- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 10, 2001

A U.S. surveillance plane flying near Chinas coast four years ago picked up secret communications on a meeting between a senior Chinese Communist official and an Irish leftist linked by U.S. intelligence to counterfeit U.S. currency, according to a classified National Security Agency report.
The Air Force RC-135 reconnaissance flight in late May 1997 revealed the meeting between Sean Garland, president of the Dublin-based Workers Party, a communist political party, and Cao Xiaobing. Miss Cao was described in the report as bureau director of the International Liaison Department of the Chinese Communist Party, Beijings official office for supporting foreign communist parties.
The report, labeled "top secret," states that Mr. Garland was the managing director of GKG Comms International Ltd., a Dublin company, and noted that Miss Cao and the Irish communist discussed "unidentified business opportunities" during a meeting.
"Garland is suspected of being involved with counterfeiting U.S. currency, specifically, the Supernote, a high-quality counterfeit $100 bill," the report said.
Mr. Garland confirmed in a statement issued last week in Londons Sunday Times that he met Miss Cao in Beijing.
"This was in a public place in offices of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China," Mr. Garland stated. "Afterwards we had dinner in a hotel."
The statement did not say what was discussed at the meeting, but a spokesman for the Workers Party told the newspaper the discussions were "political" in nature.
According to the Sunday Times, Mr. Garland was a leading member of the Irish Republican Army in the 1960s and early 1970s. A 1986 Russian document made public by dissident writer Vladimir Bukovsky stated that Mr. Garland wrote a "Dear Comrade" letter to Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev asking Moscow for the equivalent of $1.42 million to fund Workers Party activities.
"Ten years ago it was the KGB and the Workers Party which were accused of plotting all kinds of subversion," Mr. Garland said in his statement last week.
He said the letter to Moscow "has been going the rounds for many years now" and "it is well past its sell-by date."
Mr. Garland also confirmed that he was director of GKG Comms, a firm "involved in sourcing power projects in China and Eastern European Companies." He said the company is "no longer trading."
Miss Cao, a leading Communist official involved in youth issues and arms control matters for decades, later visited Ireland at the invitation of the Workers Party.
She headed a delegation of Chinese Communist Party officials, Mr. Garland said.
According to the Sunday Times, the Workers Party in the past was linked to forged currency, specifically fake 5-pound notes. A party spokesman said Mr. Garlands meeting with Miss Cao did not include any discussions of counterfeiting. The spokesman dismissed the claims of illegal activity, saying counterfeiting accusations against the Workers Party have appeared "every so often."
Intelligence officials said the report highlights Chinas support for foreign communist parties, a role once played by the now-defunct Soviet Union.
In addition to Irelands communists, Beijing is also backing Japans Communist Party and other parties once supported by Moscow, said officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity.


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