A year-long investigation into Chinese espionage in the United States revealed that a Chinese spy managed to forge several strong, well-connected ties to multiple state and national politicians, including Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA).
Fang Fang, also known as Christine Fang, used personal charm, campaign fundraising efforts, extensive networks of associates, and even sexual relationships with two Midwestern mayors to gain information and influence.
U.S. intelligence does not believe that Fang ever came into contact with or shared classified information. Still, she was able to gather a great deal of political intelligence like schedules, rumors, and habits of lawmakers and power brokers.
Swalwell appears to have been Fang’s highest ranking target, though her activity ceased in 2015 when an FBI investigation into her behavior was launched.
In July of this year, FBI Director Chris Wray spoke about the “highly sophisticated” Chinese efforts to bring havoc to America’s political culture.
“[Chinese efforts include] subversive, undeclared, criminal, or coercive attempts to sway our government’s policies, distort our country’s public discourse, and undermine confidence in our democratic processes and values,” Wray said.
Although Fang has not been operating in the U.S. since 2015, revelations about her involvement demonstrate Beijing’s continued interest in disrupting American politics.