The Konformist

September 2001

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Jim Rarey

September 16, 2001


‘What a tangled web we weave

When first we practice to deceive."

Robert Burns



This is the story of three young women who went to the nation’s capital to learn about government. What they learned may have been the cause of their deaths. The three, Chandra Levy, Joyce Chiang and Mary Mahoney had interned in various departments of the executive branch of the federal government. As scandal after scandal swirled about them, they may have become privy to information that made them dangerous to powerful people. This article is about those scandals that likely ended up destroying the young women.

This writer, in several previous articles, has documented the odyssey of Chandra Levy ending with her job at the Bureau of Prisons. As a result of her duties there, the author believes she came into possession of knowledge on one or two subjects that made her dangerous to some in Washington D.C.

The subjects were Timothy McVeigh and the Oklahoma City bombing and the CIA/drug connection possibly through the controversy regarding the whereabouts of Carlos Lehder, cofounder of the Columbian drug cartel. Sometime after the articles were written, Chandra’s interest in those subjects was confirmed by no less a person than Gary Condit. He told a Newsweek reporter; "They talked about the upcoming executions of Oklahoma City bomber Tim McVeigh and drug trafficker Juan Raul Garza. "She seemed to have a lot of interest in those two things," said Condit, "a lot more interest in them than I did."

The work and death of the second intern, Joyce Chiang, may very well also tie into the McVeigh and OKC bombing tragedy.

Joyce, a graduate of Smith College interned in the office of California Democrat Representative Howard Berman while a student. After graduation, she worked in his office while attending law school at Georgetown University. She became Berman’s expert on immigration law and later, in 1995, took a position as special assistant to the director of the Office of Congressional Relations at the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS).

During Timothy McVeigh’s Denver trial, the immigration status of one Andreas Strassmeir became an issue. Strassmeir was a German citizen with counter intelligence experience in the German army who was active in the Elohim City compound of a white supremacist group outside of Oklahoma City. According to Carol Howe, a paid BATF informer, Strassmeir had been agitating for direct action against government buildings. Phone records showed that McVeigh had tried to contact Strassmeir at Elohim City a couple of weeks before the bombing.

After the bombing, the BATF notified the INS that it wanted to detain Strassmeir and he was put on the INS’s watch list. Also, the FBI and INS had scheduled a raid on Elohim City in February, two months before the bombing to apprehend Strassmeir for alleged weapons and immigration violations. The raid was abruptly canceled with no explanation to date. When Strassmeir turned up in Germany he was taken off the INS watch list.

The McVeigh’s defense team tried to introduce evidence of participation in the bombing conspiracy by Strassmeir and Dennis Mahon through the testimony of BATF informant Carol Howe. Special Prosecutor Beth Wilkinson flat out lied to Judge Richard Matsch. She told the judge that Strassmeir was "A mere wisp of the wind." She said Strassmeir’s only problem was that he might have overstayed his visa. She falsely stated that the letters "A" and "O" on Strassmeir’s immigration record stood for "admitted" and "overstayed" respectively. (See this author’s article "Levy/Condit Amazing Coincidences" for background on Wilkinson’s role in providing cover for intelligence agencies.)

Wilkinson also falsely told the judge that Carol Howe had been fired by the BATF as mentally unstable and untrustworthy. She falsified the date Howe left the service of the BATF.

Wilkinson’s lies were exposed during a trial of Carol Howe. The government had indicted her on weapons violation charges. Her BATF handler, Angela Finley had to admit that Howe was in possession of the weapons at the request of the BATF. She also confirmed that the BATF had given Howe a raise from $25 a day to $400 a day and sent her back into Elohim City for further undercover work after the date Wilkinson said she had been fired. Howe was easily acquitted.

The INS later corrected the record on Strassmeir’s immigration status showing that "A" stood for diplomatic passport and "O" for highly qualified. It was also discovered later that Strassmeir had applied for positions with the DEA and CIA.

Later, an appeals court judge gave only mild criticism to Judge Matsch for accepting the word of government prosecutors when contradicted by defense records. Matsch himself has an interesting background.

Judge Matsch was in military counter intelligence during the Korean "conflict." In 1987 he presided over the trial of four white supremacists who were convicted of assassinating radio talk show host Alan Berg. In 1992 his 24-year-old daughter, Betsy, died after accidentally falling into a steam vent at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. He obviously had no stomach for further involvement with white supremacists as he granted the prosecution’s motions to suppress the evidence without hesitation.

There were other discrepancies between the representations made by prosecutors about INS records that were the opposite of the truth. Space does not permit listing them.

As an expert on immigration law and department policies and procedures, it is quite likely that Joyce Chiang became aware of the government’s duplicity in the trial.

On January 9, 1999 Joyce Chiang disappeared after being dropped off by a friend about three blocks from her apartment with the intention of stopping at the nearby Starbucks coffee shop (a location that would also figure in the murder of Mary Mahoney).

Three months later her body was found in the Potomac River. The body was so badly decomposed that no cause of death could be determined. Because some of her clothing had been found near a bridge over the river, her death was ruled a suicide. Some of her friends doubt that verdict and her brother, Roger, to this day believes she was murdered.

The murder of Mary Caitrin Mahoney and trial of her alleged killer, while probably not tied to the OKC bombing nevertheless involves an almost unbelievable cast of characters at a time large amounts of illegal campaign finance money were being raised and serious breaches of national security occurred.

Mahoney had landed an internship working in the office of the Secretary of Commerce, Norman Mineta (the Current Transportation Secretary) for Doris Matsui. Matsui is the wife of California Democrat Representative Robert Matsui. However, she had political connections of her own having served as a trustee of the California Economic Advisory Council with Public Official Executive Board members, Gray Davis, Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein.

Matsui worked closely with John Huang, with the title of deputy assistant to President Clinton. Together they raised over $3 million in campaign funds from Asia and Asian-Americans. $1.2 million had to be returned because it came from corporations and non-citizens.

It was in this time frame that Charlie Trie worked first in the Commerce Department and then transferred to the Democratic National Committee (DNC) but kept his high security clearance. Trie had been attending CIA briefings and then immediately went across the street to the Washington office of Jackson Stephens, the Arkansas broker who was a financial angel of Bill Clinton and placed phone calls to his Chines handler in the Lippo Group in Indonesia.

Stephens was a partner with James Riady of the Lippo Group in the Worthen bank in Little Rock. The bank was alleged to have been involved in laundering CIA drug money. The bank (and Stephens) were involved (along with the Rose Law firm and partners Hillary Clinton, Web Hubbell and Vince Foster) in the takeover of First American in Washington D.C. by BCCI. Robert Bartlett, the then Editorial page editor of the Wall Street Journal said he first starting keeping his eye on the Rose Law firm when he heard of its involvement with BCCI.

And there sat intern Mary Mahoney in the midst of all that activity. The Clinton’s had another reason to keep an eye on her. Mary was an open lesbian and aggressive supporter of gay rights. She had become something of a "den mother" for younger interns who claimed to have suffered sexual harassment at the hands of the president (not including Monica) She had been threatening to do something about it.

Mary also held a part time job as assistant cashier at the local Starbucks coffee shop. In July of 1997, she and two other employees were gunned down around closing time by what police claimed was a robbery although no money was taken. Mahoney was shot five times. One of the shots was to the back of her head gangland execution style.

In March of the following year, FBI agent Bradley Garrett arrested Carl Derek Cooper for the three murders. After 54 hours of questioning by Garrett and another agent, Cooper signed a confession that he immediately repudiated as soon as he got to court. Garrett is currently in charge of the Chandra Levy "missing persons" case and was the lead agent on the Vince Foster death determined to be a "suicide."

Judge Joyce Hens Green set a trial date for April 10, 1999. This is the point at which the cast of characters becomes bizarre starting with Judge Green who was first appointed as a federal judge by President Jimmy Carter in 1979.

In the last year of President Reagan’s second term, Green was appointed to the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to serve a non-renewable seven-year term. That court deals exclusively with national security and with international terrorism, and involves approving applications for electronic surveillance. Judges on that court require the highest security clearance available. In 1990, then President George Herbert Walker Bush appointed Green presiding judge of that court and she handled all emergency matters during the remaining five years of her term.

Judge Green also presided over the BCCI trial that had resulted from indictments obtained by New York Assistant District Attorney Robert Morgenthau. Morgenthau’s investigation was stopped when the FBI stepped in under the direction of Robert Meuller (currently the new FBI Director) and no further investigation ensued. Judge Green approved plea bargains that resulted in BCCI forfeiting its assets in the United States. Two defendants had been indicted, Roger Altman and Clark Clifford an influential power broker in the Democrat party. The two men had accepted the two top spots in First American after the BCCI takeover but claimed they had no idea BCCI was involved in the nearly nine years they functioned in those capacities. Altman was acquitted and Clifford never stood trial because of ill health.

Back to the Cooper trial. Before the trial even started, a controversy arose when Janet Reno announced she was going to seek the death penalty for Cooper. D.C. officials were furious claiming Reno was overstepping her bounds. The district had never asked for the death penalty in any murder case.

Reno held a hearing on the matter. At that hearing, defense attorney William Martin (not connected with the Cooper case) urged Reno to ask for the death penalty. Yes, that’s the same Billy Martin who represented Monica Lewinski’s mother, Marcia Lewis, and currently represents Chandra Levy’s parents.

To complete the cast, Judge Green then appointed attorney Francis D. Carter to represent Cooper. Carter is the Frank Carter to whom Vernon Jordan took Monica Lewinski. Carter prepared the false affidavit for Monica’s signature which put her at risk for perjury when she later testified in the Paula Jones sexual harassment case. Monica escaped prosecution when she was granted immunity my independent counsel Ken Starr.

With Carter as his defense counsel, Cooper was convicted despite a weak circumstantial evidence case. There were, of course, no eyewitnesses and Cooper’s fingerprints were not found at the murder scene. During his 54 hours of interrogation, Cooper had consistently denied the crime and volunteered several times to take a lie detector test. Most of the testimony against him was by FBI agent Garrett based on Garrett’s representation of what Cooper had said during the interrogation. The questioning was not recorded or videotaped although another agent took notes.

One wonders at the array of a high powered Washington judge with ties to the intelligence community and an attorney who barely escaped being disbarred (in another high profile case) in a case claimed to be a routine robbery murder case by a career criminal.

We may never know what information these women possessed that may have led to their demises. Certainly if they confided in any friends, it would take a tremendous act of courage for those friends to come forward given what happened to Chandra, Joyce and Mary. May they rest in peace.


Permission is granted to reproduce this article in its entirety.

The author is a free lance writer based in Romulus, Michigan. He is a former newspaper editor and investigative reporter, a retired customs administrator and accountant, and a student of history and the U.S. Constitution.

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