America has had its share of Chinese communist spies and traitors, but now some national security experts are concerned by news that Israeli security services have uncovered a network of rogue operators and traitors that may have been selling advanced cruise missiles to Beijing. Due to Israel’s strict media gag rules and censorship laws regarding issues of national security, it is impossible to confirm that China was the recipient of these sophisticated weapons, but it appears likely.
According to The Times of Israel, the Shin Bet, Israel’s equivalent to the FBI, and Israeli Police announced Thursday that “some 20 suspects have been investigated in recent months for allegedly illegally developing, manufacturing, testing and selling armed cruise missiles to an unnamed Asian country. While unconfirmed, that ‘Asian country’ appears to be the People’s Republic of China.
The Times reported that in a statement, the Shin Bet said the rogue network:
…included former defense industry employees and the alleged crimes included offenses against the security of the state, violations of the law on the supervision of security exports, money laundering, and additional economic offenses.
The defense industry employees are likely connected to Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), the nation’s top defense firm. As part of its announcement, Israeli Police released a video in a Tweet apparently showing an illegal missile test carried out in central Israel in 2019. Police said the rocket was fired “not far” from residential neighborhoods.
1/3 בחודשים האחרונים נחקרו מעל 20 אזרחים ישראלים, בהם יוצאי התעשיות הביטחוניות, בחשד שעסקו בפיתוח, ייצור, ביצוע ניסויים ומכירת טילים משוטטים חמושים עבור מדינה באסיה שלא כדין. מהחקירה עלה כי קיבלו הנחיות לפעולה מגורמים הקשורים באותה מדינה, בתמורה לקבלת כספים וטובות הנאה pic.twitter.com/LhevCiNocg
— משטרת ישראל (@IL_police) February 11, 2021
The cruise missiles have been reported as being “armed loitering missiles,” also known as “suicide drones.”
One independent journalist emphasized Israeli concerns that these weapons could get to Iran via North Korea, stating that:
The Israeli report on the case also notes the fear by the Shin Bet that the stolen technology could end up in the hands of an “enemy state.” My source told me that Israel is most worried about it falling into the hands of Iran or North Korea, both of which have commercial and military ties to China.
It recently announced a long-term deal with Iran involving sales of oil to China in exchange for commercial products and military technology. It’s possible Israeli counterintelligence officials are worried that China could sell the missiles themselves, or the technical specifications which would permit Iranian engineers to copy the Israeli system.
As the Times added, the Shin Bet said: “This affair underscores the potential damage to the security of the state inherent in illegal transactions carried out by Israeli citizens with foreign elements, including the concern that such technology could reach countries hostile to Israel.”
And, we should add, also reach enemies of the United States.