AsAmNews National Correspondent
New rules prompted by false accusations of espionage made against Chinese American scientists are being praised by members of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC).
The rules add an extra layer of oversight and members of APAC hope this will slow racial profiling and overzealous prosecution. The New York Times reports all cases involving espionage will now require oversight from prosecutors in Washington who have experience with national security.
“I welcome the new rules by the Department of Justice as a positive first step in the right direction,” said Rep Judy Chu (D-Pasadena), chairwoman of CAPAC. “These extra levels of scrutiny are clearly necessary to avert other false charges against American citizens. The Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus will remain vigilant to prevent such wrongful accusations in the future, and we will seek justice for those who are already victims.”
The case against Temple University Professor Xiaoxing Xi was dropped after it became clear the prosecution had poor knowledge of the science involved.
Charges against Sherry Chen who worked with the National Weather Service in Ohio were also dropped after she was accused of stealing a password to access information about dams. It turned out the information she shared with a friend in China was information not classified and publicly available. Although the charges were dropped, the government continues its efforts to fire Chen.
Rep Mike Honda (D-San Jose) is still pushing for a more thorough review of these botch cases.
“For too long, Americans have been accused of espionage by our government on the basis of their heritage, not any finding of fact,” said Honda. “Today, the Justice Department took a good first step to making certain that never happens again. However, too many have still been hurt by these cases in the past. Along with my colleagues, it is critical for us to make certain that the Department of Justice appoints an independent panel to investigate these potential miscarriages of justice.”
CAPAC recently joined 39 other members of congress to call on Attorney General Loretta Lynch to conduct an independent investigation into these cases. CAPAC also met with Lynch to raise concern over what it considered a pattern of singling out Asian Americans by federal law enforcement and prosecutors.
“I am pleased that the Department of Justice has heard the calls of Members of Congress and implemented a policy change to provide critical oversight for national security cases,” said Rep Ted Lieu (D-Los Angeles). “The pattern of wrongfully arresting and indicting Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders on flimsy espionage allegations has painted a concerning picture of targeting based on race and national origin, and it is clear that these cases need to be handled differently. I thank Attorney General Lynch for taking action and look forward to being briefed on the changes by the Department of Justice to evaluate whether further steps are needed.”
You can read much more details of the new oversight of espionage cases in the New York Times.
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