Tuesday, June 16, 2015

80-20 Wrote to Atty. Gen. Lynch to Erase the Chilling Effect Created by the Sherry Chen Case

Dear Attorney General Lynch:

Greetings. Delighted to see you confirmed. I hope history will rate you as one of our greatest Attorney generals, if DOJ will have managed to effectively prevent the stealing of America's classified and proprietary information and yet protect the rights of American citizens, especially those of Chinese Ams., whom may be under intense suspicion when the US China relations is tense.

My name is S. B. Woo, former Lt. Governor of Delaware (1985-89) and currently the president of 80-20 Educational Foundation, Inc. (EF), a cyberspace organization having by far the largest email list of Asian Americans.

I recently ran across an article, entitled "Rules of Conduct for Chinese working in America", written by a prominent member of our community, Dr. Geroge Koo. He cautioned that "Chinese working in America" should curtail the exercise of our rights, given the unfortunate case of Sherry Chen . A New York Times article, entitled "Accused of Spying for China, Until She Wasn't," clearly illustrated how DOJ's careless investigations could ruin a citizen's life. Dr. Koo cautioned:

" * The above rules are especially relevant if you work in the technology space. Remember that the presumption is that you are predisposed to sending intelligence to Beijing.

* Do not assume you won't get in trouble if you send publicly available information to China for the most innocuous reasons. The U.S. is a country of laws and regulations. If the authorities decide that they want you in jail, they can find laws that you have not heard of to justify putting the handcuffs on you."

I strongly disagree with Dr. Koo's 2 points which suggested self-imposed restraints by Chinese Americans thereby voluntarily diminishing our rights as citizens. My organization believes that America is "the land of the free and home of the brave." We believe that "As citizens, we have the complete freedom to communicate, visit with, and help people of our respective "old countries," if we wish, so long as the above forms of visits, communications and helps do not involve passing of classified information, and so long as we are not under an explicit legal or contractual duty to keep information confidential. We define classified information as such information which is explicitly designated as classified or proprietary, or by similar terms by either our governments or private institutions."

I respectfully request a confirmation from you regarding my understanding of our rights, as stated above. Note that I am NOT asking you to give a categorical approval of the statements in quotes. After all, it is nothing but a personal interpretation of my constitutional rights. Nor am I asking you to comment on anything else, including the statements made by Dr. Koo. I just want to know if I behave in a way as stated in quotes, I'll not be in trouble with the law.

Being a good citizen, I am not eager to create troubles for myself and DOJ. I respectfully request a reasonably prompt reply on such a fundamental point of the rights of American citizens. This information is being sent to you via an email*, and a registered and return receipt requested letter.

If I don't hear from you within a reasonable amount of time, my organization intends to publicly offer to accept the first 5 requests for public information from any citizens of an Asian nation, be they civilians or government employees. Our acceptance will be contingent upon whether we'll have the ability to honor the request by doing 2 or less hours of research only, and that in helping them we don't pass on classified and/or proprietary information.

Our purpose in doing the above is to establish with concrete actions that we, Asian Ams, have the rights stated in paragraph 4 above. It'll prove to our community that the chilling effect felt by our entire community owing to the Sherry Chen episode is NOT real. I hope that you'll soon tell me that DOJ has not and will NOT infringe upon the rights of Americans, including Asian Americans, and that America remains "the land of the free and home of the brave."

S.B. Woo (302 366-0259)
President, 80-20 Educational Foundation. Inc.

* sent via http://www.justice.gov/doj/your-message-department-justice ; subject topic: civil rights; Name: S. B. Woo; email address: sbw@udel.edu; Date: June 15, 2015

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