Social Mood Driving Tension in Trade, Immigration, and Now Security

NYO: The Unpleasant Truth About Chinese Espionage
Although the navy is staying tight-lipped about Lieutenant Commander Lin, it’s already evident that the damage he perpetrated—thanks to his high-level access to some of the navy’s best-guarded secrets—is daunting. Damning, too, is the news that Mr. Lin was arrested while boarding a flight bound for China, the beneficiary of his alleged betrayal. No wonder top admirals want to keep as much of his impending trial classified as possible, to prevent public discussion of how much damage this traitor wrought on our national security.

Yet this is no isolated incident. In the two weeks since the Lin story broke, we have still more cases of Chinese immigrants accused of spying against their adopted country on behalf of their ancestral one. Szuhsiung “Allen” Ho, a Chinese immigrant and naturalized American, faces a raft of charges for running an espionage ring aimed at stealing nuclear secrets for Beijing. According to the Federal indictment, at the direction of a Chinese state-owned nuclear power company Mr. Ho recruited a half-dozen engineers to get nuclear secrets that Beijing wanted but could not obtain legally from the United States.

The key recruit in Mr. Ho’s spy ring, none of whose members have been named by the Justice Department, was a senior executive with the Tennessee Valley Authority, the Knoxville-based Federal energy corporation. The TVA executive, a native of Taiwan who was naturalized in 1990, allegedly received $15,555 from Mr. Ho in exchange for nuclear secrets, which the ringleader presumably passed to Beijing.

The other five engineers caught up in the spy net—two of whom are in Pennsylvania, with two more in South Carolina, while the last is in Colorado—include one naturalized Chinese immigrant. All received money from Mr. Ho in exchange for information on how to produce special nuclear material: plutonium, uranium-233 and enriched uranium. Public information does not reveal the extent of the damage to our national security caused by this espionage network, but the fact that it began back in 1997 hints that the amount of nuclear information it illegally passed to Beijing may be extensive.
Nobody is paying much attention to the threat:
While Chinese espionage against the United States is hardly new, it has taken on fresh intensity. Since few Chinese spies get caught, thanks to weak American counterintelligence and limited public awareness of this threat, the risk to Beijing is low while the rewards can be high.
Furthermore, when something is done about it, the security measures are called racist.
Race is No Just Cause: The US Government’s Racist Profiling of Asian Americans
Afterwards, a young Chinese American woman came up to me and introduced herself: her name was Joyce. Earlier this year, her father (Temple University physics professor and former department chairman, Xiaoxing Xi) had been arrested by the Justice Department and wrongly accused of espionage. In 2002, Xi had worked at a company that had invented something called a pocket heater, which is now a restricted technology used in superconductor research. Later, Xi purchased limited access to the technology for one year to continue his research on it.

In an emotional and heartfelt op-ed published this past week, Joyce recounts how in May of this year, the US Justice Department raided the Xi family home. Twelve FBI agents broke into the house in the early morning hours and pointed guns at a bewildered and terrified Xi, his wife, and their children. The agents dragged Xi away in handcuffs, and accused him of sharing the pocket heater schematics with Chinese scientists in 2010, in a series of emails. They implicated Xi — a US citizen who naturalized in 1989 — as a Chinese spy. In addition to facing federal charges of espionage, Xi became informally black-listed: before even having a chance to defend himself in a court of law, Xi found himself demoted from his departmental chairmanship by Temple University.

One inconvenient problem: Xi appears to be completely innocent.
The response to Chinese espionage is to frame is as discrimination against Asians:
Chu attended the meeting, and her office told VICE News that it was a "frank and serious conversation." But so far, the Justice Department has not admitted that race or ethnicity played into its arrests of Asian-American researchers. And it has not responded publicly to calls for an independent investigation.

"Until then, employees that look like me are going to keep getting indicted at higher rates," Lieu said. "And I do not want to read about any more Sherry Chens or Professor Xis."

Meanwhile, NCAPA is sounding the alarm in Asian-American communities across the country, warning that scientists may come under scrutiny. Kang says that there may well be other scientists under indictment who are scared to come forward and accuse the government of profiling.

"We are putting out the word to our networks," he said. "So they will know who to come to."
The problem is Chinese relies on nationals for espionage:
The most challenging part of how China spies on the United States is that Beijing’s modus operandi relies overwhelmingly on co-nationals. Chinese intelligence agencies seldom stray far from working with ethnic kin and Beijing-related spy cases here that do not involve ethnic Chinese are very much an exception. Even when non-Chinese are involved, there is usually someone tied to Beijing by ethnicity somewhere in the operation.

...The People’s Republic of China has long relied on ethnic ties to enable its espionage. In spying, they are deeply dependent on the more than fifty million people of Chinese extraction worldwide who are living outside China and Taiwan, whom Beijing terms Overseas Chinese. China is hardly alone here. Many of the biggest espionage threats to the United States exploit ethnicity to induce betrayal. Russia has done this for decades, co-opting émigrés to spy for Moscow. Even in Soviet times, there were always Russians abroad who loathed Communism yet might be convinced to spy for the Motherland. Iran, too, exploits émigrés as would-be spies, sometimes ruthlessly, while Israel has not been above calling on certain Jews in the diaspora to work for the Mossad on grounds of tribal solidarity.

That said, Beijing is unique in the degree that it is so heavily dependent on Overseas Chinese for espionage. This is hardly confined to the United States. Canada demonstrates an identical pattern, with Chinese immigrants serving as the main source for Beijing’s espionage against our northern neighbor. China represents the biggest counterintelligence threat to Canada, according to Ottawa security agencies, and that involves numerous immigrants and Canadians of Chinese background. Reflecting a common pattern in Canada, where politicians routinely ignore good security advice, as I’ve explained in this column before, in 2010 Canadian intelligence warned the government that Michael Chan, a Chinese immigrant turned Liberal Party politician, was close to Chinese intelligence. However, this did not harm Mr. Chan’s career, and today he remains a minister in the Ontario provincial government.

Indeed, Mr. Chan protested his innocence amid accusations of “racial profiling” by ethnic activists. The same happens in America, where any person of Chinese origin who falls under suspicion of nefarious activities for Beijing will get backing by activists eager to make the case go away amid cries of “racial profiling.”

Of course, not every accused person is guilty as charged, and sometimes the FBI goes overboard in its efforts to catch spies. However, allegations of ethnic bias have a chilling effect on our operations to curb Chinese spying on our country, particularly when members of Congress get on the bandwagon. I recall from my own days in the counterintelligence business more than one case of a Chinese-American who fell under suspicion of espionage for Beijing—based on solid evidence, not hearsay—yet the case was allowed to “fall off the table” since higher-ups had no stomach for a nasty political fight amid cries of “racial profiling.”

...Racial profiling is going on here—in how the Chinese Communist regime exploits Overseas Chinese for espionage and the betrayal of our country. That is the fault of nobody in Washington, DC.
Have you noticed the fault lines between nations have been popping up more frequently these days? Social mood is trending negative. Trade, immigration, security and military are all trending towards increased conflict. The recent actions by the Russians in the Baltic are part of this shift. The current equilibrium is unstable as social mood changes. International relations and domestic attitudes towards security will shift.

1 comment:

  1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RfJgT89hEME

    "what goes up must come down"
    "we never had a chance"
    "we convinced an entire generation that this is a battle we could win"