CIA Puts a Public Target on China's Back
The story behind the spy agency's unusual p.r. move, plus inside dope on a Secret Service burnout report
In this week’s SpyTalk podcast, Washington Post intelligence and national security reporter Shane Harris breaks down the CIA’s reasons for summoning reporters to trumpet the rollout of its new, multidisciplinary China Mission Center. It was quite an unusual event for a, you know, spy service.
“The message from them was that there’s no other country that cuts across every mission and concern that the agency has in the way that China does, from the operations folks to the analysts to the science and technology people…” Harris told me. “And I think they just wanted to get this message across loud and clear…that China is the new USSR, the new main enemy, and I think that bringing us in there to foot-stomp that was all part of the rollout.”
Harris and I also took a whack at the case of the Navy engineer and his wife, dubbed “peanut butter spies” (for one of their creative dead-drop techniques), who have been charged with trying to sell nuclear submarine secrets to an unnamed foreign power.