The Washington Times Makes a Shocking Discovery

Posted by at 8:44 pm on March 17, 2010
Category: BISNorth Korea Sanctions

Sun Myung MoonRev. Sun Myung Moon’s media arm, the Washington Times, has made a shocking discovery: lawyers represent clients. Washington Times reporter Jim McElhatton reveals this horrifying discovery in a piece he wrote on Eric Hirschhorn, the Obama administration’s nominee to head up the Bureau of Industry and Security (“BIS”). The headline to the article says it all: “Exports [sic] nominee tied to 2 watch list firms.”

The article itself continues this ominous tone and hints that Hirschhorn plans to dismantle BIS and hand the keys over to Iran and other terrorist interests:

President Obama’s pick to oversee export controls at the Commerce Department is a trade lawyer whose recent clients include two companies on a government watch list and a shipping business that agreed to pay millions of dollars last year to resolve a federal probe into shipments to Iran, Sudan and Syria.

All three companies have had recent interests before the government office that Eric Hirschhorn would oversee if he is confirmed as undersecretary of commerce for industry and security [sic].

The companies referred to by the Washington Times article are DHL as well as two companies that were put on the BIS Entity List because of suspected ties to Mayrow Trading Company. Why the DHL representation is an issue isn’t explained given that under current rules, Hirschhorn would not be allowed to be involved in any case involving DHL for two years. Nor is it clear why representing the two companies on the entity list is a problem given that, as administration officials quoted at the end of the article state, Hirschhorn’s representation of the two companies occurred after the companies were placed on the list and involved advice to the two companies on how to comply with U.S. export laws.

McElhatton’s fainting couch routine about Hirschhorn’s legal work for these companies rings more than a little hollow when you consider this: throughout the 1990s, the Moon organization, which pays Mr. McElhatton’s salary, paid millions of dollars to the regime of North Korea when such payments were forbidden by the United States because of concerns with respect to that regime’s WMD and missile program.

UPDATE: I had a nice conversation with Jim McElhatton who wrote the article that is the subject of the post. He said that his intent was not to criticize or to derail the Hirschhorn nomination but simply to provide some transparency as to clients that Hirschhorn has represented in private practice. He also noted that he had quoted a former Commerce official who said that Hirschhorn’s representation of these companies could be seen as a positive: “It shouldn’t be seen as a negative at all. In fact, it should be seen as a positive. In order to get off the entity list, companies need to show that they are complying with U.S. export controls. Advising companies on how to comply with U.S. export controls is what lawyers do.” After our conversation, I suspect that the major disagreement between McElhatton and myself is more a matter of emphasis than it is of substance. I would have given greater emphasis to Hirschhorn’s undisputed qualifications for the post.


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Copyright © 2010 Clif Burns. All Rights Reserved.
(No republication, syndication or use permitted without my consent.)



Yet another brilliant blog post by you in exposing the foolish Washington Times article. To my knowledge, Eric Hirshorn’s legal expience, accomplishments for his clientts, integrity, and credibility are to be admired in our chosen profession as international trade legal experts. The BIS needs someone with practical experience in interacting with the various personnel and divisions within BIS to identify and correct its faults in pursuing its important mission.

Peter Quinter

Comment by Peter Quinter on March 17th, 2010 @ 9:10 pm

I am not a fan of Obama, but he did well in this choice. Eric Hirschorn is both a scholar and a gentleman. I note that he had this job about 30 years ago at the end of the Carter administration when the old Export Administration was part of ITA. Unlike his predecessors in the previous administration, who were political cronies whose principal purpose was to polish their resume for post-Bush employment, he knows the law, the history of the law, and the practical difficulties in administering such a silly law.

Comment by Hillbilly on March 18th, 2010 @ 8:42 am

The WT sure is something, isn’t it?

Moon brags about using his propaganda paper to “influence America” and talks of how proud he is for all the intel the paper gathers for his org and its friends.

The Moon organization is partnered with the NK government company called Ryonbong General Corporation in car/truck manufacture. Ryonbong was put under sanctions by the US government because it is “believed to be assisting in the spread of WMDs.”

Read some of that here:

Moon’s agent, who heads the car company in NK, bragged about how the venture should not fail.

From the LA Times:

“We are bound to succeed,” Park said. “There are no unions, low labor costs. The workers are very clever, very quick to learn, and they are harshly controlled by their superiors.”

Park has boasted that Moon’s NK venture benefits from NK propaganda when NK drive the nation’s workers to work overtime and work harder.

But why the USA has not awoken to this subverting Moon front organization called the Washington Times is beyond me given how he openly brags about using it to change the nation and gather intelligence. Of course everything Moon does is in role as “messiah” which should have made Moon’s whole intel operation even more suspect but instead, starting with Reagan, the propaganda and Moon have been accepted by today’s right.

(According to the first President of the WT, Reagan told him during the 1980 campaign that he “needed Rev. Moon’s prayer and support.”)

The first editor of the WT, James Whelan, who quit the paper calling it a “moonie newspaper” and saying he had “blood on his hands” for helping Moon gain a foothold in the U.S., described what the Moon organization has been doing this way in 1991:

“They (the Moonies) are subverting our political system. They’re doing it through front organizations–most of them disguised–and through their funding of independent organizations–through the placement of volunteers in the inner sanctums of hard-pressed organizations. In every instance–in every instance–those who attend their conferences, those who accept their money or their volunteers, delude themselves that there is no loss of virtue because the Moonies have not proselytized. That misses the central, crucial point: the Moonies are a political movement in religious clothing. Moon seeks power, not the salvation of souls. To achieve that, he needs religious fanatics as his palace guard and shock troops. But more importantly, he needs secular conscripts–seduced by money, free trips, free services, seemingly endless bounty and booty–in order to give him respectability and, with it, that image of influence which translates as power.”

Comment by Hap on March 18th, 2010 @ 12:13 pm