Oct 24, 2022 - Politics & Policy

DOJ reveals double agent sting operation against Chinese intelligence officers

Attorney General Merrick Garland on Oct. 24. Photo: Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Department of Justice on Monday unsealed charges in three different criminal cases against Chinese intelligence officers.

Driving the news: "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," Attorney General Merrick Garland said on Monday.

  • "They did not succeed," he added.

The big picture: Among the charges unsealed Monday, Garland said two intelligence officers allegedly obstructed a criminal prosecution against a global telecommunications company based in China.

  • Gouchun He and Zheng Wang "allegedly orchestrated a scheme to steal files and other information" from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York related to the investigation of the telecommunications company, per the DOJ.
  • "This was an egregious attempt by PRC intelligence officers to shield a PRC-based company from accountability and to undermine the integrity of our judicial system," Garland said Monday.
  • "The complaint alleges that in 2019, the defendants directed an employee at a U.S. government law enforcement agency to steal confidential information about the United States," Garland said.
  • "The defendants believed that they had recruited the U.S. employee as an asset, but in fact, the individual they recruited was actually a double agent, working on behalf of the FBI."

What they're saying: "The cases unsealed today take place against a backdrop of malign activity from the People's Republic of China," Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco said.

  • "That includes espionage, harassment, obstruction of our justice system and unceasing efforts to steal sensitive us technology."

Editor's note: This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

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