The Usual Suspects Pt 3: Dr. Stephen Bryen

Unlike the previous two Suspects, Richard Perle and Michael Ledeen, the average American has probably never heard of Stephen Bryen.  If they had, the average American would be scared shitless.

Bryen was executive director of JINSA after Michael Ledeen stepped down.  In 1981 he handed over the directorship to his wife and became a consultant for Richard Perle.  After Perle became Assistant Secretary of Defense, he named Bryen as deputy assistant secretary of defense in charge of regulating the transfer of US military technology to foreign countries.

Bryen, like Ledeen and Perle, was thought to be a spy for Israel.

Bryen had been overheard offering documents to Zvi Rafiah, an Israeli Embassy official who just happened to be the Mossad station Chief in Washington. Also present was the director of AIPAC.   While Bryen refused to be polygraphed, the witness agreed and passed the polygraph test.

The FBI also had testimony of a staff member of the Foreign Relations Committee who said she’d witnessed Bryen in his Senate office with Rafiah, discussing classified documents which were spread out on a table in front of an open safe.  FBI agents discovered that Bryen met at least two to three times a week with Rafiah.

Bryen’s fingerprints were found on classified documents he’d stating in writing to the FBI that he’d never had in his possession.  The same documents, which included a detailed analysis of Middle Eastern air defense and radar systems, he’d been accused of offering to Rafiah.  Documents that “could prove to be a major embarrassment to the US government.” One document was described in a Defense Intelligence Agency report as being “particularly damaging to the U.S. government.”

In April of 1979, Deputy Assistant Attorney General Robert Keuch recommended in writing that Bryen, then a staff member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, undergo a grand jury hearing to establish the basis for a prosecution for espionage. John Davitt, then chief of the Justice Department’s Internal Security Division, had concurred with this decision.

Bryen escaped prosecution because Philip Heymann, chief of Justice’s Criminal Division, chose to shut down the investigation.  Heymann was a former schoolmate and fellow U.S. Supreme Court clerk of Bryen’s attorney, Nathan Lewin.  Nathan Lewin was the attorney for Larry Franklin, who recently received a 12 year sentence for passing classified documents to Israeli agents at AIPAC.  Bryen’s boss, Clifford Case, and Richard Perle’s boss, Henry Jackson, also exerted strong pressure and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee refused to grant the Justice Department access to files which were key to the investigation.

Bryen was then asked to resign from his post.  Rafiah would go on to work as a consultant for Israeli defense industries.  His area of expertise was how to obtain U.S. Pentagon contracts.

Less than two years later Perle had placed Bryen in charge of military technology transfer to foreign countries.  Within six months, at Richard Perle’s insistence, Bryen received both Top Secret-SCI (sensitive compartmented information) and Top Secret-”NATO/COSMIC” clearances.

By 1988 Bryen had allegedly established a pipeline of classified US technology to Israel.  As two former DOD officials who wish to remain anonymous have stated, there were numerous instances where U.S. companies were denied licenses to export sensitive technology, only to learn later that Israeli companies subsequently exported similar (U.S.-derived) weapons and technology to the same foreign power, most notably China.  They claim that bypassing US security and getting classified technologies into Israel’s hands was “standard operating procedure” for Dr. Bryen.

For example, in early 1988, Israel was in need of “klystrons”, small microwave amplifiers critical in a missiles target acquisition system and one of the most advanced US military technologies of that time.  Their export was forbidden.  By this time, Bryen had founded and was in charge of the DOD’s Defense Technology Security Administration (DTSA), within Richard Perle’s internal security policy office.  DTSA controlled defense technology exports.

When Bryen sent Richard Levine, a navy tech transfer official, a standard form informing him of Bryen’s intent to transfer 4 klystrons to Israel, Levine flatly replied “No” and asked for a meeting of the ISA (International Security Affairs) and DSAA (Defense Security Assistance Agency), neither of whom had been consulted as would normally be done.  At the meeting, all the officials opposed the transfer.  Bryen stated that he’d ask the Israelis what they needed the klystrons for.  Later he informed all concerned that the Israelis had given an acceptable answer and that the klystrons had been released.

The China Commission

In its May 27, 1997 issue, Defense Week reported that,

the U.S. Office of Naval Intelligence reaffirmed that U.S.- derived technology from the cancelled [Israeli] Lavi fighter project is being used on China’s new F-10 fighter.

The following year, the Nov. 1, 1998 Jane’s Intelligence Review reported the transfer by Israel to China of the Phalcon airborne early warning and control system, the Python air-combat missile, and the F-10 fighter aircraft, containing “state-of-the-art U.S. electronics.”

In response to this, Clinton established the United Staes-China Economic and Security Review Commission, ie “The China Commission”, to

monitor, investigate, and report to the Congress on the national security implications of the bilateral trade and economic relationship between the United States and the Peoples Republic of China.  The Commission shall also take into account patterns of trade and transfers through third countries to the extent practicable.”

This was not the first time Israel had passed along sensitive material to a foreign nation at odds with the United States.  As Duncan Clarke says in Israel’s Unauthorized Arm’s Transfers,

Evidence shows that Israel has systematically circumvented U.S. restriction on the re-export of U.S. defense products, components and technical data.

In the Pollard spy scandal, Jonathon Pollard stole classified documents relating to the US Nuclear Deterrent relative to the USSR and sent them to Israel who in turn traded them to the Soviet Union in exchange for increased emigration quotas from the USSR to Israel.

An FBI agent is quoted as saying:

Pollard stole every worthwhile intelligence secret we had. We are still trying to recover from what he did. We have had to withdraw dozens of agents in place in the former Soviet Union, in the Middle East, South Africa and friendly nations like Britain, France and Germany. The American public just don’t know the full extent of what he did.

In 1992, the first Bush Administration was concerned about the transfer to China by Israel of U.S. Patriot missiles and/or technology.  In response they launched a broad inter-departmental investigation into the export of classified technology to China.  The Pentagon discovered that the export to Israel of advanced AIM-9M air-to-air missiles was being promoted from out of Paul Wolfowitz’s office.  Since Israel had already been caught selling AIM 9-L missiles to China, in violation of their agreement with the U.S., the Joint Chiefs of Staff intervened to cancel the deal.

The AIM 9-L, the Harpy anti-radar attack UAV, the TOW-2 anti-tank missile, the F-16, all found their way from the U.S. to Israel to China.

In April 2001, at the urging of Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz,  Bryen was appointed a member of the China Commission by Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert. In August 2004, his appointment was extended through December of 2005.

One former senior FBI counter-intelligence officials reaction to his appointment was:

My God, that must mean he has a ‘Q‘ clearance!

A Q clearance is required to gain access to nuclear technology.


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