Access by Chinese nationals to sensitive US websites prompts espionage threats

World News

Washington: According to the Wall Street Journal, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) of the United States has kept track of about 100 instances in which Chinese nationals gained access to American military bases and sensitive areas while posing as tourists.

The occurrences have been labelled as potential dangers from espionage by US officials.

In an effort to reduce these events, which involved “gate-crashers” who attempted to enter US military stations without official clearance, the Defence Department, FBI, and other agencies held a review last year, according to the WSJ story.

According to numerous officials who spoke to The Wall Street Journal recently, those responsible can include Chinese nationals who have been arrested entering a US missile range in New Mexico or scuba divers who have been discovered swimming in murky waters close to a federal rocket launch facility in Florida.

According to some authorities, the Chinese government occasionally compels its residents to test out the service and provide feedback on the security procedures used at the locations.

A representative for the FBI responded to the report by saying, “The greatest long-term counterintelligence threat to our nation’s information and intellectual property is from China.”

According to an FBI spokesperson speaking to Fox News Digital, “The Chinese government is engaged in a broad, diverse campaign of theft and malign influence without regard to laws or international norms that the FBI will not tolerate.”

The spokesperson continued, “The FBI is committed to protecting our national security and defence information from the Chinese government’s actions and, ultimately, their attempts to undermine our democracy and those who stand up for it. We do this in coordination with our defence and intelligence community partners, as well as state and local law enforcement.

Apparently, a group of Chinese nationals recently arrived to Fort Wainwright, Alaska, claimed to have reservations at a for-profit hotel on the post, and they attempted to get past security, according to Fox News citing the Wall Street Journal.

Notably, the US Army’s 11th Airborne Division, which specialises in Arctic combat, is based at Fort Wainwright.

“The Department’s first concern continues to be the security of our locations. In response to the revelation, a representative for the Defence Department said: “Physical security standards for our bases take into consideration a wide variety of potential threats, including attempted spying by our adversaries.”

The statement continued, “We collaborate with regional, state, and federal law enforcement authorities, the intelligence community, and our international allies to secure our military bases against these threats both domestically and internationally.

Since 2018, the Department of Defence (DoD) “has conducted several base security reviews, some of which included support by interagency partners,” the spokeswoman added. “Among other aspects of base security, a recent study focused on the state of our gates’ physical security. The findings of the reviews have and will continue to guide modifications to our bases’ defensive positioning.

“DoD performs almost 10,000 ‘controlled turnarounds’ of people who enter at one of our 1400 gates every day. These people cannot enter the installations and cannot leave them without first obtaining unauthorised access, the spokeswoman for the Defence stated.

Officials informed the Wall Street Journal that the accidents took place away from a commercial airport and in rural areas where tourism is less popular. They claimed that Chinese people frequently speak in what authorities described as scripted ways, claiming to be tourists who got lost when confronted.

According to a former member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, this kind of low-level Chinese intelligence gathering is more of a numbers game because China is willing to send many people to carry out the collection because it knows that if a few are caught, it will be difficult for the US government to show anything wrong beyond trespassing.

The WSJ said that since a few years ago, there have been repeated occurrences at an intelligence facility headquartered in Key West, Florida, involving Chinese nationals who were discovered swimming in the area’s seas and snapping pictures.

CHINESE NATIONALS ACCESSING SENSITIVE US SITES

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