Tags: China's | Huge | Spy | Network | U.S.

China's Huge Spy Network in U.S.

Monday, 14 March 2005 12:00 AM

In passing the law, China ignored White House concerns that labeled the statement as "dangerous" and "unhelpful," adding that the threat to use "nonpeaceful means" upsets a status quo that has kept international diplomats walking on eggs for decades.

Chinese dissident Harry Wu issued a warning in his NewsMax Media book,

"American policymakers and analysts are constantly reminding us that China will soon have the largest economy in the world," Wu wrote. "What seems to be lacking in this discussion is the implication of an economic giant's turning into a military and political giant."

Couple that with a recent warning by Lisa Bronson, a Pentagon security director. At a recent conference that included FBI and CIA officials at Texas A&M University, she was quoted as warning that "China has somewhere between 2,000 and 3,000 front companies in the U.S., and their sole reason for existing is to steal, exploit technology." She added it is difficult to assess what technologies that China has already obtained through front groups, spying, etc.

This frightening development was publicized by NewsMax and a few others some time ago. Time for an update. The problem has received scant mention in the mainstream media. So millions of Americans are blissfully unaware of it.

That may change. A leading U.S. senator, taking note of Bronson's comments (quoted in the Washington Times), has expressed interest to NewsMax in pursuing an investigation on Capitol Hill.

To put this in some perspective: If the Pentagon estimate is correct, there is a spy network in this country that – in numbers at least – surpasses even the Soviet penetration during World War II, when communist operatives were able to maneuver postwar strategy to the benefit of Joseph Stalin and stole atomic secrets before the rest of the world even knew of the Manhattan Project that developed the bomb.

Thomas Fleming, in his 2001 book, "The New Dealers' War," says that at the height of World War II, there were 349 Soviet agents ensconced in the halls of U.S. government agencies. Postwar congressional probes revealed that they had penetrated every government agency except the FBI.

And those were only the Soviet spies of which we are now aware. The recently revealed Venona papers indicated some have never been exposed. Whittaker Chambers, who exposed Alger Hiss and others, said that of the four spy rings in government that he himself knew about, he could identify members of only two of them. And that is only a part of the story.

Whereas that spying of 60 years ago concentrated most heavily on government, in 2005 spies for the Chinese Communist government are running – at a minimum – 2,000 so-called "private" companies, presumably with potential links to the U.S. government or to those who may have sensitive contracts with the government. That at least is the goal. This is spying that seeks to steal technology secrets for the express purpose of building a war machine that someday may be turned against us.

Or as Pentagon specialist Bronson put it in addressing the Bush School of Government in Texas, China has "an aggressive military modernization program, and we're concerned about the aggressive military modernization program, and that's probably going to be one of the biggest challenges in the counterintelligence and technology security world in the next ten years."

Obviously this leads to all kinds of questions, which I put to the Pentagon:

Pentagon spokesman Maj. Paul Swiergosz replies that "Ms. Bronson has nothing further to add on the record (or even on background)." However, she forwarded a three-year-old document that she deems "still relevant on this issue."

Testifying before the United States-China Commission in 2002, Bronson stated that the People's Republic of China (PRC) is "already one of the few countries that can threaten the continental United States." She went on to elaborate by noting China's poor record on proliferation; its current and growing inventory of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons; its "incomplete and inaccurate declarations" regarding biological weapons; its failure to acknowledge "the full extent of its chemical weapons program" even though it had ratified the Chemical Weapons Convention; and its attention to developing small nuclear boosters "able to launch satellites at a moment's notice in a contingency," just for starters.

As to what is being done to counteract the huge industrial spy network that China has in place right here on our own soil, Bronson( whose full title is Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Technology, Security Policy, and Counterproliferation) says that while "the number of Munitions List exports to China has been extremely small over the past several years," her colleagues at the Commerce and State departments have in place an export licensing system that provides the U.S. with "a useful set of procedures for controlling dual-use commodities that could be used for military purposes."

She also refers to Export Administration regulations to address commodities issues of military sensitivity, national security, nuclear proliferation, missile technology and chemical and biological weapons.

The under secretary says the Pentagon itself is alert to threats through the licensing process; implements "technology safeguards for U.S. launches of U.S.-built satellites of certain foreign ownership"; has re-established an agency reuniting the functions of technology security, counterproliferation and non-proliferation; and has a range of "political, economic, and diplomatic tools to prevent, constrain, or reverse the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction."

All very laudable as far as it goes, but it's not enough to enable alert China watchers to sleep better at night. Bronson's three-year-old statement still doesn't directly address the issue of the thousands of companies here at home that front for the PRC. No doubt a complete answer would include classified material, and there was a lot of information that she could not divulge.

Besides, publicly naming a company engaged in this activity would likely prompt it to shut down, only to reappear under another name. Then the intelligence chase starts all over again. Hopefully, all legal remedies are being pursued.

As to the latest military threat, even Sunday's New York Times, in its op-ed section, says the new PRC law/threat "is the just the latest attempt to prove that the [Communist] party [that rules China] will pay any price, including a war that might well involve the United States" to gain control of Taiwan.

The article quotes Jim Canrong, a foreign policy expert at the University of Beijing, as saying: "Our elites know China will have difficulty rising if the world worries about a new military threat. But China also cannot rise if Taiwan breaks away [with full formal independence]."

That gets us back to Harry Wu's blockbuster book, in which he says: "China will try to get Taiwan, too. It's inevitable. They are locked against each other like two plates of the earth, rocking and grinding, preparing for the earthquake. The Chinese cannot tolerate a thriving democracy run by the Chinese people directly across the water from them. Otherwise the mainland people will say, ‘Hey, how come they are so prosperous?'"

"Should the world be afraid of China? Of course, it should." Wu – who spent years in a Chinese slave labor camp – expresses worries about what will happen in "the next five or ten years."

The dissident adds: "It's not hard to see that communism as an ideology died many years ago. The Chinese people were the first to know this, but even the party leadership has caught on." He quotes then-Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping as saying he "does not care whether the cat is white or black so long as it catches mice. That's fine. But the United States and the rest of the world seem intent on providing the cheese to help the Communists catch the mice on their terms."

That goes to the whole issue of the economic assistance the U.S. and other industrialized nations give China through trade policies, the results of which you can see on the ubiquitous "Made in China" labels at your local shopping mall. That's an additional can or worms for discussion on another day.

For now, we can only pray that efforts behind the scenes to keep track of the 2,000 to 3,000 Chinese front companies are successful. Chinese spying in this country is not new, of course. Whistle-blower Notra Trulock, a former director of intelligence in the U.S. Department of Energy through the 1990s, outlines in his book

We would like to think security procedures have tightened in the Bush administration, but we can't really know. The threat is apparent. We can ignore it and "let the good times roll," as they say. We would be better advised to recognize that Communist China is every bit as much of a threat today as it was on September 10, 2001 – before 9/11 diverted our attention elsewhere.

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In passing the law, China ignored White House concerns that labeled the statement as "dangerous" and "unhelpful," adding thatthe threat to use "nonpeaceful means"upsets a status quothat has kept international diplomats walking on eggs for decades. Chinese dissident...
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Monday, 14 March 2005 12:00 AM
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