- The Washington Times - Friday, July 7, 2000

Hillary's Navy

First lady Hillary Rodham Clinton made the most of the U.S. Navy during July 4 celebrations in New York City. She boarded two warships, including the carrier USS John F. Kennedy, posing for lots of photographs that can't help but aid her run for a U.S. Senate seat from New York.

It turns out there are strict Defense Department regulations that prohibit political candidates from using military installations as a campaign stop. The regulations rule out any statements, press conferences or photographs.

But Mrs. Clinton was able to take advantage of the great photo-op, while apparently not breaking the rules. The regulations have a loophole. If the candidate is an invited guest at an official event, the person may appear in news photographs as long as he or she remains silent. In this case, we can't find any evidence that Mrs. Clinton spoke publicly.

"I was there aboard the ship and the first lady uttered not one peep in a public forum," said a Navy officer on the Kennedy.

The regulations require commanders to tell invited candidates to remain silent.

"In all cases, commanders will inform candidates that while on a military installation, all political activities and media events are prohibited," the policy states.

The guidance states that if the commander is challenged, he should reply, "Department of Defense policy has for many years prohibited the use of military installations for any activity that could be construed as political in nature, including news media coverage of any portion of a political candidate's activities while on a military installation regardless of the purpose of the visit."

Mrs. Clinton has not always been as hospitable to the Navy as it was to her Tuesday. She aligned herself with Puerto Rican demonstrators who want the Navy off Vieques Island. The Navy says the bombing range is critical to preparing pilots, gunners and Marines for her husband's various overseas deployments.

Stonewalling

The stone wall of silence erected around the House investigation of John Millis, the late staff director of the House Intelligence Committee, has claimed its first victim. She is Jennifer Millerwise, press spokeswoman for Rep. Porter J. Goss, Florida Republican and the committee chairman.

Miss Millerwise abruptly resigned a week ago and the committee staff has been unable to reach her, according to staff aides to Mr. Goss. She had been assigned the odious task of refusing to answer repeated queries on the Millis investigation when questioned by The Washington Times.

Miss Millerwise told us earlier that she, like one CIA spokesman, did not want to know any details of the circumstances surrounding the House Intelligence Committee probe of Mr. Millis.

Mr. Millis committed suicide in a Fairfax, Va., motel on June 4 after he had called a friend and said he was distraught over being placed on administrative leave by Mr. Goss. Both Mr. Millis and Mr. Goss are former CIA operations officers. Mr. Millis, as the staff director, knew just about every secret there is to keep in the U.S. intelligence community.

Rumors circulated widely in intelligence circles that Mr. Millis' suicide was linked to unauthorized disclosures related to former CIA Director John Deutch's mishandling of CIA secrets. Mr. Millis was not a fan of Mr. Deutch and had expressed his opinions in a speech earlier this year.

Senior U.S. intelligence officials, however, told us the death was the result of a "personal tragedy" and not related in any way to Mr. Deutch, the CIA, intelligence information or U.S. national security.

The focus of the probe by the House Intelligence Committee has not been disclosed by either Mr. Goss or the House panel.

That's an order

A Marine Corps officer is challenging an order from his commander to stay away from a civilian female friend. His friends say the order is an example of political correctness gone amok in the military's constant battle to regulate the sexes.

Second Lt. Kenneth Nichols, who is single and stationed at the Quantico Marine base, was suspected of committing adultery. The woman in question says they are just friends. Her husband, a Marine officer from whom she is separated, agrees.

Lt. Nichols' attorney, noted courtroom tactician Charles Gittins, has filed a petition asking the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces to lift the order.

"The Marine Corps has no business and no military justification, whatsoever for injecting itself into the personal relations of persons who have made a considered choice to be divorced. Nor does the Marine Corps have any business injecting the Marine Corps into the private off-duty conduct of adults where the conduct at issue does not violate any provision of law.

"Simply stated, the order is an effort to act as 'thought police' preventing small-minded persons from drawing wrong conclusions."

The appeals court has ordered the Marine Corps to reply to Mr. Gittins' petition by July 10.

The stay-apart order was issued by Col. Mary L. Culver, commander of the headquarters and service battalion at Quantico.

The woman in question, Lori Andrews Jones, sent a letter to Col. Culver this week, denying that her friend violated the military's ban on adultery.

Mrs. Jones' estranged husband, 2nd Lt. Paul W. Jones IV, filed a written statement asking the Corps to end the investigation.

"I have no firsthand knowledge of any physical intimacy between Lt. Nichols and Lori Jones," Lt. Jones stated. "Lt. Nichols friendship with my spouse did not contribute to the dissolution of our marriage as we had long-standing problems… . In closing, I would appreciate an end to this investigation that I did not want to take place to begin with."

Asked why the Lt. Nichols and Mrs. Jones should not be kept apart during the Corps' adultery investigation, Mr. Gittins said, "They've both been interviewed. There's no issue of collusion. There's no ending date for that order. It could go on forever."

Xinhua's connections

How many directors of government-run news agencies hold high-level security clearances and regularly read classified intelligence reports?

According to well-placed Pentagon sources, the top editor in Washington for China's official Xinhua News Agency periodically visits the seventh floor of the Chinese Embassy on Connecticut Avenue to do just that.

That's where the embassy has set up a secure room for top officials to read secret intelligence reports sent by cable from Beijing. The Xinhua director uses the reports to direct the agency's news reports. They also help Xinhua in its covert mission: providing secret reports to top Chinese leaders.

Xinhua is one of three major intelligence arms of the Chinese government that provide classified reports on the United States. The others are the Ministry of State Security (MSS), comparable to the former Soviet Union's KGB, and the People's Liberation Army Second Department, the military spy service.

Xinhua often beats its two rivals to the punch on intelligence reports, we are told. The competition is likely to fuel suspicion inside the Chinese government that the disclosure of Xinhua's illegal purchase of the Pentagon Ridge apartment building was a deliberate action by jealous MSS or Second Department agents.

The State Department forced Xinhua to put the building back on the market, rather than use it as a Washington headquarters, after reading of the purchase in The Washington Times.

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