominent national security officials have warned that Cooper’s actions could threaten national security. Those officials—former National Counterintelligence and Security Center Director William Evanina and the former head of the FBI’s China office, Holden Triplett—have both given sworn declarations in support of Herridge.

The decision of Evanina and Triplett to support Herridge stems from last August, when Judge Cooper ordered Herridge to be deposed about her confidential source. The source had provided confidential information in 2017 about Chinese national Yanping Chen and her U.S.-based University of Management and Technology, which did business with the Pentagon and trained military servicemembers.

Herridge reported in 2017 that Chen and UMT had been under an FBI counterintelligence investigation for their alleged ties to the Chinese Communist Party. The investigation ran from 2010 to 2016, when the Justice Department informed Chen it wouldn’t be filing any charges against her.

After Herridge, who now works for CBS, published her investigation for Fox, Chen sued the FBI, DOD and two other federal agencies for leaking her private affairs that the FBI had collected or generated in the course of its investigation—including photos of her in a People’s Liberation Army uniform.

Following Judge Cooper’s ruling last August, Herridge declined to be deposed—leading the judge to threaten her with contempt charges on Nov. 14. Cooper ordered her to explain why she shouldn’t be held in contempt.

On Jan. 4, Herridge filed her response, arguing that Judge Cooper’s actions risk having a chilling effect on investigative journalism.

Herridge also urged Judge Cooper to consider the national security implications of her reporting on Chen. To support her arguments, she provided sworn declarations of national security officials Evanin and Triplett.

“As they explain, based on their review of record materials, there is a serious risk that [Chen] was involved in making information about U.S. military members available to the CCP, and disclosing the identity of Ms. Herridge’s source(s) to Plaintiff would entail a further national security risk,” Herridge said.

The Reporter’s Committee for Freedom of the Press also seeks to file an amicus brief in support of Herridge. Judge Cooper hasn’t ruled on the group’s request, nor has he indicated when he’ll decide on holding Herridge in contempt.

Appointed by Barack Obama to the DC District Court in March 2014, Cooper has a long history with the Democratic establishment.

He previously served in Bill Clinton’s Justice Department in the mid-90s, and was a member of the Obama/Biden transition team in 2008. His wife, Amy Jeffress, worked as a national security counselor for Attorney General Eric Holder, and she represented disgraced anti-Trump FBI employee Lisa Page in 2018.

Moreover, Jeffress’s connection with the “Crossfire Hurricane” investigation raised questions of a possible conflict of interest when Cooper was the judge assigned to oversee then-special counsel John Durham’s case against former Hillary Clinton lawyer Michael Sussmann—a case that ultimately failed.

Suffice it to say, Cooper has strong ties to the DOJ, and may be sympathetic to trampling on the free press in the name of exposing DOJ and FBI leakers—such as Herridge’s source.

Ken Silva is a staff writer at Headline USA. Follow him at twitter.com/jd_cashless.

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