Axios reported that a suspected Chinese intelligence agent had developed intense relations with American politicians in the states and federal, including a member of Congress, and it quoted security officials as saying that they believed that she was not the only spy.
The site said in an exclusive report that US officials believe that what this agent was doing was a political intelligence operation that was run by the main civilian spy agency in China between 2011 and 2015.
He explained that the findings of Axios in an investigation that lasted for a whole year provide a rare window into how Beijing tried to reach and influence US political circles.
From Obama until today
While it appears that the activities of this suspected agent ended during the administration of former US President Barack Obama, there are concerns that Chinese influence operations extended to the tenure of US President Donald Trump, and will remain a major focus of US counterintelligence during the administration of President-elect Joe Biden.
The site said that the Chinese woman in question – called Fang Fang or Christine Fang (in her late twenties or early thirties, a student at a San Francisco Bay University) – targeted up-and-coming local politicians in California and around the country who had the power to Provide links to it at the national level.
By fundraising for campaigns, vast networks, personal charisma, and romantic or sexual relationships with at least two mayors in the Midwest, Fang was able to get close to political power, according to current and former US intelligence officials and a former elected official.
Although US officials do not believe that Fang received or transmitted classified information, the case “was a big problem, because there were some people in really sensitive centers who were involved in relationships with her,” said a current senior intelligence official.
One of the main goals of Fang’s effort was Representative Eric Swallowell (Democrat, California), as she helped recruit at least one intern for his office.
Fang unexpectedly left the country in mid-2015, amid an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and did not respond to Axios’ multiple attempts to communicate with her via email and Facebook.
It could take years or decades
The site commented that this issue illustrates China’s strategy in developing relations that may take years or even decades to bear fruit and that the Chinese Communist Party knows that mayors and members of US city councils today are tomorrow’s governors and members of Congress.
In the years since Fang’s investigation, the FBI has prioritized investigations into Chinese influence operations, setting up a unit in May 2019 dedicated solely to countering Beijing’s activities at the state and local levels.
US national security officials believe that the threat posed by China has increased over time, and a senior US intelligence official said Fang was just one of many agents.
Fang left the United States abruptly, as US officials said the Chinese intelligence operation collapsed in mid-2015 when Fang left the United States amid an investigation led by the FBI.
Fang was planning to travel to Washington, DC, to attend an event in June 2015, but shortly before that she said she could no longer attend because she unexpectedly needed to return to China, and many politicians in the San Francisco Bay Area were puzzled and confused by her sudden departure. Country.
Source: American Press