Chinese Spy Ops on U.S. Soil Soar Under Biden, GOP Rep Says

Biden admin 'unable to protect the United States from CCP espionage'

Chinese spy balloon over Montana / Reuters
September 21, 2023

Chinese spy operations on U.S. soil have soared under the Biden administration, the Republican chair of Congress's Select Committee on China told the Washington Free Beacon, citing scores of espionage operations targeting American military bases.

"It is worrying that the Biden administration continues to be unable to protect the United States from Chinese Communist Party (CCP) espionage," Rep. Mike Gallagher (R., Wis.), chair of the House Select Committee on China, told the Free Beacon. "The CCP flew a spy balloon across the U.S., hacked senior U.S. cabinet officials, and sent spies to our most sensitive military sites, yet the Biden administration remains committed to failed diplomatic and economic engagement."

The uptick in these incidents is generating fears on Capitol Hill, with Gallagher expressing concerns the Biden administration is doing little to fortify the country’s most sensitive sites against potential spy rings.

"There is a growing trend of persons working on behalf of the Chinese Communist Party to obtain sensitive information about America's military, economic, and technological secrets," Gallagher and several other Republicans on the committee wrote in a letter sent earlier this week to the FBI and Pentagon.

Chinese citizens "have gained or attempted to access military bases and other sensitive sites at least one hundred times over the past few years," according to the committee, with potential Communist agents even infiltrating "a U.S. Army test range" and gaining access to "numerous missile sites." Likely spies have also "used drone technology to surveil" military bases, and in another case, "individuals were found scuba diving in a location home to a launch site for U.S. spy satellites and other sensitive military equipment."

In addition to China’s apparent focus on sensitive U.S. military sites, there are additional and "ongoing efforts to collect intelligence on the White House—including its layout, security, and communications equipment."

The uptick in these surveillance operations includes a closely watched January incident in which a Chinese-owned spy balloon traversed the entire continental United States before being shot down by the military. The balloon, it was later disclosed, collected sensitive data from American military sites, with its movement closely focused on these bases.

The incident drew widespread criticism in Congress, with GOP officials saying the Biden administration refused to provide them with timely information about the national security situation.

Amid these espionage campaigns, senior Biden administration officials have taken several trips to China in a bid to thaw relations with the Communist regime. But these overtures have done little to stop the CCP from sending spies into America.

Prior to Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo’s trip to China in August, she and "several other senior U.S. officials were hacked by individuals in China," according to the congressional committee.

The Biden administration’s ongoing charm offensive with Beijing "will not work today," Gallagher said. "Enough is enough. That’s why I have requested Defense Secretary [Lloyd] Austin and FBI Director [Christopher] Wray provide a briefing to the Select Committee and provide answers."

The Select Committee on China called for a classified briefing on China’s spy operations as well as a rundown of the CCP’s latest espionage operations. The committee wants a host of documents related to a 2018 security review conducted by the Pentagon about military base security.

A briefing, they say, will help the lawmakers "better understand how the DoD and FBI are protecting against these threats to U.S. military sites."