Mr. Chairman and distinguished members of the Subcommittee, it is an honor to appear today on behalf of the Director of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service. I am pleased to have this opportunity to discuss the supporting role played by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) in the FBI's espionage investigation of Peter H. Lee. For background purposes, in the Department of the Navy (DON), the NCIS is responsible for investigating counterintelligence incidents in accordance with Executive Orders, applicable Federal Statutes, Memorandums of Understanding, or in the case of active duty personnel, the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ). If there is an allegation against a DoN civilian or contractor, the FBI normally has the lead in the investigation, and may conduct the investigation jointly or with the assistance of the NCIS. With regards to the FBI's espionage investigation of Peter H. Lee, NCIS involvement in that investigation could best be characterized as limited, and episodic. NCIS investigative effort was prompted by specific requests for assistance received from the FBI. Although NCIS' involvement was limited, it was not necessarily insignificant to the Department of the Navy, since it established that Peter Lee had never worked on any Department of the Navy classified or sensitive programs. In fact, the NCIS was unable to identify direct involvement by Peter Lee on any Navy programs. I would like to take a moment to summarize NCIS' support to the FBI investigation of Peter H. Lee.
STATEMENT OF SPECIAL AGENT THOMAS A. BETRO
DEPUTY ASSISTANT DIRECTOR FOR COUTERINTELLIGENCE OPERATIONS
NAVAL CRIMINAL INVESTIGATIVE SERVICE
BEFORE THE SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE
SUBCOMMITTEE ON ADMINISTRATIVE OVERSIGHT AND THE COURTS
March 29, 2000
In March 1994, the FBI's Baltimore office reported to the NCIS Washington, D.C. Field Office, that the FBI was investigating a TRW employee named Peter H. Lee, who was suspected of committing espionage. The FBI advised that during the course of their investigation, they had determined that a civilian employee of the Navy Research Laboratory in Washington, D.C., had, at some point in time, telephoned Peter Lee. The FBI requested that NCIS discreetly acquire background information on the named NRL employee, and determine if Lee had any connection to the NRL. NCIS provided the FBI with background data on the aforementioned NRL employee, and NCIS determined that Lee had neither a connection to the NRL, nor known involvement with any Navy programs. In view of these findings, the NCIS pending investigative file was closed in February of 1995. In March of 1996, the Los Angeles office of the FBI requested additional NCIS assistance in the FBI investigation of Peter Lee. On this occasion, the FBI indicated that Peter Lee was scheduled to present a briefing at the Center for Naval Analyses (CNA) in Washington, D.C., and expressed concern that classified information might be related to Lee during the briefing. At that time, NCIS confirmed that Lee was to meet with a Chief of Naval Operations' (CNO's) Critical Technologies Panel at the CNA. Following Lee's briefing at the CNA, NCIS determined that no classified information was related to Lee. It was later determined that the purpose of Lee's briefing was to provide the status of his work on the Advanced Sensor Applications Program (ASAP), a project sponsored by the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD). Once again, due to the lack of any direct connection by Lee to the Navy, the NCIS investigative file was closed in September of 1996. In November 1997, NCIS Los Angeles was asked by FBI Los Angeles and the U.S. Attorney's office in Los Angeles, for assistance in identifying a qualified Department of the Navy representative to conduct a classification review of the FBI's arrest affidavit pertaining to Peter H. Lee. NCIS Los Angeles provided the name and telephone number of a Department of the Navy Special Security Officer to the Assistant U.S. Attorney responsible for prosecuting Peter Lee. This essentially concluded NCIS' involvement in the espionage investigative phase.
Circa Nov98, NCIS was requested by the DoD Director of Counterintelligence to pursue a "Project Slammer" type interview of Peter Lee. Project Slammer is the Intelligence Community's research effort to gather previously unknown data about espionage subjects and their crimes. This category of interview is pursued after all investigative and prosecutive action is completed. Project Slammer interviews focus primarily, although not exclusively, on the psychological characteristics of espionage subjects, and by design, are not inquiries to gather evidence, conduct damage assessments, or to support prosecution. Based on FBI recommendations, a Project Slammer interview was not conducted.
Finally, in May of 1999, after newspaper articles suggested that Lee had compromised sensitive technology which placed America's submarine force at risk, NCIS was requested to present briefings on the Lee espionage investigation to senior government officials. In preparation for these briefings, the NCIS investigative file pertaining to Peter Lee was administratively reopened to facilitate, and track, efforts to obtain additional background information on Lee, as well as amplifying details regarding the FBI espionage investigation. The NCIS investigative file was administratively closed in September 1999, when it became apparent no additional briefings were required.
In conclusion, the NCIS stood ready to assist and/or support the FBI in any way possible during its espionage investigation of Peter Lee. The lack of Peter Lee's direct connection to any Navy programs, however, resulted in a minimal requirement for NCIS assistance. Once again, thank you for the opportunity to comment on this matter.