Ex-Obama Official Tried Hiding Drone Company’s Association With CCP 

A former official for the Obama administration reportedly tried to secretly coerce the Department of Defense (DOD) into removing a controversial Chinese drone company from a U.S. list of Chinese companies that belong to the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) military. 

Reuters reported that former U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch actively tried to push the DOD into removing SZ DJI Technology Co. from the list. 

Lynch was helped by former Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Gertzman and Associate White House Counsel under then-President Barack Obama, Roberto Gonzalez. 

The three government officials, who now work together at the Paul, Weiss law firm, signed a letter to the Pentagon in 2023 with a “confidential treatment requested” label. 

In 2021, the Pentagon reported that SZ DJI Technology Co. represents a potential threat to U.S. national security. The agency’s report noted that the letter demonstrates why U.S. officials are actively trying to close loopholes in the law allowing taxpayers and lobbyists to prevent disclosing their work for foreign companies that could be subject to U.S. sanctions. 

“The Department of Defense (DOD) position is that systems produced by Da Jiang Innovations (DJI) pose potential threats to national security,” the Pentagon said at the time. 

“Existing DOD policy and practices associated with the use of these systems by U.S. government entities and forces working with U.S. military services remain unchanged contrary to any written records not approved for release by the DOD,” the agency added. 

For example, the loophole in the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) does not force those involved with “commercial activities and legal representation” to reveal their work to the U.S. government, according to the Daily Wire.

Sen. Jim Risch (R-ID), who chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, recently rebuked Lynch over her support for entities associated with China’s military. 

“It is appalling that former senior U.S. officials use their connections to serve the interest of U.S. adversaries,” Risch said. 

The Daily Wire reported that Lynch tried to persuade government officials to drop the designation of SZ DJI Technology Co. on the Pentagon’s Chinese military companies list. 

In a letter to Assistant Secretary of Defense Laura Taylor-Kate, Lynch urged the department to remove the drone maker from the list. 

“The wide use and dependence on DJI products by a variety of U.S. stakeholders reinforces the importance and urgency of deleting DJI from the list,” Lynch wrote. 

 

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