[ISN] Why the Chinese ‘spies’ the White House sent home were the wrong ones

http://blogs.reuters.com/great-debate/2015/09/02/why-the-white-house-sent-the-wrong-chinese-spies-home/ By William Johnson blogs.reuters.com September 2, 2015 With Chinese President Xi Jinping’s state visit rapidly approaching, a testy exchange between American and Chinese officials over undeclared Chinese law enforcement personnel operating on U.S. soil will likely add to the friction between the two powers. According to the New York Times — and confirmed by China’s state-run Xinhua News Agency – the Obama administration told China to stop using members of its Ministry of Public Security to seek out Chinese citizens who had fled to the United States with large amounts of allegedly ill-gotten cash — and then pressure the embezzlers to return home. While the United States has cooperated in other extradition cases, it refused to allow Chinese law enforcement officials to use threats and coercive tactics to get the fugitives to “voluntarily” return to China. Despite the fact that China has subsequently recalled these operatives, Beijing will continue to maintain a large and very active espionage presence in the United States. While some media outlets have referred to the departing individuals as “spies,” they are actually police officers. The actual spies aren’t going anywhere, and expelling these officers will have virtually no impact on China’s spying in the United States. While events like the recently disclosed hack of the Office of Personnel Management get most of the media attention, China’s human intelligence operations are extensive and arguably more damaging, as they can involve not only intellectual property, but sensitive military information. Recent espionage cases against Chinese operatives show that the efforts are massive, well-planned and persistent. […]