Driving Ms. Feinstein – Media glosses over Dianne Feinstein’s Chinese spy

Driving Ms. Feinstein – Media glosses over Dianne Feinstein’s Chinese spy

by Becket Adams

| August 07, 2018 05:18 PM

Kudos to the journalists who have reported that Sen. Dianne Feinstein, Democrat -California, employed a staffer with connections to Chinese spying. But why this issue hasn’t gotten wall-to-wall coverage is anyone’s guess.

The best information that we have on this story comes from Politico and the San Francisco Chronicle, the latter of which reports that the staffer, who worked the senator’s San Francisco office, “was fired a few years back” after the spy connection was uncovered.

“[T]he FBI showed up at Feinstein’s office in Washington, D.C., about five years ago to alert the then-chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee that her driver was being investigated for possible Chinese spying,” the San Francisco Chronicle’s Aug. 1 story added, citing “a local source.”

The story noted, “Besides driving her around when she was in California, the staffer also served as gofer in her San Francisco office and as a liaison to the Asian-American community, even attending Chinese Consulate functions for the senator.”

To be clear: Feinstein was the chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee at the time of the staffer’s uncovering.

Politico’s July 27 report stated separately that the former staffer, who apparently never held a security clearance, as is the norm for Feinstein’s California staff, reported back to Chinese handlers about “local politics.”

“[A] staffer in Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s San Francisco field office was reporting back to the [China’s Ministry of State Security]. While this person, who was a liaison to the local Chinese community, was fired, charges were never filed against him,” Politico noted, citing four former intelligence officials, one of whom reasoned that no charges were filed because the former staffer provided the Chinese with “political intelligence and not classified information.”

The report added, “The suspected informant was ‘run’ by officials based at China’s San Francisco Consulate, said another former intelligence official. The spy’s handler ‘probably got an award back in China’ for his work, noted this former official, dryly.”

The FBI’s official conclusion was that the staffer didn’t divulge “anything of substance,” the Chronicle reported.

“They interviewed him, and Dianne forced him to retire, and that was the end of it,” the paper’s source said. “None of her staff ever knew what was going on. They just kept it quiet.”

You’d think that with the media’s intense concern about foreign influence in U.S. politics that the Feinstein story would get a bit more traction in newsrooms. Considering the size and scope of China’s (often successful) spying efforts in the U.S., you think American media would be at least slightly interested in knowing more about how the MSS successfully compromised a staffer for the then-chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee. You’d be wrong.

The DiFi Spy story has gotten minimal play in U.S. media since being highlighted on July 27 by Politico, according to data compiled by TVEyes:

Foreign infiltration of American institutions is a very serious problem. But some meddling is more serious than others, apparently.

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