As we all worry about the Russians destroying America, with Democrats stirring up Russophobic sentiments among their base, Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s (D-CA) little entanglement with foreign espionage has gone undetected. Apparently, a Chinese spy infiltrated Feinstein’s San Francisco office and worked there for twenty years (via CBS San Francisco):
New details emerged Wednesday about how a mole for the government of communist China managed to stay by Senator Dianne Feinstein’s side for nearly 20 years.
It happened five years ago, but additional information is just surfacing about how the Bay Area senator’s office was infiltrated by a Chinese spy.
The Bay Area is a hotbed for Russian and Chinese espionage. Late last year, the feds shut down the Russian consulate in San Francisco.
You may remember the thick black smoke that billowing from building before Russian diplomats turned it over to authorities, presumably produced by burning documents.
Now, all eyes are on Chinese intelligence in the Bay Area after the website Politico reported last week that a staffer for Senator Feinstein turned out to be a Chinese spy who reported back to the government officials about local politics.
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.
Yes, luckily, nothing sensitive was gleaned from her office; just reports on local politics. But it's still bad. Feinstein's office said this staffer has been removed. She took action against this infiltration five years ago.
(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
(2/2) Compare that to your actions: attacking the FBI and refusing the advice of your national security team. SAD! I appreciated then and now the diligent work of our law enforcement and intelligence agencies and acted in the best interests of the country. Give it a try!— Sen Dianne Feinstein (@SenFeinstein) August 4, 2018
In that Politico piece, it noted how Silicon Valley has been targeted for espionage by foreign governments (no shocker), and that it’s the Chinese who we also need to worry about. Also, the West Coast seems to be totally unprepared to deal with the threat:
…foreign spies have been showing up uninvited to San Francisco and Silicon Valley for a very long time. According to former U.S. intelligence officials, that’s true today more than ever. In fact, they warn—especially because of increasing Russian and Chinese aggressiveness, and the local concentration of world-leading science and technology firms—there’s a full-on epidemic of espionage on the West Coast right now. And even more worrisome, many of its targets are unprepared to deal with the growing threat.
...China, for example, is certainly out to steal U.S. technology secrets, noted former intelligence officials, but it also is heavily invested in traditional political intelligence gathering, influence and perception-management operations in California. Former intelligence officials told me that Chinese intelligence once recruited a staff member at a California office of U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein, and the source reported back to China about local politics. (A spokesperson for Feinstein said the office doesn’t comment on personnel matters or investigations, but noted that no Feinstein staffer in California has ever had a security clearance.) 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.
Yes, Trump made fun of Feinstein for this embarrassing chapter, but it speaks to the larger issue: Espionage, hacking, cyber chess—its all part of geopolitics. Russia interfered in our election. We have done the same thing to Israel and many other nations in the Cold War era. Get over it, Democrats. This isn’t new. John Podesta having his trove of emails made public because he fell for a fake password reset phishing scheme wasn’t complicated at all—Podesta was just a fool. And because hacking and spy games are not new, it circles back to the Democrats being all sour grapes over the 2016 election. Russia didn’t alter vote totals. They didn’t hack the election. Was there interference? Probably, but it was shoddy and certainly did not tilt the 2016 election to Trump. It happened. We should guard against it, but it didn’t cause Trump to win—and we sure as hell shouldn’t regard this as bad as the 9/11 terror attacks.
Democrats can whine about Russia’s triple-A baseball attempt to try and influence the 2016 election, forgetting that almost everyone had made their minds up months before Election Day, but Chinahas done much more damage to the U.S. in this area.
Editor's Note: This post has been updated. I forgot to add that Feinstein had removed the staffer in question.