The FBI and Department of Defense have documented over 100 incidents of Chinese nationals posing as tourists to gain unauthorized access to U.S. military bases and other federal sites.
Labeled as “gate crashers” by U.S. officials, these individuals have employed various methods, from crossing into restricted missile ranges to swimming near key rocket launch sites, according to information obtained by The Wall Street Journal.
“In coordination with our defense and intelligence community partners, the FBI is committed to protecting our national security,” an FBI spokesperson said regarding the report of Chinese nationals trespassing on U.S. government property.
Recent attempts include a group of purported tourists trying to force their way into Fort Wainwright, Alaska.
According to The Wall Street Journal, the Department of Defense conducts more than 10,000 ‘controlled turnarounds’ each day to ensure unauthorized individuals are prevented from entering any of its 1,400 gates.
The FBI has identified China as “the greatest long-term counterintelligence threat to our nation’s information and intellectual property.” Joint efforts between the FBI, DoD and other agencies are in place to enhance the protective posture of military installations.
Several base security reviews have been conducted since 2018, focusing on various aspects, including the physical security conditions of entry gates. However, most incidents do not lead to espionage charges, often falling under local trespassing laws instead.
The nature of the incidents indicates a numbers game approach by China, as described by a former Senate Intelligence Committee official.
The strategy suggests the Chinese government is willing to risk exposure, banking on the fact that even if a few individuals are caught, proving nefarious intent beyond trespassing would be challenging for U.S. authorities, while the information obtained by successful operatives would be immensely beneficial to China.
Congress is considering potential legislation that would address this growing concern, according to Fox News. Repeat incidents have occurred at critical locations, including an intelligence center in Key West, Florida, and adjacent to missile ranges near White Sands National Park.
“The security of our installations remains a top priority,” a department spokesperson said. “Physical security standards for our bases take into consideration a wide variety of potential threats, including attempted spying by our adversaries.”
This news article was partially created with the assistance of artificial intelligence and edited and fact-checked by a human editor.