US Frustrated It Has No Spies Close To China's Xi: Report

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by Tyler Durden
Friday, Nov 12, 2021 - 10:00 PM

Authored by Dave DeCamp via,

According to a report from Bloomberg, the US is frustrated it doesn’t have spies within the inner circle of Chinese President Xi Jinping, making it harder for the US to know what China plans to do next.

The report cited anonymous US officials and John Bolton, the ultra-hawk who served as President Trump’s national security advisor. It said the US lacks "top-tier" intelligence on China due to Beijing’s success in breaking up CIA spy rings in recent years and due to a lack of Chinese speakers employed by US intelligence agencies.

Image: AP

"Those officials, who asked not to be identified discussing sensitive issues, say China is becoming a harder target, more opaque, just as the demand for insights into Xi’s decision-making is soaring and tensions with the U.S. are heating up over issues from Taiwan to high technology," the report reads.

Bloomberg writes further of multiple major instances where the agency was caught off-guard:

That reality comes after officials in both the Trump and Biden administrations said they were surprised by Beijing’s rapid moves to consolidate control of Hong Kong, project military power across the South China Sea, limit probes into the origins of Covid-19, undercut Chinese companies going public in the U.S. and ramp up hacking against adversaries.

In an effort to correct the lack of intelligence, the CIA has established a new spy center to focus exclusively on China. Announcing the new center, CIA Director William Burns said China was the "most important geopolitical threat" facing the US in the 21st century.

The sources who spoke to Bloomberg said the new spy center is more symbolic and hope to see the CIA back it up with more spending and staffing. As part of its plan to focus more on China, the CIA plans to recruit more Chinese speakers.

In a July interview with NPR, Burns said he is considering deploying "Chinese specialists" around the world, as the agency did during the Cold War with the Soviet Union.

"During the Cold War, both at the State Department and at CIA, we rightly forward-deployed Soviet specialists to help make sure that we could compete effectively. I think the same is true and this is one of the things that I’m exploring right now, to forward-deploy China specialists," Burns said.