A suspected Chinese spy had gotten close to top U.S. politicians in California over a period of about 4 years, according to a report by Axios. Their investigation found that U.S. intelligence officials believe it was a political intelligence operation by a Chinese civilian spy agency.
California Democrat Congressman Eric Swalwell developed a relationship with Christine Fang, the alleged Chinese spy, and received bundled campaign contributions with the help of Fang, the investigation found.
Fang had also planted an intern in Rep. Swalwell’s congressional office. The Axios investigation found that Eric Swalwell was among the top targets of Fang.
- Fang took part in fundraising activity for Swalwell’s 2014 re-election campaign, according to a Bay Area political operative and a current U.S. intelligence official. Swalwell’s office was directly aware of these activities on its behalf, the political operative said. That same political operative, who witnessed Fang fundraising on Swalwell’s behalf, found no evidence of illegal contributions.
Swalwell has spent the last 3 years preaching, without evidence, the dangers of possible Trump ties to Russia. He, and other Democrats, have warned that President Trump could have business deals in Russia and other countries that could pose a national security risk.
It turns out that Democrats seem to be the ones mostly compromised by foreign intelligence programs, and mostly Chinese intelligence programs. Dianne Feinstein, Democrat Senator from California, had employed a Chinese spy for 20 years but you probably heard little to nothing about it.
The staffer had served the senator for some two decades as a general office lackey, a liaison to the local Chinese community, and, most important, the senator’s chauffeur whenever she was in San Francisco, her hometown. Driving Ms. Feinstein would have been a plum assignment for an intelligence operative; it allowed the Chinese access to the senator’s comings and goings and who she met with, as well as to any conversations she might have had in the car and any documents she may have left in it.
The Axios report also found that Fang helped out on California Democrat Congressman Ro Khanna's 2014 House run.
Nope, that's not all.
The suspected Chinese spy also helped out Democrat Tulsi Gabbard, Democrat Judy Chu, and former Democrat Rep. Mike Honda.
Why does this matter, other than optics?
Many foreign spy programs are said to rely on leverage and blackmail. A romantic involvement (such as Fang had with multiple politicians) or a personal driver position (such as Dianne Feinstein employed) could gain access to conversations, documents, or thumb drives left unguarded and deliver that information back to Chinese officials. Those officials could then use that as leverage to sway a policy decision in their favor.
Close relationships between a U.S. elected official and a covert Chinese intelligence operative can provide the Chinese government with opportunities to sway the opinion of key decision-makers.
That angle certainly seems possible, or even plausible, given the decisions we've seen by our elected officials to shut down private business and employ a disastrous election implementation strategy that was warned to be wildly unsecure.