The news stopped me short. Biden’s Justice Department is dropping five major espionage cases against likely Chinese spies – researchers charged with intelligence operations against American universities and labs. We know the practice is common, jeopardizes national security, and deterrence is vital. Why drop the cases initiated a year ago – one scheduled for trial this week? Good question.
Court filings say prosecutors got cold feet. Why? Because FBI analysts got cold feet. Why? Reportedly, they did not think the “value of the cases” was high. Really? Prosecuting Chinese spies? At a time when China is pushing all fronts, space and maritime to cyber, trade, and military?
Fallback, FBI felt maybe rights against self-incrimination not been properly briefed. Really? None confessed, none went without a lawyer, and none disgorged – by all indications – inculpatory evidence. So, where is the constitutional issue, harm, error, particularly since non-briefing details are vague?
Yes, after they had lawyers, some admitted lying, Chinese military affiliations, stealing information. Do you recall this case back in 2020? Most should; it was a major rupture in US-Chinese relations at a time when Trump was pushing China on trade.
What happened? The US ordered China to close its Houston, Texas consulate, specifically for aiding a nationwide espionage scheme, seeking to penetrate US universities and research facilities, steal sensitive data, and return it to China.
Was that a big deal? Are you kidding? China shut a US consulate, and relations hit a 30-year low. Beyond that, as the Wall Street Journal reported, “more than 1000 Chinese military-affiliated researchers” immediately departed the US. Interesting, eh?
These Chinese military personnel, each a potential infiltrator, had reason to leave. Espionage penalties in the US top out at life in prison. By example, 19 USC section 793 carries a penalty of “imprisonment for up to ten years” as well as a “$25,000 fine” for espionage. Despite this, “a senior Justice Department official said the punishment … usually amounted to around a few months.” So, the idea is, “oh well”?
Another Justice official said, “recent developments” prompted “the department to re-evaluate the prosecutions.” Very curious. “Recent developments,” like perhaps a presidential election, change of power in the executive branch, new US attorney general? Cryptically put, the DOJ spokesman said: “We have determined that it is now in the interest of Justice to dismiss them.”
So, just wondering: Are China’s interests now “the interests of justice,” the way Mr. Fauci is now “science,” and coincidentally, his “science” aligns with China’s interests in avoiding COVID culpability? But I digress…
On these dropped federal cases, other oddities. A long-winded FBI memo, attached to the filings, meanders until concluding lies told to avoid identification as Chinese military agents have nothing to do with “the illicit transfer of US technology to China.” Interesting conclusion.
Honestly, the memo gets comic, as if reading a Tom Stoppard play or the British comedy “Yes, Minister.” How? It says that, while some of the accused spies are on the lam, not all are accused of tech transfer (but other crimes), leading FBI’s China Tech Transfer Analysis unit (which may be due for retirement) “to determine that scrutiny of this indicator did not yield heretofore-unknown instances of technology transfer.” What? Yes, possibly guilty, but not guilty enough, and who cares?
Then another Biden Justice Department spokesman piped up to offer the FBI memo did not reflect the government position, as it was “preliminary in nature,” and might “misapprehend certain facts …” The Justice position eventually devolves into nonsense, saying internal disagreements arose into whether the Chinese communist military is a “direct analogue” to anything in the US, arguing that a Chinese spy is not necessarily part of the military because they “wear a uniform.” Gosh, I had not thought of that.
What else? Well, how about these two facts. First, diehard Democrat and co-author of the Obama Iran nuclear (go ahead and build them) deal, now Deputy Secretary of State, Wendy Sherman – is headed for high-level talks in China this week. It might be inconvenient to be trying Chinese spies. And Biden is as pro-China as any president since Nixon, who arguably did not know better.
In short, Biden Justice Department looks more political every day, and not just anti-First, Second, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, and Tenth Amendment, but now pro-China. With such conviction, what could go wrong? Forgive the sarcasm, but this news stopped me short. Biden’s Justice Department is dropping five major espionage cases against likely Chinese spies – why? The question remains unanswered.
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