Revelations continue to emerge as the bombshell story surfaced of how long time Bay area Senator Dianne Feinstein (CA-D) actively employed a mole for the government of Communist China in her office for nearly 20 years. One could only imagine the epic deluge of mainstream media coverage that would dominate in a nauseating and unending rotation if President Trump, his campaign, or anyone even remotely associated with his staff either past or present were discovered to have this sort of connection.
Yet, despite the story coming to light of a spy working on behalf of the
Russian Chinese government on the staff of a powerful Democrat who just happens to serve on the Senate Intelligence Committee with top security clearance, it passed the mainstream media by with little more than a yawn. Naturally, Feinstein herself claims she was absolutely “mortified” upon learning that she had a Chinese spy in her employ working in her office for nearly 20 years as her personal driver and clerk for her Bay Area office. Feinstein claims she forced the staffer into retirement upon being alerted by the FBI of his affiliations.
CBS San Francisco reports – “On Wednesday, the San Francisco Chronicle uncovered additional details in a column written by reporters Phil Matier and Andy Ross. The column revealed that the Chinese spy was Feinstein’s driver who also served as a gofer in her Bay Area office and was a liaison to the Asian-American community. He even attended Chinese consulate functions for the senator.
Feinstein — who was Chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee at the time — was reportedly mortified when the FBI told her she’d be infiltrated. Investigators reportedly concluded the driver hadn’t leaked anything of substance and Feinstein forced him to retire.”
Perhaps of even more consequence and largely a more extraordinary part of the story is that this staffer was employed by Feinstein, remaining in her office for nearly two decades while having contact with communist China’s Ministry of State Security for an unknown, unspecified number of years during that same time period. It is not currently clear at what point his contact with the Chinese government began, though local reports by sources in San Fransisco claim he may have been an unwitting asset.
As the San Francisco Chronicle reports in a follow-up investigation –
“According to our source, the intrigue started years earlier when the staffer took a trip to Asia to visit relatives and was befriended by someone who continued to stay in touch with him on subsequent visits.
That someone 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,’ says our source. ‘He just thought it was some friend.’”
It is believed the advantage Chinese intelligence thought to have by placing a driver with the Chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee was in his ability to pick up on tidbits of sensitive conversations during moments when Feinstein believed she could freely speak to colleagues and staff.
One former counter-espionage FBI agent in the Bay Area, Jeff Harp, told CBS San Francisco he believes someone like Sen. Feinstein would constitute a key, high-value target for foreign intelligence and eavesdropping:
Former FBI agent and KPIX 5 security analyst Jeff Harp said he was not surprised, believing Feinstein would constitute a key target pf significant value for foreign intelligence and eavesdropping –
“’Think about Diane Feinstein and what she had access to,’ said Harp. ‘One, she had access to the Chinese community here in San Francisco; great amount of political influence. Two, correct me if I’m wrong, Dianne Feinstein still has very close ties to the intelligence committees there in Washington, D.C.’
Harp ran counter espionage for the FBI in the Bay Area. He said in addition to traditional political intel and diplomatic secrets, Bay Area spies are often focused on things like R&D, technology and trade secrets.
‘They also have an interest in the economy here. How to get political influence here,’ said Harp. ‘What’s being developed in Silicon Valley that has dual-use technology. All of that is tied to the Bay Area.’
And he says, like in many areas, when it comes to counter intelligence and espionage, the Bay Area is a trend setter.
‘As the Bay Area goes, so does the nation when it comes to technology,’ said Harp. ‘So why not when it comes to spying?’
And of Silicon Valley being a hotbed of Chinese espionage, Harp continued, ‘They also have an interest in the economy here. How to get political influence here. What’s being developed in Silicon Valley that has dual-use technology. All of that is tied to the Bay Area.’”
According to a Politico report on the severity of the threats of Chinese espionage in Silicon Valley and the threat they pose –
“At the Aspen Security Forum last week, FBI director Chris Wray acknowledged the threat Chinese spying in particular poses, saying, “China from a counterintelligence perspective represents the broadest, most pervasive, most threatening challenge we face as a country.”
Making it even more complicated, said multiple former U.S. intel officials, many foreign intel “collectors” in the Bay Area are not spies in the traditional sense of the term. They aren’t based out of embassies or consulates, and may be associated with a state-owned business or research institute rather than an intelligence agency. Chinese officials, in particular, often cajole or outright threaten Chinese nationals (or U.S. citizens with family members in China) working or studying locally to provide them with valuable technological information.
“You get into situations where you have really good, really bright, conscientious people, twisted by their home government,” said a chief security officer at a major cloud storage company that maintains sensitive government contracts. U.S.-based Chinese employees of this company have had Chinese government officials attempt to “leverage” these individuals’ family members in China, this person told me. The company now requires employees working on certain projects to be U.S. citizens.”
One former counter-espionage FBI agent in the Bay Area, Jeff Harp, told CBS San Francisco he believes someone like Sen. Feinstein would constitute a key, high value target for foreign intelligence and eavesdropping:
Harp pointed out politicians with access to classified information are generally trained on what not to say and when not to say it. But he also noted when you have a driver behind the wheel day in and day out for 20 years, there are more opportunities to slip up.
“Think about Diane Feinstein and what she had access to,” Harp explained. “One, she had access to the Chinese community here in San Francisco; great amount of political influence. Two, correct me if I’m wrong, Dianne Feinstein still has very close ties to the intelligence committees there in Washington, D.C.”
And of Silicon Valley being a hotbed of Chinese espionage, Harp continued, “They also have an interest in the economy here. How to get political influence here. What’s being developed in Silicon Valley that has dual-use technology. All of that is tied to the Bay Area.”