Kicking Out Chinese Spies: How Many Are There, Anyway?

AP Photo/Andy Wong

There is a silver lining to the ChiComs kicking out US journalists from Communist China. That gives the US an opportunity for a quid pro quo, which may have a double benefit to US national security, as employees of state-run Chinese media double as spies. It would appear that the Trump administration is considering that exact response, as reported in Asia Times today:

Trump administration officials have intensified discussions over whether to expel employees of Chinese media outlets suspected of being spies, in retaliation for China’s planned expulsion of American journalists from major outlets, The New York Times reported.

Some American intelligence officials have pushed for years to expel employees of Chinese media organizations who they say mainly file intelligence reports.

“Propaganda outlets that report to the Chinese Communist Party are foreign agents, not ‘journalists,’” the State Department spokeswoman, Morgan Ortagus, said on Twitter.

“Even General Secretary Xi says they ‘must speak for the Party,’” she added, referring to remarks that President Xi Jinping of China made in 2016 as he toured the headquarters of state-run media organizations.

Any expulsion of Chinese employees at media outlets accused of conducting intelligence work could include ones based at the United Nations, where China has a permanent seat on the Security Council.

Okay, that’s a good start, but what about the tens of thousands of other Chinese spies in the US? Think that number is an exaggeration? Then read these excerpts from an article in The Washington Free Beacon:

Beijing’s spy networks in the United States include up to 25,000 Chinese intelligence officers and more than 15,000 recruited agents who have stepped up offensive spying activities since 2012, according to a Chinese dissident with close ties to Beijing’s military and intelligence establishment.

Guo Wengui, a billionaire businessman who broke with the regime several months ago, said in an interview that he has close ties to the Ministry of State Security (MSS), the civilian intelligence service, and the military spy service of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA).

Guo said that Chinese intelligence operations in the United States sharply increased after the 2012 Communist Party Congress that brought current leader Xi Jinping to power.

“Before 2012, cumulatively China had around 10,000 to 20,000 agents working in the United States,” he said. “These agents had been sent to work in the United States over a 50 year period of time, and they were working in a defensive mode.”

According to the businessman, defensive intelligence was mainly focused on learning about the United States. The operations then shifted in 2012 to “offensive” spying, he said.

“By offensive [operations], I mean to be ready to destroy the U.S. in ways they can,” Guo said.

China’s budget for intelligence gathering before 2012 was around $600 million annually.

Former FBI counterspy I.C. Smith said the large number of MSS officers could be a reasonable estimate if the figure includes Chinese who work informally for the service such as students, permanent resident aliens, visitors, and others.

Don’t just take the word of a Chinese dissident. Here is what FBI Director Christopher Wray had to say about Chinese spying in America:

National security officials, including FBI Director Christopher Wray, have warned about China’s espionage capabilities. Wray spoke at the Aspen Security Forum in July where he warned about China from a counterintelligence perspective, saying the nation represents “the broadest, most challenging threat we face at this time,” according to CBS News.

“The volume of it, the pervasiveness of it, the significance of it, is something this country cannot underestimate,” Wray said.

Chinese spies in America: ChiCom state-run media employees, students (not all but many), Chinese national resident lecturers/professors, Confucius Institute employees, resident aliens, and others. Tens of thousands of spies at work stealing intellectual property, trade secrets, military secrets, technology, etc., etc. It’s high time a lot of them were sent packing! Let’s start with their “journalists.”

The end.