The American crackdown on Chinese intelligence

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FBI San Francisco Special Agent in Charge John F Bennett on September 30, 2019, announces a criminal complaint against Xuehua Peng for acting as an illegal foreign agent that allegedly delivered classified security information to China’s Ministry of State Security. Photo: AFP/Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Trump is testing China to see if their economic miracle can continue without infusions of American know-how.

After decades of all but ignoring large-scale Chinese intelligence operations targeting the United States, the US government is engaged in a major crackdown on Beijing spying and technology theft.

Almost on a monthly basis, the US Department of Justice announces the arrest of people facing various charges related to the theft of American secrets or similar intelligence activities.

Last month, the FBI arrested Chinese government official Zhongsan Liu on visa fraud charges that masked his role in directing a major Chinese government operation to obtain American technology by recruiting experts at high-technology universities.

Liu headed a Beijing front group in New Jersey called the China Association for International Exchange of Personnel (CAIEP).

According to court papers in the case, Lui since 2017 worked to fraudulently obtain US visas for Chinese officials with the help of at least six universities in Massachusetts, Georgia, New Jersey and elsewhere that were not identified by name.

The Thousand Talents Program

The real purpose of the front was to recruit Americans engaged in high-tech research to support the Chinese government’s program to develop high-technology.

The scheme was part of China’s Thousand Talents Program to recruit Chinese-Americans and others to support research in China. It has been linked to the China Ministry of Science and Technology.

The Pentagon’s latest annual report on the Chinese military stated the Thousand Talents Program is not limited to commercial efforts, but supports the large-scale military buildup by the People’s Liberation Army.

Thousand Talents is used for strategic programs and to fill technical knowledge gaps, the report said. The program “prioritizes recruiting people of Chinese descent or recent Chinese emigrants whose recruitment the Chinese government views as necessary to Chinese scientific and technical modernization, especially with regard to defense technology,” the report said.

Assistant Attorney General John C Demers, head of the National Security Section, said of Liu’s arrest:  “We will continue to confront Chinese government attempts to subvert American law to advance its own interests in diverting US research and know-how to China.”

The same day Liu’s arrest was announced, American former Defense Intelligence Agency officer Ron R Hansen was sentenced to 10 years in prison for spying for China.

Hansen was one of three former US intelligence officials who were caught spying for China’s Ministry of State Security (MSS) intelligence service in the past three years and the first major espionage prosecution in more than a decade.

The others included former CIA officer Kevin Mallory, who was given 20 years in prison for passing secrets to China, and Jerry Chung Shin Lee, who was paid thousands of dollars by the MSS for divulging the identities of recruited CIA informants.

Agents imprisoned or killed

As many as 30 of the CIA’s recruited agents in China were imprisoned or executed beginning in 2010 in one of the most significant intelligence disasters for the agency since the loss of all its agents in Russia during the 1980s and 1990s.

Former CIA counterspy Mark Kelton called the recent uncovering of Americans who spied for China unprecedented. “Sun Tzu’s age-old wisdom that ‘knowledge of the enemy’s dispositions can only be obtained from other men’ needs a cyber caveat,” he said.

“The PRC has launched a covert assault on the US across the full spectrum of intelligence activities.”

The damage includes stealing sensitive government, trade and industrial secrets through myriad Chinese cyberattacks mainly carried out by People’s Liberation Army Third Department (3PLA) against both government and private sector targets.

Meanwhile, traditional intelligence collection continued apace to include professional Chinese intelligence officers and unformal spies such as Chinese travelers and visitors. They also continue to seek to recruit Americans with access to secrets of all kinds.

“This Chinese intelligence threat is only now beginning to garner the attention it deserves,” Kelton said.

China avoided greater American counter-intelligence scrutiny by using methods that appeared less threatening and avoided triggering alarms, specifically utilizing non-professional spies, Kelton says.

Low-profile operations

Also, China in the immediate post-Cold War period sought to conduct cautious and low-profile operations that were largely directed against opponents of the Communist regime in Beijing. They reflected limited Chinese intelligence capabilities in mounting overseas operations.

“In contrast, Beijing’s intelligence services today have global reach to match China’s global aspirations,” Kelton said.

Another reason for the lack of attention in the past to Chinese intelligence operations was the focus of US counter-intelligence agencies on Russian operations.

By contrast, China was considered a less dangerous adversary than Moscow.

Other signs of China’s increasing operations abroad include China’s unusual use of a Ministry of Public Security official who in February 2019 was caught spying on a US Navy base in Key West, Florida.

Zhao Qianli was arrested photographing antennas at the base and the FBI later determined he was part of MPS, which until recently had been considered China’s national police force not known for conducting overseas operations.

Late last month, police in California launched an investigation after an Asian man was arrested for impersonating a Chinese police officer. The man was caught driving an Audi with markings in Chinese of the People’s Armed Police.

A second PAP impersonator also was being sought. Counter-intelligence experts say the police may be part of China’s overseas operations to intimidate or coerce overseas Chinese opponents of the Communist regime.

The crackdown on Chinese spying shows no signs of slowing down and is expected to continue under US President Donald Trump’s tougher policies toward China.

The Trump White House last year published a report on “Chinese economic aggression” that stated that Chinese technology theft in the United States involved the loss of as much as US$600 billion annually in intellectual property theft.

Trump appears to be following the strategy used during the Cold War of blocking US and western technology to the Soviet Union, a policy that contributed to the 1991 collapse.

The president is testing China to see if the Chinese economic miracle of the last 30 plus years can continue without infusions of American know-how.

By Bill Gertz
Source: Asia Times


Chinese Translation:

亚洲时报 2019年10月14日

美国政府对中共情报系统的打击

作者:比尔·格茨

​在无视中国在美国境内大规模情报窃听行为的几十年后,美国政府开始对来自北京的,與科技盗窃相关的间谍活动展开大力度的打击。

美国司法部在几乎过去的每个月里都会宣布对那些盗窃美国机密或参与情报活动的有关人士的拘捕。

就在上个月,美国联邦调查局以签证欺诈罪抓捕了中国政府官员柳忠三。他在新泽西州任中国国际人才交流协会驻美代表,通过招募在美国科技类大学的专家以窃取美国高科技技术相关的情报。

根据该案相关的法院审理文件表明,自2017年以来,柳忠三在马萨诸塞州,乔治亚州,新泽西州的至少六所大学,和其他一些未命名的大学的帮助下,协助中国官员以欺诈方式获取美国签证。

“千人计划”项目

其真正目的是招募在美囯的军队高科技研究人员,从而支持中国政府的高科技发展计划。

美国国防部五角大楼方面关于中共政府军方的最新年度报告指出,“千人计划”项目它已经转变为從只支持商业領域,發展到同时支持中国人民解放军的大规模军事建设。

该报告称,“千人计划”被用于战略计划項目和填補技术知识空白。对有中国血统或中国亲近的美国华侨优先招募。招募這些人在中共政府看来是符合科学技术现代化,特别是国防技术現代化的需要。”

美国国家安全部负责人,助理检察长迪莫斯(John C Demers)談到对柳忠三抓捕时说:“我们将继续面对中共政府挑战美国法律,為他们的自身利益窃取美国的研究成果和专有技术,并转移到中国的行爲。”

就在宣布柳忠三被捕的同一天,美国前国防情报局官员罗恩·洛克威尔·汉森因协助参与中共相关间谍活动被判入狱,有期徒刑10年。汉森是过去三年来,由於為中国国家安全部(MSS)情报部门從事间谍活动而被捕的三名前美国情报官员之一,也是近十年来首次被审理的重大间谍案件。

其他人包括前中央情报局官员凯文·马洛里(Kevin Mallory),他因向中国泄露机密而被判入狱,有期徒刑20年;前美国中央情报局CIA特工,李振成(Jerry Chung Shin Lee) ,受贿中国国家安全局數千美元,出賣被招募的中央情报局线人的身份。

被监禁或杀害的美国特工

从2010年开始,中情局在中国招募的特工中多达30名被监禁或处决。這是自1980和1990之間失去在俄罗斯的所有特工以来,该机构最重大的情报灾难之一。

美国中情局前间谍马克·凯尔顿(Mark Kelton)称,最近在美国发现的中国间谍数量是空前的。

其造成的直接损害包括主要是來自中国人民解放军三部,对美国政府部门和私营企业进行的无数次网络攻击以窃取政府,贸易和工业相关的敏感机密。

與此同時,传统形式的情报收集工作继续迅速发展,包括使用专业的情报人员和非正式间谍人员。例如来自中国的旅客和访问学者。他们还继续寻求招募更多能够接触各种机密的美国人。

凯尔顿说:“这种来自中共情报系统的威胁才刚刚开始引起對它應有的关注“。中共利用非正式间谍人员以掩蓋它的威胁性,从而避免美国政府情报部门的注意。

低调行动

在冷战结束后不久,针对反共势力,中共采取了谨慎和低调的行动。这反映在中共當時在海外情报方面的行动能力非常有限。

凯尔顿说:“相比之下,今天北京情报部门在全球范围的开展,与中共的全球发展战略相匹配”。

过去对中共情报活动缺乏关注的另一个原因是美国反情报机构过于专注俄罗斯方面。中共曾被认为没有像莫斯科那么危险。

其他中共在海外間諜活動增长的跡象包括中共异乎寻常的启用一位中国公安部官员從事間諜活動。2019年2月,赵千里因在佛罗里达州基韦斯特的海军基地中,在對天线拍照时被捕。美国联邦调查局后来认定他是中共公安系统内部的成员。直到最近,中国公安部一直被认为是中共的国家警察部門,从未参与海外间谍活动。

在上个月底,加利福尼亚州警察对一名亚洲裔男子冒充中国公安警察展开了调查。该名男子被拦截时,驾驶着带有中国武警标志的奥迪轿车。·反情报专家说,冒充警察可能是中共在海外行动的一部分,用以打击恐吓海外反共异议华人。

在川普对中国采取更嚴厲的政策之后,目前对中共间谍活动的打击没有任何的減緩,而且将会继续下去。川普政府在去年发布了一份有关“中共经济侵略”的报告,指出中共在美国因技术和知识产权盗窃每年造成的损失高达6000亿美元。

川普总统似乎正在采用冷战期间使用的方法,以掐断前苏联获取美国和西方的技术的手段,促成1991年的苏联解体。

川普总统正在试探中共,看中共前30年经济奇迹在没有美国技术知识的支持下能否继续下去。

By Guo.media

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