[Leer en español]
A group of 17 House Republicans demanded Nancy Pelosi to have Democrat Eric Swalwell removed from the Intelligence Committee after his alleged relationship with a Chinese spy became known.
In a letter to Pelosi, who is Speaker of the House, the Republicans asked to “immediately remove” Swalwell from the Committee. They claim the Democrat hid his ties with Chinese agent Christine Fang for five years.
“Because of Representative Swalwell’s position on the House Standing Select Committee on Intelligence, his close interactions with Chinese intelligence services, however unintentional, are an unacceptable risk to national security,” the letter says.
The text recalls that the committee, of which the Democratic representative is a member, “handles some of the most sensitive information” that the U.S. government possesses; it is “critical information for our national defense,” the document states.
Swalwell’s double standard?
Republicans compared the current situation with Pelosi’s own criticism of former Attorney General Jeff Sessions, whom she called “unfit to serve” in 2017, after reports that he failed to disclose information to Congress from a couple of meetings with the Russian ambassador.
“Swalwell withheld information for five years from the House Intelligence Committee about an ongoing Chinese spy operation directed against him and his own colleagues,” the letter says. “Obviously, Representative Swalwell’s interactions with a Chinese spy were more dangerous and unusual than the AG Session’s meetings with a Russian diplomat.”
They also argued that Swalwell has used his position on the House Intelligence Committee to level attacks against “President Donald Trump’s unproven ties to Russia”; this while refusing to explain his own links to the Chinese spying report.
According to Fox News, Swalwell’s father and brother remained friends with Christine Fang on Facebook until reports of the connections surfaced last week. That, according to the media, probably gave China a stream of data to monitor for years, according to intelligence experts.
Fang used campaign fundraising, networking, rallies and romantic relationships with at least two Midwestern mayors to get closer to political power, and it was confirmed that the Chinese spy helped raise funds for Swalwell’s 2014 campaign.
After the “sexpionage” scandal was made public, Swalwell has yet to explain his relationship with the alleged Chinese spy.
Fang, who is now a fugitive from American justice, worked under the direction of the top-secret spy agency of the Chinese State Security Ministry.
The spy appeared on the Feds’ radar during surveillance of another suspected Chinese agent working as a diplomat at the San Francisco Consulate, a U.S. counterintelligence officer said.
The scandal comes days after U.S. intelligence officials warned that China had become the country’s top security threat.
“As director of National Intelligence (…) If I could communicate one thing to the American people from this unique standpoint, it is that the People’s Republic of China represents the greatest threat to the United States today, and the greatest threat to democracy and freedom around the world since World War II,” John Ratcliffe, Director of National Intelligence, said in his article published for The Wall Street Journal.