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DOJ Charges Chinese Spies Attempting to Access U.S. Secrets

The Justice Department announced charges against 13 people, including suspected Chinese intelligence officers, in three separate cases that involve alleged plots to advance Chinese interests in the U.S., NPR reports. The prosecutions are the latest example of efforts to combat what U.S. officials say is a relentless effort by Beijing to steal American secrets and technology. "As these cases demonstrate, the government of China sought to interfere with the rights and freedoms of individuals in the United States and to undermine our judicial system that protects those rights," said Attorney General Merrick Garland. Two of the cases were filed in federal court in the Eastern District of New York. In one, two suspected Chinese spies are charged with trying to obstruct a federal investigation into an unnamed China-based telecommunications company.

Defendants Guochun He and Zheng Wang are accused of attempting to direct a U.S. law enforcement employee to obtain confidential information about witnesses, trial evidence, and any new potential charges against the company. The defendants believed they were stealing information from the prosecution by providing thousands of dollars in Bitcoin payments to the official. Instead, the official was a double agent who was passing false information under the FBI's supervision. Wang and He are charged with one count of obstruction of an official proceeding and two counts of money laundering. In the second case, seven Chinese nationals allegedly working for the Chinese government were indicted for taking part in a years-long campaign of threats and harassment to force a U.S. resident to return to China. Garland said the defendants were part of the Chinese government's extralegal effort known as "Operation Fox Hunt," which aims to track down alleged fugitives abroad and return them to China. Four people, including three alleged Chinese intelligence officers, are charged with conspiring to act as illegal agents in the U.S.


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