The espionage competition between the Communist country and the United States has intensified after a startling new study revealed that Chinese citizens have over 100 times entered top-secret U.S. military locations in recent years, frequently by pretending to be tourists. U.S. officials are extremely concerned by this disturbing news, and in 2022, FBI agents and Department of Defense officials will meet to discuss how to handle the growing threat of espionage.
Exposure of Espionage Incidents
Chinese spies have engaged in daring espionage operations, such as going undercover into a U.S. Army facility in Alaska, diving close to Cape Canaveral, and invading a missile launch site in New Mexico. Security officers typically use a scripted response when questioned by those who have been apprehended, pretending to be lost tourists.
The Wall Street Journal reports that these clandestine events have sparked concerns since the participants seem to be “pressed” into national duty. Even though a number have been caught, they are usually accused of trespassing in the area and given small fines and orders not to return. Rep. Jason Crow, a Democrat, claims that because trespassing violations are not covered by federal law, more thorough investigations are hampered.
Chinese Embassy Rejects Charges
The Chinese embassy in Washington, D.C. issued a statement strongly refuting the allegations, calling them “purely ill-intentioned fabrications.” The embassy asked American diplomats to give up on the Cold War mindset, stop speculating, and concentrate on fostering mutual trust between the two countries.
Uncovered U.S. Vulnerabilities
A few days ago, a group of Chinese nationals claimed to be staying at a Holiday Inn in Fort Wainwright, Alaska, which is not a popular tourist destination. The 11th Airborne Division of the United States Army is based at Fort Wainwright, which makes it a sensitive military site. These incidents highlight how susceptible American military installations are to espionage and penetration.
Former Senate Select Committee on Intelligence official Emily Harding describes the Chinese espionage operation as a numbers game, emphasizing their willingness to send out a sizable number of operatives. It is not often easy for the U.S. authorities to prove more than trespassing, even if only a few are caught. Those who stay under the radar may gather potentially important data.
Chinese Outrage Over Arrests Is Limited
Notably, compared to the response if a U.S. national were detained in a hostile foreign country, it is unlikely that a Chinese citizen imprisoned on espionage charges in the United States would cause much uproar in China. Chinese agents are now even more confident in their covert operations as a result of this dynamic.
Recurrent Incidents of Espionage
Consistent acts of espionage include Chinese nationals using drones for monitoring and breaking into missile sites near White Sands National Park in New Mexico. A group was caught in the waters near a military air station in Key West, Florida, while swimming and taking pictures. Three Chinese nationals received sentences in 2019.