Chinese Spy Infiltrated NY Police Department and U.S. Army Reserves

Felton Davis via Wikimedia Commons

As I have previously noted, there appears to be a heightened risk of Chinese nationals, and those of Chinese background, betraying the U.S. intelligence services and committing espionage on behalf of China. Adding to that threat, we now see a Chinese intelligence officer falsely claim asylum to join both the U.S. Army Reserves and NY Police Department (NYPD) to spy for China.

A 33-year-old NYPD officer and US Army reservist with a “secret” security clearance, was arrested on Monday and accused of spying for China, reported Business Insider. According to the complaint by federal prosecutors initially obtained by CBS New York, Baimadajie Angwang became a naturalized US citizen after seeking asylum under the claim that he had been arrested and tortured in China “due partly to his Tibetan ethnicity.”

However, the complaint states, both of his parents are actually Chinese Communist Party members and his brother is a reservist in the People’s Liberation Army. To make matters worse, according to the complaint, Angwang violated immigration laws to enter and remain in the U.S., initially entering on a cultural exchange visa, before overstaying a second visa, and then seeking asylum. 

The New York Post reported that all three of Angwang’s relatives still live in China, and he has “traveled back to the PRC [People’s Republic of China] on numerous occasions,” something that should have sent up numerous red flags to law enforcement.

Federal prosecutors said in their complaint, according to Business Insider, that Angwang spied on Tibetan- Americans living in New York and offered Chinese officials access to NYPD officials and information about the department. The complaint adds that Angwang told his handler in a recorded conversation in 2019: “Must bring glory to the Chinese.”

But Angwang didn’t only do it for Chinese glory, according to CBS New York, Angwang was also paid nearly $120,000 by wire transfer from the Chinese government since 2016.

In a separate statement cited by Business Insider, FBI Assistant Director of New York William Sweeney Jr. called Angwang “the definition of an insider threat,” adding, “Angwang operated on behalf of a foreign government; lied to gain his clearance, and used his position as an NYPD police officer to aid the Chinese government’s subversive and illegal attempts to recruit intelligence sources.”

While traitors and spies come in all shapes and sizes, and most are as “American as apple pie,” this and the many other cases recently uncovered, highlight that having familial and or cultural links to communist China poses a serious counterintelligence threat.

Sadly, that risk has often been deliberately downplayed for political reasons. This danger increased dramatically during the eight years of the Obama-Biden administration as politically correct policies against ‘bias’ and ‘racial profiling,’ were forced on the FBI, military, and intelligence community.

It is long past due for local state and federal law enforcement, as well as the Intelligence Community and Pentagon, to revise their views and policies on Chinese nationals, espionage, and the “insider threat.”

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Paul Crespo is the Managing Editor of American Defense News. A defense and national security expert, he served as a Marine Corps officer and as a military attaché with the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) at US embassies worldwide. Paul holds degrees from Georgetown, London, and Cambridge Universities. He is also CEO of SPECTRE Global Risk, a security advisory firm, and President of the Center for American Defense Studies, a national security think tank.

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