OAN’s Elizabeth Volberding
1:50 PM – Tuesday, September 5, 2023
Chinese nationals posing as tourists have reportedly snuck onto United States military bases over 100 times in recent years with the intention of collecting sensitive information about the U.S., according to the FBI and Department of Defense (DOD).
The recent discovery has now sparked several federal investigations regarding accusations of spying.
American authorities believe that the Chinese government is forcing citizens into service so that they can report to Beijing and reveal certain security protocols at U.S. installations, according to a Wall Street Journal (WSJ) story.
Therefore, the growing habit of breaching into military bases poses a possible espionage concern.
Espionage issues refers to the discovery of secrets, especially political or military information of another country or the industrial information of a business.
The WSJ also stated that the Chinese nationals represented themselves as “lost tourists” who claimed they had reservations at on-base hotels. The report described how trespassers would often use rehearsed and scripted language when confronted by security officials.
These incidents allegedly took place in rural areas where tourism is scarce and far from a commercial airport, which intensified suspicions surrounding their true intentions.
An anonymous former Senate Intelligence Committee official explained to the WSJ that this type of low-level Chinese intelligence collection is likely a numbers game, meaning that the Chinese government is willing to send a large number of people to the U.S., assuming that if only a few are caught, it would be impossible for the U.S. authorities to establish any connected foreign wrongdoing beyond trespassing.
The former official added that similar actions of “brushing off” incidents such as trespassing would not be tolerated by Chinese officials if Americans were caught doing the same in China.
Representative Jason Crow (D-Colo.) of the House Intelligence Committee also expressed to WSJ that Congress could begin contemplating new legislation regarding the issue. He maintained that Congress should strengthen security measures at these sensitive sites, due to the rising number of breaching incidents that have been overlooked.
The majority of current trespassing laws are state and local laws, not federal laws.
“We need to work closely with our state and local partners to train them and equip them,” Crow stated. “Right now, they don’t know how to deal with it.”
An FBI spokesperson also responded to the WSJ report.
“The greatest long-term counterintelligence threat to our nation’s information and intellectual property is from China. The Chinese government is engaged in a broad, diverse campaign of theft and malign influence without regard to laws or international norms that the FBI will not tolerate,” the FBI spokesperson told Fox News. “In coordination with our defense and intelligence community partners, along with state and local law enforcement, the FBI is committed to protecting our national security and defense information from the Chinese government’s actions and ultimately, their efforts to undermine our democracy and those who defend it.”
Several U.S. officials informed WSJ that those responsible, referred to as “gate crashers,” included Chinese nationals who were captured a few years ago. They had entered a U.S. missile range in New Mexico and scuba divers were seen swimming in murky waters near a rocket launch site off Cape Canaveral in Florida.
Additionally, some Chinese nationals allegedly utilized drones in sensitive areas in order to get close, in-depth aerial images of key military facilities around the country. The Pentagon reported instances of individuals “speeding through security checkpoints.”
Other instances of trespassing includes Chinese nationals at the White House leaving their visitor tours in order to take photos of the grounds, communications equipment, and positions of Secret Service and other guards, according to U.S. officials.
Very few of these incidents had resulted in espionage charges.
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