Reports have recently emerged that U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein fired a staffer several years ago who was linked to Chinese spying.
A local source revealed to Politico that the FBI alerted the then-chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee that her driver was being investigated for possible spying. In addition to being her driver, the staffer severed as a liaison to the Asian-American community and attended Chinese Consulate functions for Feinstein.
The staffer had been keeping in touch with someone who was connected with the People’s Republic of China’s Ministry of State Security.
“He didn’t even know what was happening — that he was being recruited. He just thought it was some friend,” an unnamed source said, according to San Francisco Chronicle.
Despite the driver having connections to Chinese spying, the FBI concluded that no important information was leaked.
“They interviewed him, and Dianne forced him to retire, and that was the end of it. None of her staff ever knew what was going on. They just kept it quiet,” the unnamed source added.
During a recent rally in Ohio, President Trump went after the California Senator for having a driver that was connected with Chinese spies, according to a CNN report.
“I like Dianne Feinstein I have to tell you, but I don’t like the fact that she had a Chinese spy driving her and she didn’t know it,” President Trump said.
Later on Twitter, President Trump recommended that Feinstein “investigate herself.”
(1/2) The FBI told me 5 years ago it had concerns that China was seeking to recruit an administrative member of my Calif staff (despite no access to sensitive information). I took those concerns seriously, learned the facts and made sure the employee left my office immediately. pic.twitter.com/qpVyPanpJk
— Sen Dianne Feinstein (@SenFeinstein) August 4, 2018
Feinstein responded to Trump’s tweet by saying: “The FBI told me 5 years ago it had concerns that China was seeking to recruit an administrative member of my Calif staff (despite no access to sensitive information). I took those concerns seriously, learned the facts and made sure the employee left my office immediately.”
Analysts believe that China is involved in political intelligence gathering in California and that the Feinstein incident is just one of a growing number of examples of Beijing’s spying.
The West Coast is a growing target of foreign espionage. And it’s not ready to fight back. https://t.co/EyX3xBuXwJ
— POLITICO (@politico) August 4, 2018
FBI director Chris Wray recently acknowledged that China is a growing threat saying: “China from a counterintelligence perspective represents the broadest, most pervasive, most threatening challenge we face as a country.”
In addition, it’s not uncommon for Chinese officials to pressure Chinese nationals or U.S. citizens with family members in China to provide valuable technological trade secrets.
“You get into situations where you have really good, really bright, conscientious people, twisted by their home government,” a chief security officer at a major cloud storage company said.
Due to the recent surge of Chinese nationals leaking sensitive information to the Chinese government, many Bay Area tech companies are requiring that only American citizens work on certain projects.