(PoliticalLookout.com)- A Chinese operative went to great lengths to try to gain access to some high-ranking politicians in California. One way she attempted to do so was by hooking up with a mayor of an Ohio town.
Axios issued a new report citing U.S. intelligence officials that said Christine Fang worked at the direction of the Ministry of State Security, which is the internal spy agency of China, between the years of 2011 and 2015. She apparently raised money for Representative Eric Swalwell of California and even went as far as planting an intern in his office.
The FBI caught Fang on electronic surveillance having a sexual encounter in a car with an unnamed mayor of Ohio. According to the U.S. official, the encounter was caught on tape because the car in which it happened was under electronic surveillance from the FBI.
According to the report, the mayor asked Fang why she like him. The alleged spy’s response was that she wanted to work on improving her English. That mayor could not be identified by Axios, nor could another older mayor “from an obscure city” in the Midwest who said Fang was his “girlfriend” back in 2014.
The spy also apparently goes by the name of Fang Fang. She is a Chinese national who was targeted local politicians in the Bay Area who were considered up-and-coming. The idea was to target these people before they “hit it big” on the national political scene, in hopes of gaining in-roads with them. That would then her them to gain access to major intelligence information once they did hit it big.
Fang gained her power in a number of ways. In addition to the sexual encounters, she apparently had personal charisma she used to woo people. She was big on raising money for campaigns and networking extensively.
U.S. officials don’t believe that any classified information was gained by Fang and then passed onto Chinese officials. At the same time, a U.S. intelligence official told Axios that the case “was a big deal, because there were some really, really sensitive people that were caught up” in that intelligence network.
Fang was able to collect some private information on government officials, but none of it was classified. This includes their schedules, rumors about them, their preferences and habits, as well as their social networks.
Fang’s biggest target was Swalwell, a Democratic representative in California. A Bay Area U.S. intelligence official said Swalwell’s office was aware of Fang’s political fundraising on behalf of his 2014 re-election campaign. They observed her activities, but didn’t find any evidence of illegal contributions being made.
Swalwell’s office issued a statement to Axios about the situation, saying:
“Rep. Swalwell, long ago, provided information about this person — whom he met more than eight years ago, and whom he hasn’t seen in nearly six years — to the FBI. To protect information that might be classified, he will not participate in your story.”
Once Swalwell became aware of the FBI’s concern, he immediately cut of his ties to Fang. He hasn’t been accused of doing anything wrong.
Fang apparently left the U.S. in the middle of 2015 while the investigation was ongoing.