William Evanina, chief of the counterintelligence branch at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) said Wednesday that Chinese agents have dramatically ramped up their efforts to influence presumptive President-elect Joe Biden’s incoming team. Evanina’s remarks came at a virtual discussion at the Aspen Institute.
According to the BBC, Evanina said China had been attempting to meddle in the U.S. efforts to develop a coronavirus vaccine as well as the recent American elections.
Earlier DNI had issued a statement concluding that the Intelligence Community (IC) assessed that China favored a Joe Biden win, and a Trump re-election loss. The DNI statement from August noted China’s efforts began long before the election and involved undermining President Trump:
We assess that China prefers that President Trump — whom Beijing sees as unpredictable — does not win reelection. China has been expanding its influence efforts ahead of November 2020 to shape the policy environment in the United States, pressure political figures it views as opposed to China’s interests, and deflect and counter criticism of China. Although China will continue to weigh the risks and benefits of aggressive action, its public rhetoric over the past few months has grown increasingly critical of the current Administration’s COVID-19 response, closure of China’s Houston Consulate, and actions on other issues.
But now, on Wednesday, Evanina added that China’s current unprecedented effort toward the Biden Team was an influence campaign “on steroids.”
He continued, according to BBC: “We’ve also seen an uptick, which was planned and we predicted, that China would now re-vector their influence campaigns to the new [Biden] administration.” Evanina went further, saying:
And when I say that, that malign foreign influence, that diplomatic influence plus, or on steroids, we’re starting to see that play across the country to not only the folks starting in the new administration, but those who are around those folks in the new administration.
Meanwhile, this massive Chinese influence operation toward Team Biden ties into the many questions surrounding Joe Biden’s son Hunter and his business associates’ connections to the communist Chinese regime which I have detailed previously.
And as I recently wrote, this Chinese influence effort also connects to the national security concerns about several of Biden’s cabinet picks’ links to WestExec Advisors, a pro-China consulting firm co-founded by Biden’s Secretary of State nominee Antony Blinken, and one of Biden’s possible picks for Secretary of Defense — Michèle Flournoy.
Biden’s pick for DNI Director — Avril Haines was also a principal at WestExec. Suspiciously, that company scrubbed its website in August (just as Biden became the Democrat nominee for president) of all information detailing its successful efforts connecting Chinese entities to Pentagon-related research in the United States.