As Americans look out at the world around them, it is becoming increasingly simple to recognize the threats that our nation, (and democracy as a whole), face in the 21st century. In fact, we can easily single out a handful of other countries whose goals run counter to the goals of free people everywhere.
Now, the FBI and other international intelligence agencies are naming names, and suggesting that one far east superpower may be attempting to undermine our electoral process altogether.
Speaking alongside his British counterpart in London, FBI Director Christopher Wray issued his starkest warning yet about the national security threat to the West from China, even as intelligence officials in Washington released a report about Beijing’s efforts to influence state and local politics in the U.S.
In a first-ever joint appearance Wednesday with the director of Britain’s MI5, the U.K.’s domestic intelligence agency, Wray raised the possibility that China might be inching closer to invading Taiwan, noting that Beijing has been taking steps to shield its economy from sanctions that would come after such a move.
“In our world, we call that kind of behavior a clue,” he said, adding that were an invasion to happen, “it would represent one of the most horrific business disruptions the world has ever seen.”
And that wasn’t all:
Not long after the two officials spoke in London, the U.S. National Counterintelligence and Security Center — which is part of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence — made public an unclassified bulletin warning of a broad effort by China to influence state and local government officials in the U.S.
“Some of the goals of [Chinese government] influence operations in the United States are to expand support for [People’s Republic of China] interests among state and local leaders and to use these relationships to pressure Washington for policies friendlier to Beijing,” the report says. “Leaders at the U.S. state, local, tribal, and territorial levels risk being manipulated to support hidden [Chinese government] agendas.”
The report says China offers free trips to state and local officials, seeks to exploit city-to-city partnerships and dangles economic investments in front of struggling localities, as long as they support Beijing’s interests.
The news comes as China continues to push a number of extreme views on the world stage, threatening the west shoudl anyone look to intervene in their inevitable annexation of Taiwan.