Are Chinese Spies Living Among Us?

10:29 PM, Mar 19, 2013   |    comments
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WASHINGTON (WUSA9) -- You could pass them at a restaurant. You could stand behind them in line at the supermarket. Some say Chinese spies are among us, and they could be stealing our secrets and our jobs. 

It's an underworld you rarely get a glimpse into. This week, we learned about two separate possible cases of espionage. 

They could be targeting the kind of technology that lets cameras scour cities from above, or maybe the kind of controversial surveillance that makes unmanned drones such a filibuster-filled, hot-button issue. 

John Logsdon is the former Director of the Space Policy Institute at George Washington University, and he agrees, "It's well-known that China has a worldwide, full press to get information wherever they can."

Republican Congressman Frank Wolf says the FBI arrested Chinese national and NASA contractor Bo Jiang over the weekend at Dulles Airport and found undeclared items such as a "laptop, an old hard drive, and a sim card." 

The FBI is now "investigating conspiracies and substantive violations of the Arms Export Control Act," according to the arrest warrant. 

Jiang had a one-way ticket and the FBI is looking into what was on those hard drives. 

Wolf says a whistle blower approached him about Jiang. 

"I am particularly concerned that this information may pertain to the source code for high-tech imaging technology that Jiang has been working on with NASA. This information could have significant military applications for the Chinese Peoples Liberation Army."

Federal authorities arrested Benjamin Bishop, a 57-year-old defense contractor and former Army officer, on Friday. 

They say he allegedly handed his 27-year-old Chinese girlfriend classified info regarding nuclear weapons and even how the U.S. detects ballistic missiles. 

Are these two cases of espionage? Logsdon says it's not certain, but it could be.

"China wants to be one of the world's leading powers, they're a competitor to the U.S. in military and economic political terms, so if indeed, this is an act of espionage, and I don't know if it was, it's a matter of concern. I think about 50 years ago, if this was a Soviet agent and the Cold War was going on, we'd be very nervous about it. In the 21st century, it's China rather than the Soviet Union that seems to be our biggest threat."

Congressman Wolf is a watchdog on this issue and he breaks down what this means to you. 

"Here you have taxpayer money given to NASA. They then give it to a Chinese spy, who is stealing with technology, that had national security implications, and also would mean the loss of thousands of jobs potentially from our country."

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