Retired CIA officer: China has countless espionage operatives trying to romance, compromise American politicians

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WASHINGTON,D.C.-We at Law Enforcement Today recently reported on how the FBI had briefed Eric Swalwell about him getting a little too close to a suspected Chinese spy back in 2015

During a recent appearance on Fox News, a retired CIA Senior Clandestine Services Officer said that this likely isn’t an isolated matter and suspects there are more Chinese espionage operatives trying to hone in on up-and-coming political figures here in America.

Daniel Hoffman is the former CIA officer who alleged the aforementioned, saying the following: 

“I can say with a high level of confidence that there are many more of these women out there. China’s MO (modus operandi) is to flood the zone.”

The debacle that was recently unveiled pertained to a woman named Christine Fang, also known as Fang Fang, who was said to have operated stateside from 2011 to 2015, essentially functioning as what one might call a “honey trap”. 

For those unfamiliar with the term “honey trap,” many have likely seen the “honey trap” trope used in the likes of films and espionage fiction novels.

Typically “honey traps” involve some sort of operative zeroing in on a target believed to have information or resources beneficial to their respective group, mission, government, and the ilk. The way these “honey traps” get close often is by feigning a romantic interest or relationship. 

Pretty much one of the most used plot elements in the James Bond film series. 

Intelligence experts reportedly can’t detail an exact number of these sort of espionage operatives currently working to compromise individuals stateside, but experts estimate it could range from the hundreds to thousands. 

Experts say these “honey traps” often blend in at some of the country’s top universities, speak flawless English, and will often begin targeting their marks via Facebook and LinkedIn. 

But experts also say that these sort of operatives aren’t just trying to hone in on the proverbial big fish,  some have also been trained to spot and draw in rising talents. 

That was the case with Swalwell.  His office did admit to him and Fang having met “more than eight years ago,” prior to Swalwell having ever been elected to public office.

Yet in 2013, he’d become elected to the House of Representatives.  Fang was said to have even helped fundraise for his reelection efforts. 

Swalwell was said to have cut the relationship with Fang off after purportedly being informed by the FBI of Fang’s suspected ties with China.

While the exact nature of their relationship wasn’t divulged, apparently it was alarming enough for the FBI to deliver Swalwell a defensive briefing. 

Hoffman further explained what type of information a “honey trap” would be interested in when closing in on someone about to rise into the political ranks in America: 

“The goal is to become a trusted individual with who can share information. The spy here would have wanted to learn everything she could about his personality, every little detail of his leadership style to build a profile.

“The idea here is to latch on to someone like a Swalwell when they are a junior and make contacts. It is much harder to do that when someone is already big and well-known. [Fang] recognized that.”

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From what Hoffman detailed, these sort of espionage operatives will use just about anything they can to compromise and effectively place their targets under their proverbial thumb: 

“The goal is to get the target into a compromising position, usually with photos or video evidence of their indiscretions…Once compromised, they are told to cooperate, or else their actions will be disclosed and they’ll be divorced, lose their government clearance and their job, etc.”

Experts say that operatives are also known to not just only close in on their main targets, but also attempt to befriend individuals like aides, junior staffers, and interns of their respective target to gather a more complete profile on their mark. 

A former U.S. intelligence official conveyed under anonymity that while the practice of employing “honey traps” has been “glamorized” by the Russians, it’s the Chinese that have perfected the tactic: 

“The honey trap technique has been glamorized by the Russians over the years, but the Chinese are the ones who have really been stepping up their game.”

This former U.S. intelligence official noted that the Chinese used to work on entrapping the likes of wealthy businessmen, but have since redirected to targeting politicians: 

“It has only been in more recent years that it has been targeted toward the more political side of the house…And it is much easier trapping a politician than a CEO making millions, who has a lot more that money can buy.”

Jamie Williamson, the CEO of Global Executive Management and a former U.S. military counterintelligence specialist, also explained that the “honey traps” aren’t always acting as a spy on their own terms. 

Williamson said that the Chinese often try to find ways to compromise and compel some of their own into operating in these espionage efforts: 

“We don’t always know if they are just doing it for the money, sometimes their families back in China could be threatened. Or they are being targeted in their own blackmail scheme if they don’t deliver.”

When commenting on the recent unveiling of Swalwell’s intermingling with a suspected Chinese spy, Hoffman said that he should be speaking more publicly about it to create better awareness of these sort of “honey traps”: 

“The Chinese have a very ubiquitous presence here and the only way to prevent it is through education and awareness. Instead of saying ‘No comment,’ Swalwell should be doing a public service announcement – warning others to be vigilant.”

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