Chairmen Green, Pfluger Probe DHS, DOD, FBI Response to Chinese Foreign Nationals’ ‘Gate-Crashers’
September 19, 2023
‘[W]hile we continue to witness the CCP operating below the threshold of traditional conflict to deceive the U.S., the Biden-Harris administration displays weakness on the world stage inviting further aggression by the CCP’
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, House Committee on Homeland Security Chairman Mark E. Green, MD (R-TN) and Subcommittee on Counterterrorism, Law Enforcement, and Intelligence Chairman August Pfluger (R-TX) sent a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director Christopher Wray probing the agencies’ response to threats from the Chinese Communist Party identified in aWall Street Journal exclusive, which reported that Chinese foreign nationals, sometimes posing as tourists, have attempted to access U.S. military bases and other sensitive U.S. sites as many as 100 times in recent years.
Read more in the Wall Street Journal.
In the letter, the Chairmen state,“These reports indicate that these intrusions, which U.S. officials describe as a form of espionage, seem designed to test security practices at U.S. military installations and other U.S. government sites. For instance, some Chinese nationals were reportedly detected crossing into a U.S. missile range in New Mexico and others were caught disguised as scuba divers swimming close to a rocket-launch site in Florida—a site used for surveillance satellites and other sensitive military purposes. Subsequently, these Chinese nationals report back to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) about what they learn.”
The Chairmen continue, “In another case, while claiming they were ‘tourists,’ a group of Chinese nationals attempted to physically bypass security guards at Fort Wainwright, Alaska, asserting they had reservations at a hotel on the military base, which is a strategic location for U.S. homeland defense and houses the U.S. Army’s 11th Airborne Division. These encounters appear more than so-called innocent mistakes by foreign nationals on American soil. In fact, in June 2020, three Chinese foreign nationals were sentenced to prison for illegal photography of military sites at the U.S. Naval Air Station in Key West, Florida.”
The Chairmen conclude, “These persistent and multi-faceted threats posed by the CCP to U.S. homeland security have only intensified under the Biden-Harris administration. It is curious that while we continue to witness the CCP operating below the threshold of traditional conflict to deceive the U.S., the Biden-Harris administration displays weakness on the world stage inviting further aggression by the CCP. Our concerns are only further heightened in light of the Wall Street Journal’s recent reporting about Chinese nationals posing as tourists to gain access to U.S. sensitive sites. To assist the Committees’ oversight of the broad threats posed by the CCP to U.S. homeland security, and to examine your respective and collective Department’s efforts to fully mitigate these brazen activities, please provide the following documents and information as soon as possible[.]”
Read the full letter here.
Today’s letter continues the Committee’s rigorous oversight of the Biden administration’s processes for identifying, investigating, and mitigating numerous threats from the CCP. In May, Subcommittee Chairman Pfluger and Subcommittee on Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Protection Chairman Andrew Garbarino (R-NY) sent a letter to Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) Director Jen Easterly requesting a briefing on the threats posed by the CCP to the information and communications technology (ICT) supply chain, in which they request more information regarding CISA’s efforts through the Federal Acquisition Security Council (FASC) to protect against the CCP’s use of source code in infiltrating and maintaining access to ICT supply chains.
In May, Chairman Pfluger also held a hearing to assess the U.S. homeland’s vulnerabilities to CCP aggression that featured testimony from DHS and FBI witnesses, who confirmed the CCP is the gravest long-term threat to the integrity of U.S. intellectual property and critical infrastructure, that it uses Confucius Institutes to steal American academic research, and the CCP uses a wide array of tactics, techniques, and procedures to spread its malign influence on U.S. soil. In March, Chairman Pfluger led a subcommittee hearing examining CCP threats with testimony from national security experts.
In April, Chairman Mark Green and Subcommittee Chairman Pfluger sent a letter to Secretary Mayorkas and FBI Director Wray requesting information on the CCP’s clandestine ‘police stations’ uncovered in New York City and reportedly elsewhere in the country, which violate our nation’s sovereignty by suppressing Chinese dissidents living in the U.S., conducting surveillance, and spreading CCP propaganda.
In February, the Chairmen led a letter calling for a briefing from the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) and DHS on the possible compromising of homeland equities by the Chinese surveillance balloon that infiltrated U.S. airspace for several days in early February and was capable of conducting intelligence collection operations.