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Chinese spies charged

Yesterday the Attorney General announced charges against thirteen Chinese spies and other “assets.” But it’s all a dog-and-pony show.

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Yesterday the U.S. Attorney General announced indictments of thirteen Chinese intelligence officers and assets. The charges involved “efforts to unlawfully exert influence in the United States for the benefit of the [mainland Chinese] government.” But that does not tell half the story. In fact this investigation began under President Trump – and this same Attorney General shut it down in February. So why is he talking publicly about this matter today? Maybe because the President’s handlers know they need yet another distraction, and a way to prove that they run the red-hot administration they like to pretend they run. But as the Chinese “did not succeed,” they won’t succeed.

Details and purposes of the Chinese plot

Reportage on the Chinese plot and the indictment (unsealed only yesterday) comes from four sources. Attorney General Merrick Garland published his remarks directly on the Justice Department’s own site. NPR, Axios, and The Washington Examiner also covered this story. But from The Washington Examiner, not from the other three, comes the most embarrassing revelation.

Three separate cases form the indictment against these thirteen Chinese agents and assets. They mainly concern the investigation of the Chinese telecommunications company, Huawei. Huawei makes smartphones and other consumer electronics. Smartphones especially lend themselves beautifully to efforts to spy on their owners. President Trump suspected them of such shenanigans, and that was one motive for his China Initiative in 2018. As General Garland’s statement makes clear, the Justice Department had good reason to fear such spying by Huawei. Huawei was and is a Chinese spy asset. Another of the three cases involved an operation, called Operation Fox Hunt, to seek out, kidnap, and “informally extradite” Uyghur and other Chinese dissidents taking refuge in the United States. This might also explain why the Chinese are opening police stations in America – with detectives only, of course.

Less than two weeks ago, Axios reported that the Federal Communications Commission would ban new sales of Huawei telecommunications equipment. The Messrs. PFWTS who shared this with Axios, said the FCC was acting out of national security concerns.

The announcement

Yesterday the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York unsealed an indictment of two Chinese “intelligence officers.” They bribed a U.S. government employee to steal, from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in that district,

the prosecution’s strategy memo, confidential information regarding witnesses, trial evidence, and potential new charges to be brought against the company.

The only problem was that the two spies had approached a double agent working for the Federal Bureau of Investigation. He gave them phony documents to snare them further.

That’s one case. In the second case, the government charges four individuals, including three Chinese intel officers, with running a special spy mission.

Between 2008 and 2018, the defendants used the cover of a purported Chinese academic institute to target, co-opt, and direct individuals in the United States to further the PRC’s intelligence mission.

Those directives included attempts to procure technology and equipment from the United States and to have it shipped to China. They also included attempts to stop protected First Amendment activities – protests here in the United States – which would have been embarrassing to the Chinese government.

Threatening a dissident

The third case goes directly to Operation Fox Hunt. The government has charged seven individuals with “a multi-year campaign of threats and harassment” against a Chinese dissident.

Those activities were part of the PRC’s global, extralegal effort, known as “Operation Fox Hunt.” Its purpose is to locate and bring back to China alleged fugitives who have fled to foreign countries, including the United States. The PRC has a history of targeting political dissidents and critics of the government who have sought refuge in other countries.

The indictment alleges that the defendants, working at the direction of the government of the PRC, engaged in a campaign of harassment, threats, surveillance, and intimidation aimed at coercing the victim to return to China.

We also allege that the defendants threatened and harassed the victim’s family members, both in the U.S. and in China.

The PRC government forced the victim’s nephew to travel from China to the United States to convey the PRC’s threats to the victim’s son.

The defendants threatened the victim, saying that “coming back and turning yourself in is the only way out.” They showed up at the home of the victim’s son in New York. They filed frivolous lawsuits against the victim and his son and said it would be “endless misery” for the [father] and son to defend themselves.

And they made clear that their harassment would not stop until the victim returned to China.

But they had shut down the investigation of the Chinese

Merrick Garland obviously has a good speechwriter, whom he tasks to make him look like a hero and leader. But The Washington Examiner sounds a sour note. Again, Donald Trump had started this investigation in 2018. In February of 2022, the Justice Department shut it down. General Garland and Matthew Olson, his deputy for national security concerns, defended that decision at yesterday’s press conference.

And what is their defense? They shut down the China Initiative, they said back in February, because it was racist. In fact, pro-China groups and left-wing groups had said that for more than a year. They even called the initiative “McCarthyism.” Presumably that’s a reference to the investigation of Soviet influence by Senator Joseph McCarthy (R-Wisc.) and the House Un-American Activities Committee.

And yet, says Deputy Olsen,

In the course of my review, I never saw any indication, none, that any decision that the Justice Department made was based on bias or prejudice of any kind. This was a concern that I understand, and I appreciate that perception, but I didn’t see that in any of the cases or any of the decisions that were made.

Then why did you shut it down? You don’t shut down an investigation of a real danger to your country just because somebody calls it racist. That goes double when that somebody is your target, or someone sympathetic to the target and its aims. But that’s what Garland and Olsen did.

Possible reasons

That last brings us to the first possible reason for shutting down an investigation into Chinese spying and intimidation. In this case, someone – probably Joe Biden’s handlers – is sympathetic to the Chinese Communist Party. More than once has an administration official, or someone sympathetic to this administration, spoken of how the Chinese can spy on you with absolute impunity. Furthermore, they strike a tone of admiration, if not outright envy. To say nothing of how cozy the Bidens are with the CCP, as if the Bidens are “Their Men in Hua Zhing Dun.”

Another reason, at which The Washington Examiner drops a hint, is that they wanted to spy on someone else. In January the Justice Department opened an investigation into “domestic terrorism.” Which means criticism of the Biden administration and, more broadly, the World Economic Forum and the United Nations. Then in March, the Justice Department opened an investigation into Russian “oligarchs.” This, a month after the Russian Federation launched its “Special Military Operation” in Ukraine.

Once is happenstance, twice is coincidence, and the third time it’s enemy action.

Ian Fleming

In any case, the Chinese are actively spying on Americans and on political refugees. But as the broader evidence shows, we cannot trust this administration to oppose that effectively. Yesterday they put on a dog and pony show. With Midterms coming up, CNAV says not to let this Justice Department fool you.

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Terry A. Hurlbut has been a student of politics, philosophy, and science for more than 35 years. He is a graduate of Yale College and has served as a physician-level laboratory administrator in a 250-bed community hospital. He also is a serious student of the Bible, is conversant in its two primary original languages, and has followed the creation-science movement closely since 1993.

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