During the Obama Administration, a Chinese spy was attempting to gain intel through relationships with Democrat leaders.
According to reporting by Axios, the spy, Chinese national Christine Fang, “targeted up-and-coming local politicians in the Bay Area and across the country who had the potential to make it big on the national stage” through “campaign fundraising, extensive networking, personal charisma, and romantic or sexual relationships.”
Axios also noted that: “Even though U.S. officials do not believe Fang received or passed on classified information, the case ‘was a big deal, because there were some really, really sensitive people that were caught up’ in the intelligence network, a current senior U.S. intelligence official said.”
According to a report on the spy’s activities, the type of information she was gathering may not have been classified, but definitely included valuable political intelligence about U.S. officials that foreign intelligence agencies typically seek.
Fang reportedly became so close to California Representative Eric Swalwell that the FBI was forced to intervene and give him a defensive briefing on the matter.
Fang reportedly met Swalwell when he was a councilmember for Dublin City, California through a Chinese student organization. By 2014, she had “developed close ties to Swalwell’s office” and was a “bundler” for him, meaning that she helped bring in big donors for his campaign. This is part of China’s long-term strategy of gaining influence with U.S. politicians before they make it to the national stage.
“Amid a widening counterintelligence probe, federal investigators became so alarmed by Fang’s behavior and activities that around 2015 they alerted Swalwell to their concerns — giving him what is known as a defensive briefing. Swalwell immediately cut off all ties to Fang, according to a current U.S. intelligence official, and he has not been accused of any wrongdoing,” Axios reported.
In a statement to Axios, Swalwell’s office said: “Rep. Swalwell, long ago, provided information about this person — whom he met more than eight years ago, and whom he hasn’t seen in nearly six years — to the FBI. To protect information that might be classified, he will not participate in your story.”
Sources say that Fang once helped raise funds for Democrat Representative from Hawaii, Tulsi Gabbard. The spy also volunteered on the campaign of California Democrat Ro Khanna in his unsuccessful 2014 campaign for the House of Representatives.
As no Republicans have been named in the report, it is assumed that Fang, who was under FBI surveillance, was only targeting Democrat politicians.
During the time she was being surveilled, Fang unexpectedly returned to China, which may indicate that her handlers called off the operation, perhaps knowing that she had been compromised.
According to the report, Fang had “at least two sexual interactions with elected officials” that were recorded during FBI electronic surveillance.
After this report had been published on Monday night, many conservatives expressed concern on Twitter.
Former Acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell tweeted: “@ericswalwell is a total hypocrite and should resign in disgrace.”
— Richard Grenell (@RichardGrenell) December 8, 2020
Arthur Schwartz, a political operative, was concerned about the potential national security issues raised by the report, writing: “This story makes it clear that the Chinese spy, who was also a fundraiser for @RepSwalwell , had ‘sexual relationships’ with elected officials. Swalwell, who is married and therefore a blackmail risk, must answer whether he was one of the officials that slept with the Chinese spy.”
This story makes it clear that the Chinese spy, who was also a fundraiser for @RepSwalwell, had “sexual relationships” with elected officials. Swalwell, who is married and therefore a blackmail risk, must answer whether he was one of the officials that slept with the Chinese spy. https://t.co/DtvfDVU6Vt
— Arthur Schwartz (@ArthurSchwartz) December 8, 2020