On August 20, Fox News aired an interview on the Tucker Carlson show concerning Chinese influence in the United States. It was an interview with Bill Gertz from the Washington Free Beacon.
The references to me and an organization I helped create were unbelievable, offensive and, most importantly, completely untrue.
For those of you who saw the segment, I wanted you to read the statement I shared with Fox News. For all of you for whom I care, you will understand that we build our reputation over the span of our lives, and there’s nothing more important to me than integrity.
Adm. Bill Owens’ Statement on the August 20 Tucker Carlson Fox News Segment with Bill Gertz
My name came up as part of a “Tucker Carlson Tonight” segment on Fox News on August 20, 2018. The comments made about me were untruthful and highly offensive. I would like to set the record straight.
The topic was Chinese influence in the United States. Mr. Carlson interviewed Washington Free Beacon senior editor Bill Gertz as part of the report. At one point, Mr. Gertz alluded to an initiative he described as “launched about 10 years ago by the former Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Bill Owens. He basically has made tens of millions of dollars in China and he formed this organization of former military officials who literally lobbied congress and the administration to do China’s bidding.” Mr. Carlson then called this “so deeply corrupt.”
The referenced initiative is the Sanya Initiative, which I indeed founded about 10 years ago. But beyond that lead-in phrase, Mr. Gertz’ assertions are completely fictitious.
The Sanya Initiative brings together retired generals and admirals from the United States and China. The purpose of these meetings is to discuss collaboration and ways of working together. The United States Embassy in Beijing has been informed of the meetings, and in many instances representatives of the embassy have attended our sessions. On our return to the United States after these meetings, we have engaged with our colleagues in the Pentagon and/or State Department to apprise them of these level 2 conferences, communicating openly about the meetings.
I have received no money for this activity, let alone the “tens of millions of dollars” referenced. In fact, I personally supported the Sanya Initiative for the first several years, at which point and to date a 501(c)3 , a nonprofit organization, has sponsored the Initiative. The purpose of the meetings is to bring the Chinese and Americans together in constructive ways that are good for both countries, not “to do China’s bidding,” as stated on Fox News. I have openly represented my personal involvement in these efforts as serving the future of the United States.
I am a fervently proud American, a devoted U.S. Navy career man of 35 years, and a Vietnam veteran. Any statement that I would do anything to harm our Country’s best interest is not only false, but personally very offensive to me and my deepest-held convictions.
I cannot speak to Mr. Gertz’ potential motives in making such outrageously false public statements nor to Mr. Carlson’s slanderous commentary. But Fox News should not provide a platform for such blatantly dishonest accusations about others and instead should provide the actual facts for its audience’s consideration.
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