Top Republicans on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on Monday requested a briefing from the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) following a report alleging a female Chinese intelligence agent had cozied up to California Democrat Rep. Eric Swalwell for years after he was elected to Congress and served on the House Intelligence Committee.
In a letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray, the committee’s top Republicans Reps. James Comer (KY); Jody Hice (GA); Glenn S. Grothman (WI); Michael Cloud (TX); Chip Roy (TX); and Mark E. Green, M.D. (TN) expressed concerns that a Chinese Communist Party (CCP) agent had targeted a member of Congress on the sensitive Intelligence and Judiciary Committees to gain access and influence.
They wrote in the letter:
According to media reports, the CCP intelligence operative known as Fang Fang had developed extensive relationships with elected officials at every level of government, including a Democrat U.S. Congressman. U.S. intelligence officials believe Fang Fang’s operation was orchestrated by the CCP’s primary civilian spy agency, the Ministry of State Security (MSS), between 2011 and 2015. The operative targeted primarily Democrat politicians in the San Francisco area, but also around the country. Fang Fang gained influence through campaigning, fundraising, and cultivating romantic relationships with elected officials and their staff. This allowed her to learn these officials’ habits, schedules, and preferences, potentially to share this information with the MSS.
Depending on the total number of active CCP operatives and the breadth of the MSS operation across our country, any number of elected officials could potentially be compromised without even knowing it. Therefore, to help us better understand the depth and breadth of CCP influence in government institutions, as well as the FBI’s efforts to investigate and affirmatively combat CCP efforts, please schedule a staff level briefing on this issue by December 21, 2020.
Axios last week reported that the alleged Chinese spy, Christine Fang or “Fang Fang,” developed extensive — and even romantic — ties with local and national Democratic politicians, including Swalwell, as part of a years-long political intelligence operation.
Swalwell, a member of the House Intelligence Committee, was one of the most vocal promoters of the Russia collusion hoax, where Democrats pushed that the Trump campaign had colluded with Russian agents during the 2016 election.
Fang’s ties to Swalwell began when he was a councilmember for Dublin City, California, between 2010 and 2012, according to Axios. She became a fundraiser for Swalwell, which reportedly raised concerns at the time over whether donors she brought in were legally permitted to donate. Fang also placed at least one intern into Swalwell’s congressional offices.
Amid a widening federal investigation, investigators became so alarmed by her behavior and activities that around 2015 they alerted Swalwell to their concerns via a defensive briefing, prompting Swalwell to immediately cut off all ties to Fang, according to Axios. Fang left the country unexpectedly in mid-2015.
Ranking Member Comer said in a statement:
On our own soil, Chinese Communist Party intelligence operatives are strategically implementing new, creative ways to gain access and influence. We already know that the CCP seeks to infiltrate our academic institutions, allowing China to spew propaganda and potentially steal America’s intellectual property. Unfazed, the CCP is now targeting our most distinguished institutions and high-profile government officials.
Just this past week, it was revealed that a U.S. Representative with access to sensitive information developed a close relationship with an undercover Chinese spy. We must ensure Members of Congress remain uncompromised from the attempts of our adversaries to plunder classified intelligence and influence American leadership. Going forward, understanding the scope of the CCP’s whole operation is critical to combating and preventing any future attempts to undermine our U.S. government institutions.
Earlier this year, Comer and House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Jim Jordan (R-OH) and Education and Labor Committee Ranking Member Virginia Foxx (R-NC) asked six American universities to provide all records of donations from foreign governments, in order to disclose monetary ties to the CCP.
Fang had used her position as a student organizer at California State University East Bay to gain access to Swalwell and other California politicians.