December 20, 2020 1:52 pm
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Categories: Bill Gertz China China-US News Chinese Communist Party Chinese Regime Chinese spies Epoch Times Eric Swalwell Fang Fang JoshWho News

China ‘Struck Paydirt’ With Alleged Spy Who Got Close to US Politicians: Journalist Bill Gertz
china struck paydirt with alleged spy who got close to us politicians journalist bill gertz

The Chinese regime “struck paydirt” when one of its alleged spies got close to Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.), said Bill Gertz, who is national security correspondent for the Washington Times and author of the book, “Deceiving the Sky: Inside Communist China’s Drive for Global Supremacy.”

The alleged Chinese spy, named Fang Fang, was the subject of an investigative Axios report detailing how she allegedly posed as an American university student, targeted up-and-coming U.S. officials in the San Francisco Bay Area between 2011 and 2015. She was allegedly working for the Ministry of State Security (MSS), China’s chief intelligence agency.

Swalwell was a councilor for the city of Dublin in California from 2010 until 2012 before he was elected as a congressional member representing California’s fifteenth district in 2013. Now, the congressman is in his fifth term and also serves on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. He briefly ran in the 2020 presidential race before bowing out in July 2019.

Gertz, in a recent interview with The Epoch Times’ “American Thought Leaders” program, explained that Fang’s case was a classic case of how foreign agents “compromise” an official in what counterintelligence experts call a “farming operation.”

Swalwell has denied wrongdoing in his ties with Fang and said that he cut off relations with her in 2015 after being warned by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) about her activities.

Gertz suggested that the U.S. intelligence community should carry out a damage assessment to see if U.S. secrets were compromised and the extent of Fang’s influence operations, considering that the lawmaker “played down” China’s threats during a congressional hearing on Oct. 2.

That day, Swalwell stated it was false for the U.S. intelligence community to say there was “equivalence between what Russia and China are doing” in terms of how the two states influenced the 2020 U.S. presidential election, suggesting that Russia was doing more to influence President Donald Trump.

“[T]his is the kind of influence that needs to be investigated to see how were a politician’s views influenced by having a Chinese agent close to him,” Gertz said.

House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) cited similar concerns in a recent media interview and said he believed Swalwell should not be allowed to sit on the House Intelligence Committee.

Gertz added that Fang’s case was a U.S. “counterintelligence failure” for the FBI, since the law enforcement agency should have “at least tried to turn her [Fang] into a double agent, confronted her, or at the very least interrogated her to find out more details about her activities and her network.”

Gertz recommended that the U.S. government set up a separate counterintelligence service to counter Beijing’s espionage efforts.

“We really need to improve our ability to not just identify and stop these spies but to penetrate their operations, turn them against them,” he said.

Gertz also commented on a recently leaked database of about 2 million Chinese Communist Party (CCP) members. The database revealed that CCP members worked at different countries’ Shanghai-based consulates, and Shanghai branches of U.S. universities and major international corporations, such as U.S. aerospace giant Boeing, American drugmaker Pfizer, and British banks HSBC and Standard Chartered.

“I think it’s important to understand that membership in the Chinese Communist Party makes those people devoted not to the nation of China, or to the people of China, but to the political party of the CCP,” Gertz said.

He added: “And they are definitely going to be tasked to do any task that the party wants, whether that’s collecting intelligence, suborning foreign officials, gathering information that could be useful for government and party agencies.”

To become a CCP member, one must pledge their loyalty to the Party by taking an oath with their fist raised, while reciting that they must “carry out the Party’s decision, strictly observe Party discipline … be loyal to the Party … and never betray the Party.”

China currently has a population of about 1.4 billion and has more than 91 million CCP members as of the end of 2019, according to China’s state-run media.

Gertz warned that Beijing could put together pieces of information collected from individual CCP members and use them to its benefit, or to the benefit of certain Chinese companies, while harming the communist regime’s adversaries.

Gertz said the list likely contained a fraction of all the CCP members based at international companies and entities; yet, the leaked database was significant.

“I think what’s significant is that it will allow people, researchers, investigative reporters like myself, to begin to trace some of the patterns of employment and penetrations by these places that then can be used to go and analyze how other sectors that we don’t have lists for are penetrated by Chinese officials,” Gertz said.

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