“The intelligence is clear: Beijing intends to dominate the U.S. and the rest of the planet economically, militarily, and technologically,” John Ratcliffe, Director of National Intelligence, said on Dec. 3, according to Wall Street Journal reports. According to the spy chief, CCP spies target members of Congress 6 times more than Russia and 12 times more than Iran.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned officials at local levels of the government, from state to municipality, about the true intentions of Chinese officials. “Know that when you are approached by a Chinese diplomat, it is likely not in the spirit of cooperation or friendship,” Pompeo said in a speech at the Wisconsin state capitol.
Pompeo offered a translation of CCP General Secretary Xi Jinping’s remarks to a group of economists in Beijing, where he stressed the need to “actively develop cooperation with all countries, regions, and enterprises willing to cooperate with us, including states, localities, and enterprises in the United States.”
When the Trump administration adopted a firm stance against the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), the Chinese intelligence recognized “weaker links” down the chain of command, where it was easier to create arrangements that would be more favorable, in the long run, to the CCP.
Nicholas Eftimiades, a former senior U.S. intelligence official and author of Chinese Intelligence Operations said in an interview with The Epoch Times that the Chinese regime is playing the long game; they’re investing in relationships with individuals who have the potential to move up in ranks. This strategy, Eftimiades said, “can really be devastating to another country.” They anticipate that today’s mayors will become tomorrow’s governors, and target individuals at these, relatively unsecure, levels.
In a yearlong investigation by Axios, it was discovered that a Chinese operative with direct ties to Beijing manipulated and seduced her way to foster connections with politicians across the country, especially in the Bay Area, California.
The operation was run by China’s top spy agency, the Ministry of State Security (MSS). The operative’s name was Christine Fang or Fang Fang, and she was active during the years 2011 to 2015. Here’s a sample of Fang’s modus operandi:
- Fang would attend fundraisers and other public events involving politicians.
- She would choose her targets based on their future potential, as well as present standing in the government.
- A relationship would be initiated where she became close enough to the targets that they easily shared “classified” and deeply personal information with her.
- This information would be passed on to her handlers in Beijing where they would store the information for future use, blackmail, or, in the case of access details, gain entry into secure government files.
According to Axios reports, Christine Fang had intimate relationships with California representative Eric Swalwell and at least two Midwestern mayors. The officials who discovered her intelligence efforts were actually investigating another spy working for the Chinese consulate. They do not believe that Fang passed on any critical information to the Chinese.
Once discovered, Fang cut off her ties with the U.S., her friends and associates based in the country, and abruptly left for China. There is not much known about her since then.
The term “Honey traps” refers to a tactic commonly employed by regimes like the CCP to lure in politicians and other key personnel through romantic and sexual relationships. In 2014, 60-year-old Benjamin Pierce Bishop, a former U.S. military contractor, was sentenced to seven years in prison for leaking sensitive information to his 27-year-old Chinese girlfriend. Like Fang, the Chinese girlfriend was studying in an American college.
There was the case of Katrina Leung, a double agent who carried on decades-long relationships with her handlers inside the FBI. The agency finally caught up with her act in 2003, and Leung was charged with unauthorized possession and copying of classified documents. She was accused of sending the sensitive information to Chinese intelligence.
Eftimiades says that U.S. intelligence agencies need to prepare congress members at all levels of possible interactions with Chinese agents. “It’s a matter of coordination and sharing information, sharing best practices, making people understand that they have a responsibility in protecting national security,” he said.
Swalwell has been asked to step down from the House Intelligence Committee. Besides him, there may be many more lured in through the various traps set by the CCP. If Ratcliffe is correct, China intends to dominate America in the coming years, and they have shown that they will deploy any tactic available to gain access to the markets, technology, intelligence and, mostly importantly, the minds of the people and their perception towards the communist regime.