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Tag: China

Former CIA Officer Arrested in Alleged Plot to Dismantle U.S. Spy Network

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A former CIA officer long suspected of helping China disable the United States’ sophisticated spy network has been arrested and charged in federal court with the unlawful retention of nation defense information that he’s accused of leaking to Beijing.

The arrest of Jerry Chun Shing Lee at Kennedy Airport in New York on Monday capped a five-year investigation spearheaded by the FBI, the New York Times reports

Federal investigators became suspicious that the CIA had within its ranks a mole when the intelligence agency began losing its closely guarded informants in China. The FBI said it discovered Lee, who left the CIA in 2007 and moved to Hong Kong, was leaking the identities of the informants. 

In 2o12, while Lee was visiting family in the U.S., FBI agents scoured his luggage and found two volumes of handwritten notes containing classified information.

The dismantling of America’s spy network has been considered one of the U.S.’s worst intelligence blunders in recent years. 

FBI: Abduction Suspect Viewed Sexual Fetish Website Before Kidnapping

Abduction suspect Brendt Christensen, via LinkedIn.

Abduction suspect Brendt Christensen, via LinkedIn.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

About two months before police say he kidnapped a Chinese scholar at the University of Illinois, the 28-year-old suspect appears to have visited the most popular sexual fetish networking site on the internet.

Brendt Allen Christensen was charged in the June 9 abduction of 26-year-old Yingying Zhang, who authorities believe is dead. On April 19, federal investigators said Christensen used his phone to visit FetLife.com, a forum that included threads called “Perfect abduction fantasy” and “planning a kidnapping,” CNN reports. 

Christensen, who remains behind bars, is expected in federal court in Urbana on Monday.

FetLife bills itself as “the Social Network for the BDSM, Fetish & Kinky Community” and was created in 2008 by Canadian software developer John Baku. Since then, the site claims to have more than 5 million registered members.

The site dubs itself as a “safe place for kinksters” and is only intended for consensual adults.

According to the FBI, Zhang was kidnapped during the day after she was running late to sign a lease. Authorities believe she agreed to hop in the case with Christensen, a stranger, after missing two buses.

During surveillance, the FBI said Christensen admitted to kidnapping the Chinese scholar.

State Department Employee Charged for Allegedly Lying to FBI

U.S. Department of State headquarters in Washington D.C.

U.S. Department of State headquarters in Washington D.C.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A 60-year-old employee of the State Department was charged Wednesday with two felonies for allegedly making false statements and obstructing an official proceeding.

CBS News reports that Candace Marie Claiborne is accused of concealing numerous contacts with Chinese intelligence agencies. 

Authorities also say Claiborne failed to report gifts from her Chinese contacts.

CBS News reports:

Claiborne allegedly failed to report repeated contacts with two intelligence agents of the People’s Republic of China, and the agents provided tens of thousands of dollars in gifts and benefits to Claiborne and her family over five years, prosecutors said.

According to an affidavit, the gifts and benefits included cash wired to Claiborne’s bank account, an Apple iPhone and laptop computer, Chinese New Year’s gifts, meals, international travel and vacations, tuition at a Chinese fashion school, a fully furnished apartment and a monthly stipend. Some of these gifts and benefits were provided directly to Claiborne, the affidavit alleges, while others were provided through a co-conspirator.

DEA to Open New Office in China to Combat Sale of Synthetic Drugs

Synthetic opioid tablets

Synthetic opioid tablets

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Hoping to combat China’s role in the drug trade, the DEA is planning to open a new office in Southern China, and a top administrator is visiting the country next week.

The visit will be the first in more than a decade for the DEA, the Associated Press reports. 

DEA Acting Administrator Chuck Rosenberg plans to visit Beijing, Guangzhou and Hong Kong next week.

China invited the DEA to help crack down on the increasing sale of synthetic drugs to the U.S.

If all goes as planned, two special agents will occupy a new office in the city of Guangzhou.

“Intelligence and investigative information have shown that Guangzhou has strong ties to international drug trafficking organizations operating in China and elsewhere,” Russell Baer, a DEA special agent in Washington, said in an email. “These criminal groups in Guangzhou utilize trade-based money laundering schemes to legitimize drug profits, use the port facilities as a transit point to ship illegal narcotics, and purchase synthetic drugs along with precursor chemicals.”

Other Stories of Interest

Engineer Accused of Helping China Produce Nuclear Material Is Cooperating with FBI

Szuhsiung “Allen” Ho

Szuhsiung “Allen” Ho

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

An American engineer accused of helping China develop and produce nuclear material is cooperating with the FBI.

Szuhsiung “Allen” Ho is expected to plead guilty Friday in federal court as part of a plea deal in which he provided vital information about the inner workings of China’s nuclear program, the USA Today reports.

It’s a big victory for the FBI’s first case of nuclear espionage involving China.

Federal authorities indicted Ho, his firm, Energy Technology International and Chinese nuclear power plant China General Nuclear Power in April.

The USA Today wrote:

It is the first such case in the nation brought under a provision of law that regulates the sharing of U.S. nuclear technology with certain countries deemed too untrustworthy to see it. Those countries include China. Although the technology is used for nuclear-power generation, the by-product of that process can be used to produce nuclear weapons.

The investigation began at the behest of the Tennessee Valley Authority, which contacted the FBI with concerns about one of its senior executives, engineer Ching Huey, who later admitted he was paid by Ho and, by extension, the Chinese government, to supply information about nuclear power production and even traveled to China on the Chinese government’s dime. Huey agreed to cooperate in the probe. He has since struck a plea deal.

FBI Investigates Several Years of China-Linked Hacks of FDIC

computer spies2By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI is investigating what appears to be Chinese military-sponsored hacks of computers at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation since 2010, sources told Reuters. 

During the security breach, hackers infiltrated dozens of computers belonging to the FDIC, one of the largest federal agencies that regulates commercial banks in the U.S.

Congressional staff reviewed the internal communications between senior FDIC officials.

It’s unclear how long the FBI has been investigating, but the probe is active.

The FDIC declined to comment on the investigation, but said “immediate steps” were taken to find the hackers.

DEA Travels to China to Crack Down on Fentanyl That’s Added to Heroin

Fentanyl tablets

Fentanyl tablets

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Fentanyl has been used as a powerful additive to heroin, and its use has been killing Americans.

Now the DEA is in China to help the government crack down on the manufacture of fentanyl, Chicago Sun Times reports.

While Mexico is the biggest heroin supplier, China is the leading supplier of fentanyl that is added to heroin to increase it strength, said Dennis Wichern, the special agent in charge of the DEA in Chicago and a five-state region.

“In the last three years we’ve seen an explosion of fentanyl,” Wichern said. “In Chicago, heroin- and fentanyl-related investigations have been priority No. 1.”

The DEA said the Chinese government is cooperating with U.S. drug agents.

“They recognize they have a problem with the synthetic drug explosion, as I call it,” Wichern said.

“The Chinese are all aboard. They’ve outlawed it. We’re working with them,” Wichern said. “We have agents on the ground every day in Beijing and Hong Kong working with the Chinese to stop this.”

Other Stories of Interest

Engineer Charged with Nuclear Espionage Claims FBI Tricked Him into an Interview

Szuhsiung “Allen” Ho

Szuhsiung “Allen” Ho

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI says Szuhsiung “Allen” Ho is the first person in the U.S. to be charged with nuclear espionage involving China.

But the engineer’s attorney claims the FBI tricked him into an interview that may incriminate him, the Knoxville News Sentinel reports. 

Ho was arrested in April at a hotel in Atlanta and changed with procuring American nuclear information for the Chinese government.

Ho, whose firm is Energy Technology International, was working to provide information in an alleged plot with Chinese General Nuclear Power.

“Ho repeatedly attempted to justify his situation, at which point agents reminded Ho he had preferred to speak with a lawyer and prohibited Ho from making incriminating statements,” an FBI report stated.