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For over a year, Axios has been investigating a suspected Chinese intelligence operative who cultivated extensive ties with local and national U.S. politicians, including a sitting congressman.

Today, we present a special episode: the story of the alleged intelligence operation, which offers a rare glimpse into the lengths Beijing will go to access U.S. political circles.

Guests: Axios' Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian, Axios Codebook author Zach Dorfman of the Aspen Institute, former Cupertino, Calif. Mayor Gilbert Wong, former CIA intelligence official Rodney Faraon and Alameda County chief-of-staff Shawn Wilson.

Credits: This story was edited by Alison Snyder, Scott Rosenberg and Sara Goo. This special podcast episode was produced by Dan Bobkoff and Carol Wu and mixed by Alex Sugiura. Special thanks to Mike Allen, Qian Gao and Naomi Shavin.

Go deeper ... Exclusive: Suspected Chinese spy targeted California politicians

Go deeper

Updated Jan 21, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Off the rails: Episode library

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The first line of the Axios Manifesto is "Audience First." That's why we created our unique Smart Brevity style to get you smarter, faster, on topics that matter. But it also means we won't shy away from important stories that are worthy of more detail and more of your time, like our Deep Dives, Axios Investigates and now this deeply reported series, "Off the rails.” 

If you're in a hurry, check out the highlights:

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
19 mins ago - Economy & Business

Scoop: Red Sox strike out on deal to go public

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The parent company of the Boston Red Sox and Liverpool F.C. has ended talks to sell a minority ownership stake to RedBall Acquisition, a SPAC formed by longtime baseball executive Billy Beane and investor Gerry Cardinale, Axios has learned from multiple sources. An alternative investment, structured more like private equity, remains possible.

Why it matters: Red Sox fans won't be able to buy stock in the team any time soon.