Roughly 100 Incidents Where Chinese Nationals Tried To Access U.S. Military, Sensitive Sites: Report

Pose as tourists who got lost, later report back to Chinese government
Matt McClain/The Washington Post via Getty Images

According to federal officials, a potential spying threat has been posed by Chinese nationals posing as tourists who tested the security of military bases as well as other sensitive sites — and roughly 100 reported incidents have occurred.

The officials explained that quite often the incidents occur in rural areas where tourists are not typically found, and the nationals address the security guards with what appears to be scripted language, not normal discourse. When they are stopped, they insist they have simply gotten lost.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the Defense Department and FBI joined other agencies to study the issue, finding that the Chinese nationals were required to transmit the information they found back to the Communist Chinese government.

“The advantage the Chinese have is they are willing to throw people at collection in large numbers,” Emily Harding, a former deputy staff director at the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, told the Journal. “If a few of them get caught, it will be very difficult for the U.S. government to prove anything beyond trespassing, and those who don’t get caught are likely to collect something useful.”

Some of the Chinese nationals gained unauthorized access to military bases “by speeding through security checkpoints,” Sue Gough, a Pentagon spokeswoman, admitted, adding, “These individuals are often cited criminally, barred from future installation access and escorted off-base.”

When the Journal contacted the Biden White House and the Department of Homeland Security, they declined to comment.

“The relevant claims are purely ill-intentioned fabrications,” Liu Pengyu, a spokesperson for the Chinese Embassy in Washington, declared, snapping, “We urge the relevant U.S. officials to abandon the Cold War mentality, stop groundless accusations, and do more things that are conducive to enhancing mutual trust between the two countries and friendship between the two peoples.”

One case involved Chinese nationals who said they were tourists attempting to force their way past guards at the military base in Fort Wainwright, Alaska, the home to the Army’s 11th Airborne Division. Chinese nationals have reportedly repeatedly photographed the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico, the largest overland military test range in the U.S.

Chinese nationals were reportedly found swimming near a Key West, Florida, military facility. They claimed they were tourists. Other Chinese nationals seemed to be scuba diving near Cape Canaveral, where spy satellites are sent into space, according to the Journal.

Last February, the U.S. military used an F-22 Raptor using a single air-to-air A9X sidewinder missile to bring down a Chinese spy balloon off the coast of South Carolina.

In early June, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Turner (R-OH) told ABC News’ “This Week,” “What we’re seeing is an unbelievable aggression by China. If you look at the balloon that flew over the United States, the Chinese police stations, the aggressiveness against our both planes and ships in international water, it goes right to the heart of what President Xi said when he stood next to Putin in Russia, where he said, they’re trying to make change that had not happened in 100 years.”

“When you have, for example, a balloon that transits all across the United States, and the administration doesn’t respond until the game’s over, until it’s over the Atlantic, you start — and when you have police stations that have been operating within the United States, that took forever in order for them to take action, you get this sort of sense of permissiveness, that I think the administration needs to step up and make clear that China has identified itself as an adversary, and we’re going to treat it as such,” he added.

Related: ‘Unbelievable Aggression By China’: House Intel Chairman Responds To Chinese Military Provocations Against U.S.

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