For many it is not surprising to hear that the Chinese government is improving its intel and disinformation tactics within the US. After all, the US contains perhaps the highest concentration of anti-communist and anti-socialist people in the world (living side by side with extreme leftists, of course). The US has also been a relatively safe place for Chinese dissidents to voice their criticisms of the CCP, until recently.
An active DHS agent and a Department of Human Services agent along with at least three other suspects now face official indictments for “acting as Chinese agents” while spying on dissidents and vocal critics of the CCP while living in the US. Agents divulged personal information on activists including passport information on one man's daughter.
Though the case was first revealed by the Department Of Justice in May, the greater details have only been recently revealed.
The news arrives on the heels of a renewed push by the US government to have Tik Tok removed from Big Tech app stores because of data on American citizens being consistently accessed by the CCP. The sophistication of China's 4th Generation warfare measures is growing and their interest has been specifically in manipulating public opinion in the west.
The Chinese disinformation campaign to blame the US and Fort Detrick for the Covid-19 virus and the pandemic comes to mind. Many Americans (and likely paid disinfo agents) were spreading the propaganda despite the fact that there was zero evidence of Fort Detrick as the source and extensive evidence that the area near the Wuhan Virology Lab was ground zero. While gain of function research on covid viruses was indeed paid for by US backers including the NIH, the Wuhan lab continues to remain a place of interest in investigations on the cause of the outbreak.
The increase in Chinese information warfare suggests the CCP is seeking a global reach rather than merely remaining isolated from the western world, and one has to question if these actions are a precursor to some other agenda. China's interest in subsuming Taiwan has only grown stronger the past two years, and Joe Biden has suggested that if Taiwan is invaded the US would respond militarily. Furthermore, an economic war is seething under the surface between China and the US, as China shows full trade support of Russia during their invasion of Ukraine.
The Chinese have been experimenting extensively with “social credit systems” and the use of social media as a weapon to monitor and control its own citizenry. This idea is obviously being tested in the US as well, but there appears to be a growing overlap between US government surveillance and the surveillance of foreign entities on American citizens.
Silencing dissent is the goal, and using American citizens as well as American government officials as a means to suppress activists makes perfect strategic sense. The message is: You are not safe from us, even in the “land of the free.”
The disturbing trend may herald an era of digital hitmen who stalk critics of various governments and who seek to make their lives miserable. It is not so much the reality of the threat as the idea of the threat – Maybe they will try to harm you, maybe they won't, but the fear is always in the mind of the target.
In the meantime, Americans need to take far more interest in the quality of the people being allowed into bureaucratic positions within our government. Or, maybe we need to question the need for the bureaucracy to exist at all. This latest story reminds us that Americans not only have to worry about corruption from within, but also corruption from without.