News and Commentary

After Serving As ‘National Security Aide,’ Ossoff Boosted Chinese Propaganda Arm
Jon Ossoff visits a campaign office to speak with volunteers and supporters on Election Day
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

In 2012, roughly two and a half months after he left the office of Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA), where he was reputedly given top-secret security clearance as a “national security aide,” current Democratic Georgia senatorial candidate Jon Ossoff tweeted that his followers on Twitter should read Xinhua News Agency, a Chinese Communist Party-run propaganda mouthpiece.

During his failed 2017 congressional campaign, Ossoff claimed he spent five years as a “national security aide” and bragged that he had been given “top-secret security clearance.” The Washington Free Beacon reported in March 2017, “The claim has been made in campaign ads, during campaign events, and even in his campaign announcement.”

Ossoff had that clearance for only five months. The Free Beacon noted that the Atlanta Journal-Constitution delineated the timeline for Ossoff:

January 2007: Ossoff starts in Johnson’s office as a part-time legislative correspondent, working 25-30 hours a week while attending Georgetown University.

May 2009: Ossoff graduates from Georgetown University.

Summer 2009: Ossoff spends time traveling before he returns to work as Johnson’s legislative assistant in August 2009.

January 2010: Ossoff is promoted to senior legislative assistant.

April to July 2010: Ossoff runs Johnson’s re-election campaign.

September 2010: Ossoff returns to Johnson’s Capitol Hill office.

March 2012: Ossoff receives a top-secret security clearance and staffs Johnson for work related to the National Defense Authorization Act.

Mid-August 2012: Ossoff leaves Johnson’s office.

The Free Beacon noted, “In July, Ossoff quietly disclosed receiving a payment from a Chinese-backed media giant, but has since refused to release private financial information from his foreign film company, Insight TWI.”

A State Department official said on February 18, 2020, of Xinhua News Agency:

We are designating five Chinese state-run media organizations as foreign missions.  That’s the Xinhua News Agency; China Global Television Network which falls under China Central Television, CCTV; China Radio International; China Daily Distribution Corporation; and Hai Tian Development USA, which is the distributor for the People’s Daily here in the United States. …

We’re making this designation based on the very indisputable fact that all five of these are subject to the control of the Chinese Government.  Obviously, the Chinese Communist Party has always had a pretty tight rein on media in general and state-run media in particular, but that has only further tightened since Xi Jinping took over.  Since he became general secretary, China’s Communist Party has reorganized China’s state news agencies and asserted even more direct control over them, both in terms of content, editorial, et cetera, et cetera.

In addition to the very clear state control of these media organizations, the PRC Government has also expanded its overseas media operations in recent years, including here in the United States.  … For Xinhua, this is an institution directly reporting to China’s State Council, which is the chief administrative authority of the PRC Government.  … And then just to reiterate, each one of these entities meets the definition of foreign mission under our Foreign Mission Act, which is to say they are either substantially owned or effectively controlled by a foreign government.

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