Behind the Bust of China’s Brash New York Spy Base
The US has been slow to crack down on Beijing's harrassment of pro-democracy advocates here, says former CIA and DoD Chinese espionage expert Nicholas Eftimiades
On Monday, April 17, the feds announced the arrest of two men on charges that they helped set up a secret police outpost in New York City on behalf of the Chinese government. More than three dozen officers with China's national police force were also charged with using social media to harass pro-democracy, anticommunist Chinese inside the United States.
Nicholas Eftimiades, a former CIA, Pentagon and State Department expert on Chinese espionage, tells SpyTalk that the busts were long overdue.
“I know there are certain arrests that were made months ago that the FBI was told about 10 years ago,” Eftimiades told me in this week’s SpyTalk podcast. “I grant that sometimes these investigations take time….and that the Bureau may in fact not have known about” that particular secret police outpost prior to research and investigations done by private groups last year, he said. But “they have moved aggressively on it since that time.”
The Chinese secret police, specifically, the 12th Bureau of the Ministry of State Security, has “been working against dissidents, democracy advocates, religious organizations and nonprofits abroad for decades,” Eftimiades said, “not only in the United States, but globally for decades with the communist party hunting people.”
Meanwhile, China is not the only authoritarian state spying on and harassing dissidents here. Our so-called friends do it, too.
“Egypt and Saudi Arabia, both U.S. allies, use threats, physical surveillance, hostage-taking and prosecutions to try to silence dissidents and rights activists on U.S. soil, according to evidence presented in a report released this week, The Washington Post’s Claire Parker reported on Wednesday.
The report came from the Freedom Initiative, a nonprofit rights organization founded by Egyptian American advocate Mohamed Soltan, Parker wrote. The group found that “Cairo and Riyadh have ‘become more innovative and emboldened’ in carrying out transnational repression — the targeting of critics abroad,” Parker reported.
Last July, SpyTalk reported on how Egyptian, Chinese, Russian, Cuban, Turkish and Israeli agents were constantly seeking to develop sources in U.S. state and local police to help them track down dissidents here. And they too often succeed in finding police officers willing to betray their oaths.
Hear more about China’s covert ops to harass dissidents here on the SpyTalk podcast, via our home at MSW Media or wherever you typically listen. And do leave a comment. We love to hear from our listeners.
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