Let’s do a thought experiment. Suppose in 2023 we are informed that 5 years earlier, in 2018, a top staffer of California Rep. Devin Nunes was discovered to be a Russian spy. And this Russian spy had been working for Nunes ever since he entered the Congress. We are told further that after this spy was discovered, he was quietly forced into retirement. These events stay successfully buried for five years. When the story breaks in 2023, all the news stories are very careful to never reveal the Russian spy’s name or his present whereabouts.
Would that story strike you as being exceedingly strange?
Well we’re only all just now discovering this is exactly what happened with Diane Feinstein (D-Calif.) in 2013, when a trusted staffer who had been with her in California for almost 20 years was revealed to have been a Chinese spy. As both Politico and CBS’s local San Francisco affiliate reported, this was quietly handled at the time with no publicity whatsoever, with Feinstein forcing the spy into retirement.
No media outlet will publish this Chinese spy’s name or his current employment or location, which is most curious. And there’s no mention of his ever having been arrested for spying on a member of Congress who held a key intelligence post in the Senate for much of this time, including having held the Chair of the Senate’s Select Committee on Intelligence [SSCI] at the time he was finally caught.
Maybe I’m old fashioned but I remember when getting caught spying for a foreign power on U.S. soil got you arrested or at least expelled from the country. All that happened to this guy from the news reports I’ve looked at is that…he was forced out of a job.
Oh? Is that how this is supposed to work? You get caught spying on a U.S. Senator for a foreign power like the Russians or the Chinese, and, look out, you’ll lose your job on that Senator’s staff?
This revelation of how Sen. Feinstein was compromised like this while she was holding one of the most sensitive U.S. intelligence jobs in the country raises a whole host of important questions that I don’t see anyone addressing thus far.
Who was supposed to vet her staff? The claim is advanced in the CBS News story that Senator Feinstein’s California staff is completely separate from her Washington staff, so her California staff did not need to be vetted for security clearances, but this doesn’t answer the point. Anybody getting this close to a Senator with such an important job gets vetting. How’d they miss this guy?
CBS & Politico report that the spy who was on Feinstein’s CA staff for almost 20 years was only interested in local California political information and that after he was discovered it was determined that he never accessed or stole anything of any real value. How do they know this? Because the same people who hid this stuff from the public for five years told them?
“Investigators reportedly concluded the driver hadn’t leaked anything of substance and Feinstein forced him to retire.” is how CBS News affiliate KPIX put it in it’s online report. Well who reported that to KPIX? Were these sources on the record or were they anonymous? The Chinese had a key spy at Senator Feinstein’s elbow for 20 years and they were content with him leaking exactly NOTHING of any substance to them?
Perhaps my naturally skeptical nature is asserting itself too strongly here, but I’m having trouble buying this. The Chinese would leave an asset that close to a key U.S. Senator for almost two decades while patiently waiting for him to finally cough up something to them of real value?
Even if you accept the idea there was a strict segregation between Feinstein’s California staff (no security clearances necessary!) and her Washington staff, if the Chinese could penetrate the California staff with such depressing ease for such a long length of time, what measures have been undertaken to ensure there’s no embedded Chinese or Russian spy at her elbow in Washington right now?
Also, if they caught this spy 5 years ago but hey, he never gave anything of substance to Chinese intelligence, why was this kept quiet since 2013? You’d think they’d make a very public example out of this guy.
Kind of like the example that Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s prosecution team is currently making out of supposed Russian spy Marina Butina. Or does that kind of thing only happen when it’s a Russian and there’s a Republican in the White House?
This whole Chinese spy story smells to me like somebody knew this information about Feinstein was about to come out anyway, and it’s an attempt to do damage control by handing it to friendly outlets in advance so it can be massaged and spun to minimize the fallout.
August is certainly turning out to be a very interesting month.
Brian Cates is a writer based in South Texas and author of “Nobody Asked For My Opinion … But Here It Is Anyway!” He can be reached on Twitter at @drawandstrike.
Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.