John A. Shaw

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John A. Shaw
Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for International Technology Security
In office
September 6, 2001 – December 11, 2004
Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Export Enforcement
In office
September 12, 1991 – 1993
Associate Deputy Secretary of the Department of Commerce
In office
Administrator of the Agency for International Development
In office
Vice President for Washington Operations for the Hudson Institute
In office
Personal details
Born July 1, 1939
Philadelphia, PA, U.S.
Political party Republican
Alma mater Williams College

John A. "Jack" Shaw (born 1939) was a conservative politician and civil servant holding senior staff positions under Nixon, White House liaison under Ford, and in the State Department under Reagan. President George H. W. Bush gave him a recess appointment to Assistant Secretary of Commerce.[1]

His last appointment was as Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for International Technology Security, and he left the DoD under a cloud of suspicion. Prior to his nomination by George W. Bush,[2] Shaw was also President and CEO of the American Overseas Clinics Corporation.

Education and Personal Background[edit]

Shaw was born into a prominent Philadelphia political family, and was raised in the suburbs by an aunt and uncle due to the early death of his parents. His inheritance allowed him to marry early and pursue successive careers in academia and politics. Shaw graduated from Kent School in Connecticut in 1957.[3] He then received a B.A. from Williams College in 1962, where he was a member of St. Anthony Hall,[4] as well as a Masters (1967), and Ph.D. (1976) from Cambridge University, where he was a Fellow of Magdalene College.[5] He has taught international security studies at Cambridge University, Williams College, Georgetown University, and the Institut d'Etudes Politiques in Paris. He is married with two grown children and resides in suburbanWashington DC.[6]

During his professorship at Williams College, he invested his own time and money to found the Williams College men's rowing team, despite some resistance from the Williams faculty and administration at the time. In recognition of Shaw's perseverance, one of the shells in the John A. Shaw Boathouse is named Pride and Persistence. Additionally, a Silver Goblet bearing his name is given out each year to a male rower who epitomizes his will to keep fighting in the face of adversity.[7] Thanks to Shaw's efforts in the early 70s Williams has become a minor US rowing power, with the men winning successive NCAC championships and the women winning 7 successive NCAA Division III championships.[7]

Professional Background[edit]

In 1975 under President Ford, he was confirmed by the Senate as Inspector General of Foreign Assistance and Assistant Secretary of State, responsible for the oversight of all U.S. Foreign Military Sales, U.S. AID, the Peace Corps, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, and the Export-Import Bank.

From 1978-80, Shaw returned to the private sector as a Vice President of Booz Allen & Hamilton International, overseeing the development, organization and management of two new industrial cities, Jubail and Yanbu, in Saudi Arabia. These cities constituted the largest development project in the world. He worked for several management consulting companies, the St. Phalle International Group and the Cambridge Consulting Group, overseeing international business development projects. From 1980-84 he was a Senior Fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, specializing in Middle Eastern and International Business Affairs, and was Vice President for Washington Operations for the Hudson Institute, then overseeing the Center for Naval Analyses, from 1985-86.

From 1986-88 under President Reagan he served as Senior Advisor to the Administrator of Agency for International Development. From 1989-91 he served as Associate Deputy Secretary and Chief Operating Officer of the Department of Commerce, and oversaw a major effort to reform the Bureau of Export Administration.

On September 13, 1991 he was appointed by President George H. W. Bush as Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Export Enforcement, replacing Dennis Kloske who left accusing the Bush Administration of authorizing exports of high-technology products to Iraq over his objections. Shaw received a recess appointment when the revised Export Administration Act was vetoed.[1]

With the arrival of the Clinton Administration, Shaw returned to the private sector. During this time he worked as CEO of American Overseas Clinics Corporation (AOCC). This was a Maryland shell corporation set up with the assistance of longtime republican supporter Samuel Kirk Millspaugh. AOCC was established specifically as a profit making endeavor based on the reputation of Johns Hopkins Health Systems, whom they named in their statutes.[8][9] AOCC ended up being sued by its creditors and sued Johns Hopkins in a last effort to generate cash from the project. AOCC lost both cases. The creditors won their judgement and the case against Johns Hopkins Health System was dismissed with prejudice.[10][11]


Russia and Iraq WMD[edit]

John Shaw was appointed Deputy Undersecretary of Defense by Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld under President George W. Bush, to head the newly created Office of International Technology Security in October 2001. He was responsible for reforming controls over the export of sensitive technology to foreign countries.

Shaw was responsible for tracking Saddam Hussein's weapons programs before and after the 2003 invasion of Iraq. He stated in October 2004, March 2005, and again in February 2006 that it was the Russians who helped Saddam Hussein to "clean up" his WMD stockpiles "to prevent the United States from discovering them."[12] These claims were also made by General James R. Clapper.[13]

In particular, on February 18, 2006, Shaw told a conference at The Intelligence Summit in Alexandria, Virginia, that "The short answer to the question of where the Weapon of mass destruction Saddam bought from the Russians went was that they went" to Syria and the Beqaa Valley in Lebanon, "They were moved by Russian Spetsnaz (special forces) units out of uniform, that were specifically sent to Iraq to move the weaponry and eradicate any evidence of its existence," Shaw said.[12]

Shaw claimed that his sources for this information included the British MI-6, a Ukrainian source close to the late OSCE representative in Ukraine David Nicholas, former British ambassador to Ukraine, Qatar and Iraq, Julian Walker and former Ukrainian military attache in Washington and SBU head Ihor Smeshko. Shaw alleged that Evgeny Primakov flew to Baghdad in December, 2002 to arrange the shipments.

In response, Primakov said "all of Shaw's sensational revelations are complete nonsense. To begin with, I was never in Iraq in 2002. I went there three weeks before the American invasion to deliver an oral message to Saddam from President Putin urging him to resign. ... The U.S. has gotten stuck there and now it can't justify what it has done in Iraq. There were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and now they are looking for way to explain that they had been there.”[14]

Shaw stated that he went public with his comments regarding Russia moving Iraq's WMD when he did, to help President George W. Bush who he felt was being "crucified" by the revelations that over 350 tons of explosives had gone missing in Iraq as a result of the U.S. invasion.[15] He said "If I had not had the openly hostile environment in [Pentagon public affairs], I would have moved the story differently. Getting the truth out instantly was more important than process."

Although persistently repeated in neoconservative blogs regarding Syrian chemical weapons throughout 2012, Shaw's claims were dismissed for lack of evidence in 2005. At that time, the Iraq Survey Group formed a special working group to investigate and consider these and other claims of Iraqi WMDs. Charles Duelfer, head of inspectorate at time of publication, summarized the group's conclusion in the Duelfer Report: "Based on the evidence available at present, ISG judged that it was unlikely that an official transfer of WMD material from Iraq to Syria took place."[16][17][18]

Corruption and Criminal Investigation of Shaw[edit]

Nana Pacific[edit]

Shaw was investigated by the FBI in relation to allegations of corruption in Iraq. He was suspected of attempting to steer contracts in Iraq to friends and business associates. [19] He made several unauthorized trips to Iraq, during which he illegally gained access to a U.S. facility. He then urged officials to fix the problems he had 'uncovered' by directing multimillion dollar contracts to companies of his friends and associates using a no-bid procedure. Soon after, Nana Pacific was granted a contract worth up to $70 million to reconstruct the port facility. Nana subcontracted $3.5 million in dredging work to SSA Marine.[20]

Liberty Mobil[edit]

Shaw also lobbied for a consortium of his friends to obtain cellphone licenses in Iraq.[21] The consortium corporation was named Liberty Mobile and was fronted by Irish businessman Declan Ganley, with friends, Julian Walker and Don DiMarino, a former Commerce Department colleague, on its board.[22] When that consortium failed to win the bid, the company was renamed Guardian Net and Shaw arranged for Nana Pacific to front so that competitive bidding could be avoided and a sole source contract could be granted under provisions that favor Alaskan Native American owned companies.

Shaw asked the Pentagon and the National Security Council to replace the Iraqi minister of communications with Sheik Sami al-Majoun, the Iraqi minister of labor, who, according to a CPA document, was a participant in the Qualcomm consortium bid. An investigation by Mother Jones later confirmed that Majoun had an interest in the Qualcomm bid.[23] When Daniel Sudnick, the senior American adviser to the Iraqi Ministry of Communications, made it clear that he would not permit Shaw's group to obtain a cellular license under guise of an emergency responder system, Shaw threatened Sudnick's staff saying that there "would be hell to pay".[24]

Sudnick reported Shaw's misconduct to Coalition Provisional Authority Administrator Paul Bremer and DoD Inspector General, which led to the investigation of Shaw's misconduct.[25] Shaw then demanded that Sudnick resign or be fired and included allegations against Sudnick in his "Preliminary Findings: Report to the Inspector General into Mobile Telecommunications Licenses in Iraq" and attempted to launch an FBI investigation of Sudnick.[20][26]

Sudnick was fired in April 2004. In April 2006, Sudnick sued the Department of Defence and Shaw for a variety of constitutional, statutory, and common law claims relating to Shaw's disclosure to the media and to persons within and outside the government of false information suggesting that Sudnick was offered or received bribes during his tenure with the Ministry of Communications and that Sudnick was under active criminal investigation in connection with these bribery allegations.[27]

Although charges were never filed against Shaw as a result of the investigations, he was asked to resign.[28] When he refused to resign, he too was fired on December 10, 2004 as a direct result of the corruption allegations against him.[29][30][31]


  1. ^ a b BUSINESS PEOPLE; Appointment At Commerce,[1], New York Times, September 13, 1991
  2. ^ U.S. Government Printing Office, United States Government Policy and Supporting Positions (Plum Book), 2004, [2], November 22, 2004
  3. ^ Kent School 50th Reunion Book
  4. ^ St.Anthony Hall Blue Book, 2012
  5. '^ Magdalene In America (MAm)Roster, 2010
  6. ^ Bush Sr, George W. (September 12, 1991). "Nomination of John A. Shaw To Be an Assistant Secretary of Commerce". The American Presidency Project. Retrieved August 4, 2013. 
  7. ^ a b Williams College Men's Crew Team History
  8. ^ American Overseas Clinics Corporation, Articles of Incorporation with Johns Hopkins, [3]
  9. ^ American Overseas Clinics Corporation, Articles of Incorporation
  10. ^ Case 25-C-00-00362, STEPHEN A ROGERS v. AOCC, [4], 2 Feb 2000
  11. ^ Case 24-C-02-005765, AOCC v. JOHNS HOPKINS [5], 14 Jan 2004
  12. ^ a b Kenneth R. Timmerman, "Ex-Official: Russia Moved Saddam's WMD," NewsMax, February 19, 2006.
  13. ^ Douglas Jehl, Chicago Tribune, Syria said to have Iraq arms, [6], October 29, 2003
  14. ^ Evgeny Primakov Named in International Scandal, Kommersant, March 01, 2006, [url =]
  15. ^
  16. ^ US team concludes Saddam had no WMD, [7] Financial Times April 27, 2005
  17. ^ No Basis For WMD Smuggling Claims, [8]. CBS News January 15, 2005
  18. ^ Comprehensive Revised Report with Addendums on Iraq's WMD (Duelfer Report), [9]
  19. ^ U.S. House of Representatives, Committee On Oversight & Government Reform, [10], 27 July 2004
  20. ^ a b Los Angeles Times,Pentagon Deputy's Probes in Iraq Weren't Authorized, Officials Say, [11], 07 July 2004
  21. ^ Miller, T. Christian (October 15, 2005). "No FBI Charges for Defense Official in Iraq Case". Los Angeles Times. 
  22. ^ "Ganley's bid for Baghdad action", Irish Times, Saturday, July 5, 2008
  23. ^ Miller, T. Christian (May 2, 2007). Blood Money: Wasted Billions, Lost Lives and Greed in Iraq. Back Bay Books. pp. 53–71. ISBN 0316166286. 
  24. ^ Michael Scherer, Crossing the Lines, Mother Jones, [12], Sept/Oct 2004 Issue
  25. ^ T. Christian Miller,Los Angeles Times, Iraq Cellular Project Leads to U.S. Inquiry, [13], April 29, 2004
  26. ^
  27. ^ DANIEL SUDNICK, Plaintiff, v. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE and JOHN A. SHAW, Defendants, Civil Action No. 06-0654 (ESH), United States District Court for the District of Columbia, [14].
  28. ^ T. Christian Miller, No FBI Charges for Defense Official in Iraq Case, Los Angeles Times, [15], October 15, 2005
  29. ^ T. Christian Miller, Pentagon Ousts Official Under FBI Investigation, Los Angeles Times, [16], December 11, 2004
  30. ^
  31. ^