US vs Giffen Spices Up

by Nathan Hamm on 7/7/2004

The case against James Giffen got a little more interesting. He’s getting access to CIA and State Department documents to help mount his defense.

Mr. Giffen sought access to CIA and State Department records in an effort to mount a defense that he was working under the authority of the U.S. government. The government did not dispute that Mr. Giffen had frequent contacts with U.S. intelligence officials or that he used his contacts within the Kazakhstan government to promote U.S. interests.

In a book entitled See No Evil: The True Story of a Ground Soldier in the CIA’s War on Terrorism, the author, Robert Baer, described Mr. Giffen as the “de facto ambassador to Kazakhstan.”

Judge Pauley wrote that Mr. Giffen had presented sufficient information from publicly available sources to permit discovery of potentially classified information.

“If the United States was encouraging Giffen to ingratiate himself to senior Kazakh officials,” Judge Pauley wrote in U.S. v. Giffen,03-404, “then [he] may be able to assert a public authority defense.”

For those unfamiliar with the case, Mr. Giffen is charged under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act with diverting $78 million in payments from Western oil companies to Kazakstan’s president and former prime minister.

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– author of 2991 posts on 17_PersonNotFound.

Nathan is the founder and Principal Analyst for Registan, which he launched in 2003. He was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Uzbekistan 2000-2001 and received his MA in Central Asian Studies from the University of Washington in 2007. Since 2007, he has worked full-time as an analyst, consulting with private and government clients on Central Asian affairs, specializing in how socio-cultural and political factors shape risks and opportunities and how organizations can adjust their strategic and operational plans to account for these variables. More information on Registan's services can be found here, and Nathan can be contacted via Twitter or email.

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