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PHILADELPHIA, PA- First we heard of the Department of Justice sending the FBI after school parents protesting at school board meetings.
Now comes word that the university which hosted the building where classified documents were found in November pressed the FBI to shut down a probe into ending a counterespionage program which was probing China’s increasing influence in American colleges and universities. Naturally, the FBI complied.
Investigative journalist John Solomon reports that the University of Pennsylvania, which houses the Penn Biden Center, a “think tank,” was the scene where classified documents from when Biden was vice president were found in early November.
However CBS News, which was told about the discovery, buried it until two months after the midterm elections. The university received $47.7 million from China in the three years when Biden was affiliated with it.
In February 2022, inept Attorney General Merrick Garland shuttered the FBI’s “China initiative,” a move that came shortly after over 160 members of the University of Pennsylvania faculty signed and publicized a letter demanding the program be shut down, claiming it amounted to “racial profiling.” The letter was only a portion of a much larger protest against the program.
“We acknowledge the importance to the United States of protecting both intellectual property and information that is essential to our national and economic security,” the letter, publicized on Feb. 9, said. “We understand that concerns about Chinese government sanctioned activities including intellectual property theft and economic espionage are important to address.
“We believe however, that the China Initiative has deviated significantly from its claimed mission: It is harming the United States’ research and technology competitiveness and it is fueling biases that, in turn, raise concerns about racial profiling.”
The University of Pennsylvania along with a number of far-left universities, including the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard, previously called upon the DOJ to shutter the program.
Law Enforcement Today has previously written about a Harvard professor who was convicted on six counts of lying about his ties to China.
A mere two weeks after the letter was sent, Garland terminated the program, which “sent shockwaves” through federal law enforcement.
As of today, the DOJ’s website still has a number of citations related to criminal cases the program had brought against members of the academic community who were working with China—some on espionage charges, while others were for failure to disclose foreign monies, which is required by law.
Only weeks before Garland scuttled the program, FBI Director Christopher Wray went to the Reagan presidential library where he gave a speech where he pleaded for the federal government to pay more attention to, and dedicate more resources to combating China’s increasing influence inside the United States.
He detailed cases where Beijing used university professors and other academics to carry out its bidding. Wray said China’s espionage had become “more brazen, [and] more damaging.”
“China’s government has the global reach and presence of a great nation, but it refuses to act the part and too often uses its capabilities to steal and threaten, rather than to cooperate and build,” Wray argued. “That theft, those threats, are happening right here in America, literally every day.”
Solomon said both the Justice Department and the University of Pennsylvania were contacted to determine if the university had in fact lobbied the DOJ directly; neither responded.
The ties between Penn and both China and the Biden family are longstanding. The former president of the university, Amy Gutmann was named by Biden in 2021 as the ambassador to Germany.
During her confirmation hearings in the US Senate, Gutmann admitted the university had taken money from Chinese interests, however claimed it didn’t affect the university’s values while also claiming the institution rejected the creation of a Confucius Institute on campus funded by entities tied to the Chinese communist government.
“What I do know, and what I make sure of, is that no gifts, no contracts, to the University of Pennsylvania are allowed to threaten academic freedom, are allowed to threaten national security. We do no classified research.”
However the university’s relationship with the communist nation has gained renewed interest after it was revealed this past week that classified documents from Biden’s time as vice president—which included top secret items and intelligence involving Ukraine and Iran—were discovered last year in Biden’s old office at the Penn Biden Center, where he worked from 2017 to 2019.
Under US law, only presidents are permitted to remove items after a determination as to their status as classified. Vice presidents are not permitted to do so.
In a strange turn of events, the White House claims the documents were found by lawyers cleaning out Biden’s old office. It was not disclosed why attorneys would be involved with cleaning out an office.
Perhaps it was based on the fact that with Republicans now running the House, Biden was concerned something of an embarrassing (or illegal) nature might be found.
Meanwhile, a number of news organizations reported on Wednesday, January 11, that additional classified documents had been found in a garage at Biden’s Delaware home next to a Corvette he owns, not under lock and key in a secure location.
According to the university, it didn’t solicit any donations for the specific purposes of funding the Penn Biden Center, saying it was funded out of their operating budget.
While he was employed at the center, Biden earned a tidy sum of money in the very high six figure range. He merely served as an honorary professor who didn’t teach classes, but merely made occasional appearances or lectures.
According to the National Legal and Policy Center (NLPC), a conservative watchdog group, the university reported collecting more than $67.6 million in donations and contracts from China between 2013 and 2019. That was based on disclosures made to the Department of Education. Of that sum, $47.7 million came in during the three years Biden was employed at the university, records show.
In fact, during the four months after Biden opened the center in February 2019, nearly $20 million poured into the university, including an anonymous gift of $14.5 million on May 28, 2018, according to a complaint filed by the NLPC in May 2020.
That complaint requested the department investigate all the Chinese fits to Penna and the Penn Biden Center, claiming the anonymous gifts were “in clear violation” of the Higher Education Act’s requirement that “all gifts or contracts exceeding $250,000 must disclose the foreign ownership and control of the gift or contract.”
“The University of Pennsylvania and the Penn Biden Center are particularly vulnerable to China government influences due to the large amounts of China donations and contracts,” the NLPC alleged in the complaint.
Earlier this week, the NLPC filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) complaint seeking “all documents, including but not limited to emails, text messages, communications, memoranda and photographs, that refer to the discovery and handling of classified and other presidential records that were in a closet at the Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement.”
In a statement to Solomon, NLPC counsel Paul Kamenar noted the University of Pennsylvania gets money from China, “either directly or indirectly.”
He also highlighted the fact that Hunter Biden got money “directly from an energy company.” He contrasted that with the anonymous donation received by UPenn, stressing that “actual donors should be disclosed. Not simply that it’s ‘from China.’”
NLPC filed a complaint with the Department of Justice in October 2020, alleging that the Penn Center had not registered as “foreign agents” under the Foreign Agents Registration Act, an allegation which the university denies.
Kamenar said the university has been “opaque” when confronted with the discrepancies.
“…it doesn’t take Sherlock Holmes to realize the money from China to the school is not going to Pennsylvania’s music department,” Kamenar said. “It’s going to UPenn’s international program, of which the Biden center is one of the top beneficiaries.”
Even more mysterious and a point identified by Kamenar is the fact that the classified documents ended up at the Penn Biden Center in the first place. This is because the center didn’t even open its doors until two years after Biden left the vice-presidency.
The White House has claimed Biden is vacating the Penn-Biden Center offices, which comes as a surprise to the leasing manager, who told Kamenar that he said the center still has 4-5 years left on its lease.
“Why would you have high powered attorneys be your movers?” Kamenar asked. “That’s a high price to pay for a mover. What were the lawyers doing there in the first place? I’d like to know their names.”
UPenn has numerous programs in China, which includes a number of international partnerships with Chinese institutions. That information is published on Penn’s website.
“Faculty from all of Penn’s 12 schools have reported over 350 research projects and instructional activities in China, including many of the projects presented at the annual Penn China Research Symposium.”
A number of security experts told Solomon’s outlet that the loss of the China Initiative, pressured by universities such as Penn, is a serious blow to the FBI’s ability to fight Chinese espionage threats currently working throughout the academic world.
“This may be the best $67 million investment the CCP has ever made,” retired FBI intelligence chief Kevin Brock told Solomon’s outlet.
“By donating a stunning amount of money to an American university with deep ties to Joe Biden, China was able to have a major impediment to its strategy of targeting American academic researchers across the country completely removed courtesy of Biden’s Attorney General Merrick Garland.
“Bottom line,” Brock continued, “the FBI’s China Initiative worked against a known national security threat. The idea that it was racially biased is absurd and certainly less so than the common practice of admissions discrimination against Asian American students so common in many Ivy League Schools.”
Meanwhile, former National Security Adviser John Bolton called the FBI shutting down the counterintelligence program was a “huge mistake.” He further said claims the program was racist were absurd.
“It obviously has nothing to do with race,” Bolton told Solomon on the John Solomon Reports podcast this week.
“There’s long been great relations between the people of China and the people of the United States. And the past 70-plus years, it’s been the communist government of China. That’s been the problem. And they’re the ones that were conducting the espionage. They’ve been all over American universities.”
The university connection however may be the least of it. Some members of Congress are concerned the Penn Biden Center and the Chinese bucks flowing into universities may have been part of a larger China influence operation targeting the Biden family.
In fact, US banks began flagging a number of Biden business initiatives with suspicious activity reports as reported to the Treasury Department starting in 2013. This began shortly after Hunter Biden joined his then-vice president father on a trip to Beijing which led to a number of lucrative overseas business dealings shortly thereafter.
While the center was being set up in the 2017-18 time frame, Hunter Biden was in the midst of negotiations with CEFC China Energy to route U.S. natural gas and energy assets to the Chinese.
That scheme included the Biden family scoring a $5 million, no interest, forgivable loan from Chinese sources. That information was contained in a document found on the infamous Hunter Biden laptop.
All of this was confirmed in documents obtained by Solomon as well as information released by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa).
Those documents showed that CEFC Beijing International Energy Company Limited understood the business arrangement would serve to greatly benefit the Biden family, referred to as “BD family” in emails.
Solomon reports that at least one of the classified documents found by Biden attorneys at the Penn Biden Center think tank offices involved intelligence on Iran, according to multiple media reports.
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