Focus in Spygate Scandal Shifts to CIA, Former Director Brennan

More than two and a half years after President Donald Trump assumed office, focus on actions taken during the 2016 presidential campaign is starting to shift toward the CIA and its former director, John Brennan.

While some observers, including this publication, have pointed out for more than a year that Brennan appears to have played a key role in the scandal that’s become known as Spygate, actions taken by Brennan and the CIA now appear to have become a central focus of investigators.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) told Fox News’ Maria Bartiromo that Justice Department (DOJ) Inspector General (IG) Michael Horowitz was “doing a very in-depth dive about the FISA warrant application” and “the behavior regarding the counterintelligence operation.”

Graham noted that he believed Horowitz’s report would be coming out in “weeks – not days, not months” and would prove to be “ugly and damning regarding the Department of Justice’s handling of the Russian probe.” Graham noted that the IG’s report has been delayed because “every time you turn around, you find something new.”

Graham said he wants the IG’s report to be as declassified as possible in order for the “American public to hear the story.”

Graham said that prosecutor John “Durham will be looking at criminality, did somebody violate the law” and Horowitz “will be telling us about the good, the bad, and the ugly, and what should be done internally,” and went so far as to mention exploring a possible restructuring of the DOJ.

Toward the end of the segment, Bartiromo asked Graham: “Who do you think is the mastermind of this. Whose idea was it to insert Donald Trump into Russia meddling?”

Graham responded, “You know, I really am very curious about the role the CIA played here. We know that the FISA warrant application was based on a dossier prepared by Christopher Steele, who was biased against Trump, that was unverified. That’s one problem. But this whole intelligence operation — what role did the CIA play.”

Graham then went a step further, asking: “Who knew about this in the White House? Here’s a question: Was President Obama briefed on the fact that they were opening up a counterintelligence investigation against the Trump campaign? I’d like to know that.”

Bartiromo, who noted that Brennan was running the CIA at that time and would have likely provided the Obama briefing, asked Graham if he was going to call Brennan to testify before Congress. Graham responded somewhat cryptically, saying only, “We’ll see.”

Brennan’s Role

Brennan appears to have played a key role in establishing the FBI’s counterintelligence investigation into the Trump campaign—including making repeated use of questionable foreign intelligence.

Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper personally confirmed foreign intelligence involvement during congressional testimony in May 2017:

Sen. Dianne Feinstein: “Over the spring of 2016, multiple European allies passed on additional information to the United States about contacts between the Trump campaign and Russians. Is this accurate?”

James Clapper: “Yes, it is, and it’s also quite sensitive. The specifics are quite sensitive.”

Brennan has testified to Congress that any information, specifically “anything involving the individuals involved in the Trump campaign was shared with the bureau [FBI].” Brennan also admitted that it was his intelligence that helped establish the FBI investigation:

“I was aware of intelligence and information about contacts between Russian officials and U.S. persons that raised concerns in my mind about whether or not those individuals were cooperating with the Russians, either in a witting or unwitting fashion, and it served as the basis for the FBI investigation to determine whether such collusion [or] cooperation occurred.”

Focus on Intelligence Role Prior to FBI Probe

John Solomon of The Hill, who has extensively covered the Spygate scandal, told Bartiromo in an interview that he was hearing that “John Durham and Bill Barr are focused on the part before the FBI officially got started on July 31, 2016. The period of March to July and whether intelligence assets—Western, private, or U.S.—were deployed in an earlier effort to start probing the Trump campaign and its Russia ties. Maybe lay the breadcrumb trail of evidence that Christopher Steele then collected up and gave to the FBI.”

Solomon noted that when Attorney General Barr said, “I believe there was political surveillance going on,” this was likely what he was referring to.

This focus on the spring of 2016 is particularly interesting given that during this time, Brennan appeared to have employed the use of reverse targeting on members of the Trump campaign. Reverse targeting refers to the targeting of a foreign individual with the intent of capturing data on a U.S. citizen. During an Aug. 17, 2018, interview with MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, Brennan said:

“We call it incidental collection in terms of CIA’s foreign intelligence collection authorities. Any time we would incidentally collect information on a U.S. person, we would hand that over to the FBI because they have the legal authority to do it. We would not pursue that type of investigative, you know, sort of leads. We would give it to the FBI. So, we were picking things up that was of great relevance to the FBI, and we wanted to make sure that they were there—so they could piece it together with whatever they were collecting domestically here.”

As this foreign intelligence—unofficial in nature and outside of traditional channels—was gathered on members of the Trump campaign, Brennan began his process of feeding his gathered intelligence to the FBI. Repeated transfers of foreign intelligence from the CIA director helped push the FBI toward establishing a formal counterintelligence investigation.

Role of Joseph Mifsud

Solomon also discussed the role of Joseph Mifsud, the individual who told Trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos in March 2016 that Russia had Hillary Clinton emails. Solomon noted that he had recently interviewed Stefan Roe, Mifsud’s lawyer, who told him that Mifsud “had long worked with Western intelligence” and “he was asked to connect George Papadopoulos to Russia, meaning it was an operation, some form of an intelligence operation.”

As Solomon noted, this would mean that the “flashpoint that started the whole investigation was, in fact, manufactured from the beginning.” Solomon also noted that “both John Durham and two different committees in Congress have recently reached out to get this evidence from the lawyer, which includes an audiotaped deposition that Mr. Mifsud gave his lawyer before he went into hiding.”

Bartiromo closed by asking Solomon the same question she put to Graham, “Who do you think is the mastermind?” Solomon responded in a similar fashion to Graham, noting, “I think the CIA. We have to take a closer look at them. We’re starting to see some sign of it.”

Role of UK Intelligence

Luke Harding, a journalist for The Guardian, had previously reported on the early involvement of UK intelligence and their interaction with the U.S. intelligence community, noting that Britain’s Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) was engaged in collecting information on the Trump campaign and transmitting it to the United States beginning in late 2015:

“In late 2015, the British eavesdropping agency GCHQ was carrying out standard ‘collection’ against Moscow targets. … The intelligence was handed to the U.S. as part of a routine sharing of information,” Harding wrote in an article on Nov. 15, 2017.

Additionally, in the summer of 2016, Robert Hannigan, then-head of GCHQ, traveled to Washington to personally meet with CIA Director Brennan:

“That summer, GCHQ’s then head, Robert Hannigan, flew to the U.S. to personally brief CIA chief John Brennan. The matter was deemed so important that it was handled at ‘director level,’ face-to-face between the two agency chiefs,” Harding reported.

Around the same time, Brennan formed an inter-agency task force comprising an estimated six agencies and/or government departments. Brennan appeared to describe the task force formation during the Aug. 17, 2018, interview with MSNBC’s Maddow:

Maddow: So, it’s an intelligence-sharing operation between …

Brennan: Right. We put together a Fusion Center at CIA that brought NSA and FBI officers together with CIA to make sure that those proverbial dots would be connected.

FBI’s Mid-Year Exam Team Shifts to Trump Probe

By the spring of 2016, the Clinton email investigation was winding down. This was due in large part to the fact that the DOJ, under Attorney General Loretta Lynch, had decided to set an unusually high threshold for the prosecution of Clinton, effectively ensuring from the outset that she wouldn’t be charged.

In order for Clinton to be prosecuted, the DOJ required the FBI to establish evidence of intent—even though the gross negligence statute explicitly doesn’t require that.

It was at this same time that Trump campaign adviser Papadopoulos had his April 26, 2016, meeting with Mifsud, followed a few weeks later with his ill-fated meeting with Australian diplomat Alexander Downer in May. The meeting with Downer, then Australia’s high commissioner to the UK, was established through a chain of two intermediaries.

Downer’s conversation with Papadopoulos was reportedly disclosed to the FBI on July 22, 2016, through Australian government channels, although it also may have come directly from Downer himself via the U.S. Embassy in London. Details from the conversation between Downer and Papadopoulos were then used by the FBI to open its counterintelligence investigation into the Trump campaign on July 31, 2016.

Interestingly, the information allegedly relayed by Papadopoulos during the Downer meeting—that the Russians had damaging information on Clinton—appears nearly identical to claims later contained in the first memo from former MI6 spy and dossier author Christopher Steele that the FBI obtained in early July 2016.

Steele’s first dossier document, dated June 20, 2016, noted that “A dossier of compromising information on Hillary Clinton has been collated by the Russian Intelligence Services over many years.”

Which raises a good question, recently posed by internet researcher Nick Weil on Twitter: “When the FBI got the tip from Alexander Downer that the Russians had Hillary’s 33k emails, the appropriate action would have been to re-open Mid Year Exam, no?”

Rather than deciding to re-examine the Mid-Year Exam, which looked into Clinton’s handling of her emails and use of a private server, the FBI instead used this information to establish an investigation into the Trump campaign.

What makes this sequence of events even more telling, is exactly when the FBI first received information from Steele.

After Steele’s company was hired by Fusion GPS in June 2016, he began to reach out to the FBI through Michael Gaeta, an FBI agent and assistant legal attaché at the U.S. Embassy in Rome whom Steele had worked with on the FIFA case. Gaeta also headed up the FBI’s Eurasian Organized Crime unit, which specializes in investigating criminal groups from Georgia, Russia, and Ukraine.

Gaeta would later be identified as Steele’s FBI handler, in a July 16, 2018, congressional testimony before the House Judiciary and Oversight committees by FBI lawyer Lisa Page.

Following a reported initial meeting that took place during late June 2016 in Rome, Gaeta traveled to London on July 5, 2016, and met with Steele at the offices of Steele’s firm, Orbis. During the July 5 meeting, Steele provided the first memo in his dossier to Gaeta for ultimate transmission back to the FBI and the State Department.

At the exact time that Gaeta was meeting with Steele, on July 5, 2016, then-FBI Director James Comey announced the closure of the FBI’s investigation into Clinton’s use of a personal e-mail system during her time as secretary of state.

During the July 5, 2016, press conference, Comey recommended that Clinton not be charged, stating that “we cannot find a case that would support bringing criminal charges on these facts.” Comey also noted that “although the Department of Justice makes final decisions on matters like this, we are expressing to Justice our view that no charges are appropriate in this case.”

With the July 5 closure of the Clinton investigation, many of the same FBI agents who had worked on the case were assigned to the agency’s July 31, 2016, counterintelligence investigation into the Trump campaign—the opening of which was based on little more than details from the conversation between Downer and Papadopoulos, provided by the Australian government. Although all investigative focus fell on the Trump campaign, the fact that Downer said that the Russians had Clinton’s emails appears not to have been an impetus for the FBI to reopen the Clinton email investigation.

CIA’s Use of Unofficial Intel on Trump Campaign

Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), who has seen the electronic communication that was used to officially open the FBI’s counterintelligence investigation, has publicly stated that, “We now know that there was no official intelligence that was used to start this investigation.”

Contrast Nunes’s statement with what Brennan testified to before Congress on May 23, 2017:

“I encountered and am aware of information and intelligence that revealed contacts and interactions between Russian officials and U.S. persons involved in the Trump campaign…I know that there was a sufficient basis of information and intelligence that required further investigation by the bureau to determine whether or not U.S. persons were actively conspiring, colluding with Russian officials.”

Brennan has claimed that he didn’t see the dossier until “later in that year. I think it was in December [2016].” Brennan also stated in his testimony that the CIA didn’t rely on the Steele dossier and that it “was not in any way used as a basis for the intelligence community assessment that was done.”

But this claim was countered during the July 16, 2018, testimony of former FBI lawyer Page, when the following discussion took place regarding Brennan’s August 2016 briefing of then-Sen. Harry Reid:

Rep. Meadows: “We have documents that would suggest that in that briefing the dossier was mentioned to Harry Reid and then, obviously, we’re going to have to have conversations. Does that surprise you that Director Brennan would be aware of [the dossier]?”

Page: “Yes, sir. Because with all due honesty, if Director Brennan – so we got that information from our source, right? The FBI got this information from our source. If the CIA had another source of that information, I am neither aware of that nor did the CIA provide it to us if they did.”

While some within the FBI likely had parts of the dossier in early July, Page testified that the counterintelligence investigative team didn’t receive it until mid-September—likely during a trip to Rome, where they met with Steele:

Rep. Meadows: “So what you’re saying is, is that you had no knowledge of these potential unverified memos prior to the middle part of September in your investigation?”

Page: “That is correct, sir.”

Was Reid’s Letter Based on Steele Dossier Info?

In the days following Brennan’s briefing, Reid sent a letter on Aug. 27, 2016, to FBI Director Comey demanding an investigation—and that the investigation be made public. Based on Brennan’s briefing, it’s highly likely that Reid knew an FBI investigation was already underway. Some of the details contained within Reid’s letter relate to former Trump adviser Carter Page and match details contained only within the Steele dossier at the time.

Specifically, Reid claimed that Carter Page “has conflicts of interest due to investments in Russia energy conglomerate Gazprom” and “met with high-ranking sanctioned individuals while in Moscow in July of 2016, well after Trump became the presumptive Republican nominee.”

Page’s investment in Gazprom was known prior to Reid’s letter, but it appears that the first public allegations that Page had met with “high-ranking sanctioned individuals while in Moscow” weren’t made until Yahoo News reporter Michael Isikoff published his article, “U.S. intel officials probe ties between Trump adviser and Kremlin,” on Sept. 23, 2016, that was based on information directly from Christopher Steele.

Prior to Isikoff’s September article, the only place that information had been referenced, aside from Reid’s letter, was in a July 19, 2016, Steele dossier memo (there is also a mention in a sequentially earlier, but undated memo from Steele). The Steele dossier wouldn’t become public until its Jan. 10, 2017, publication by BuzzFeed.

During his May 2017 testimony, Brennan discussed his briefings to the Gang of Eight. Brennan testified the briefings were done “in consultation with the White House,” and stated that he gave the “same briefing to each of the Gang of Eight members.” Notably, Brennan conducted his briefings individually over a period of almost a full month between Aug. 11, 2016, and Sept. 6, 2016.

However, Nunes has stated that he wasn’t given the same briefing as was Reid, despite Nunes holding the position of chairman of the House Intelligence Committee at the time. Nunes made this disclosure in a July 28, 2019, interview with Maria Bartiromo, noting “we now know that John Brennan briefed Harry Reid on the dossier in August 2016. At the same time, he never briefed me or Paul Ryan, who was the Speaker of the House at the time.”

Brennan’s Role in Official Reports

The last major segment of Brennan’s efforts involved a series of three reports. The first report was released on Oct. 7, 2016, and the second follow-on report was released Dec. 29, 2016.

The third report, “Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent U.S. Elections”—also known as the intelligence community assessment (ICA)—was released Jan. 6, 2017.

This final report was used to continue pushing the Russia-collusion narrative following the election of Trump as president. Notably, Adm. Mike Rogers, then director of the National Security Agency, publicly dissented from the findings of the ICA, assigning it only a moderate confidence level.

As previously noted, while Brennan has denied using the dossier in the ICA, he did attach a two-page summary of the dossier to the intelligence community assessment that he, along with Clapper and Comey, delivered to President Obama on Jan. 6, 2017.

Comey then met with President-elect Trump to inform him of the dossier. This meeting took place just hours after Comey, Brennan, and Clapper formally briefed Obama on both the ICA and the Steele dossier.

Comey would only inform Trump of the “salacious” details contained within the dossier. He later explained on CNN in an April 2018 interview that he’d done so at the request of Clapper and Brennan, “because that was the part that the leaders of the intelligence community agreed he needed to be told about.”

Shortly after Comey’s meeting with Trump, both the Trump–Comey meeting and the existence of the dossier were leaked to CNN by James Clapper.

The House Intelligence Committee report on Russian election interference confirmed that Clapper personally leaked confirmation of the dossier, along with Comey’s meeting with Trump, to CNN:

“Clapper’s discussion with Tapper took place in early January 2017, around the time IC leaders briefed President Obama and President-elect Trump, on ‘the Christopher Steele information,’ a two-page summary of which was ‘enclosed in’ the highly-classified version of the ICA.”

On Jan. 10, 2017, CNN published the article “Intel Chiefs Presented Trump With Claims of Russian Efforts to Compromise Him.” The allegations within the dossier were made public, and with reporting of the briefings by intelligence community leaders, instant credibility was given to the dossier’s assertions.

Immediately following the CNN story, BuzzFeed published the Steele dossier, and the Trump–Russia conspiracy was pushed into the mainstream.

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Author: Jeff Carlson

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China Pours Millions of Dollars Into Zimbabwe’s Farming Industry as Experts Fret

MUTARE, Zimbabwe—Chinese investors are investing millions of dollars into the farming sector in Zimbabwe— particularly tobacco farming—sparking experts to warn of a new agro-imperialism by Beijing.

Zimbabwe’s then-President Robert Mugabe seized millions of hectares of prime agricultural fields from white commercial farmers under a controversial land reform program, which started in 2000, and distributed the land to the indigenous black people.

The chaotic land reform program brought the country’s farming industry to its knees. Ultimately, the whole economy, which was anchored on agriculture, collapsed. And Chinese investors have been eyeing the country’s lucrative farming sector, especially tobacco.

Besides investing in contract farming with local small-scale farmer, there are now Chinese-run farms in Zimbabwe, with investments running into millions of dollars, particularly in the Mashonaland Central province.

Tobacco is one of the lucrative crops that China is targeting in Zimbabwe. (Andrew Mambondiyani for The Epoch Times)

Local politicians, however, are concerned that the growing interest from China in the country’s agricultural sector might lead to large-scale land grabs by big Chinese companies with interests in exports.

Harry Peter Wilson, leader of the Democratic Opposition Party (DOP), told The Epoch Times that the Chinese shouldn’t be taking over farms in Zimbabwe.

“We don’t need a new breed of land invasions. It can’t work. The land belongs to Zimbabweans. We should not reverse our gains of the political struggle and liberation war,” Wilson said.

He said the government was allowing access to “the worst nation on this planet,” which was breaking Zimbabwe’s laws with impunity.

Wilson ran his 2018 presidential election campaign in Zimbabwe with a message of banning the importation of cheap Chinese goods to boost the manufacturing industry in the country.

“They [Chinese] will use all methods which are against the law but get away with it. They will communicate in their own language and use Zimbabweans as slaves,” Wilson said, adding that the language barrier was problematical.

China is investing more in tobacco farming in Zimbabwe, but Wilson said the country needs food.

“We don’t need tobacco. We need food on our tables.”

He said Zimbabwean farmers have been successful in other countries such as Zambia, Malawi, and South Africa, where they are among the largest farm producers, and there was no need to allow the Chinese to run farms in Zimbabwe.

“Look who’s running these farms [in neighboring countries], not whites only but with black Zimbabwean partners. The government has gotten many things wrong,” he said.

In an interview with The Epoch Times, Clayton Masekesa, a Zimbabwean journalist, said the biggest problem is that most farms in Zimbabwe are in the hands of politicians who don’t possess any farming knowledge.

“At the end, the land will be parceled out to certain ‘investors,’ in this case, the Chinese. It is pointless to have these [Chinese-run] farms in Zimbabwe under the current situation,” Masekesa said.

Besides Zimbabwe, China has also been investing in agriculture in other countries in Africa.

Other Motives

China’s interest in African agriculture may not solely be motivated by money, according to some experts.

In 2016, Peter Wadhams, a climate scientist at the UK’s University of Cambridge, told the Climate News Network that China is preempting potential threats caused by changing weather patterns to the world food supply by acquiring large areas of land around the world to grow crops for its own people.

However, Wadhams warned that the Chinese are introducing industrial agricultural practices that damage the soil, water supply, and rivers.

“China is positioning itself for the struggle to come—the struggle to find enough to eat. … By controlling land in other countries, they will control those countries’ food supply,” he was quoted as saying.

In a recent article in The National Interest magazine, South Sudanese international policy consultant Akol Nyok Akol Dok and author Bradley A. Thayer warned that “China is in Africa now, not to advance Maoism, but to control its resources, people, and potential.”

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Author: Andrew Mambondiyani

Slight Drop in Overdose Deaths No Indication Crisis Is Abating

The recent slight drop in drug overdose deaths in the United States and parts of Canada could be a positive sign, but experts say the problem is far from subsiding on both sides of the border.

Recent data show a decrease in overdose deaths in the United States—from 70,000 in 2017 to 68,000 in 2018—driven mainly by a decline in deaths caused by heroin and prescription painkillers, although there was a continued rise in deaths caused by fentanyl and other drugs such as cocaine.

Experts are still evaluating what factors are linked to the decrease and how much of a role policies such as increased treatment programs, enforcement, and limiting prescription painkillers played.

In Canada, government figures show the issue has only worsened in recent years, with 4,600 deaths in 2018—or a death every two hours—compared to 4,100 in 2017, with around three quarters of the deaths being caused by fentanyl. So far this year, British Columbia—which has the highest number of overdose deaths in the country—has had a decline in deaths compared to the same time last year, but it may be too early to draw any conclusions.

Neil Seeman, researcher and chief executive officer of RIWI Corp., a Toronto-based global trend-tracking and predictive analytics firm, says the public data from Canada and the United States shouldn’t be compared as they are collected from different types of sources and are from different time periods.

“Every study has different missing information, so we have to be careful about comparisons,” he said.  “Our company’s data from late 2016 show that 15 percent of Canadians know a friend or family member who died of an opioid overdose, whereas in the United States, the figure is 19 percent.”

According to Seeman, the primary factors behind the drug epidemic are the rise in  prescription and street use prior to the extent of the epidemic being recognized, and the increased availability of more deadly drugs and drug combinations on the street.  He adds that the rate of drug-related deaths is underestimated not only in North America but around the world.

“Drug use often contributes to deaths officially recorded as stemming from other causes, such as a motor vehicle accident or suicide,” he said.

Dr. Aaron Orkin, an assistant professor at the University of Toronto’s Department of Family and Community Medicine, says it’s too early to tell if there’s been a significant enough drop in overdose deaths in the United States to point to either a policy or practice difference.

“There might be something there, but if you first see it, you don’t want to think ‘oh ok, there’s a world of difference here,’ because there might be something valuable, but there also might not,” Orkin said. “One of the things that experts do quite carefully, is we try not to get excited about those small differences each time we see them.”

He adds that the situation is quite different between Canada and the United States, and it may not be possible to compare the two.

“It’s a different epidemic in the two countries,” he said.

‘Purposeful Life’

Dr. Sean Fogler, a Philadelphia-based physician who himself once had a substance abuse problem, says the issue of drug use and overdose deaths is quite complex, and different factors could be at play in the recent experience in the United States, including education, improvements in treatment, and more availability of overdose-fighting drug naloxone.

But, he notes, “there’s still a long way to go” to solve a crisis that has even lowered life expectancy rates in both Canada and the United States.

Fogler, who is active in helping others suffering from substance abuse, points out that that one of the main contributors to the opioid crisis in North America in recent years was the overprescription of opioids in the 1990s.

Adding fuel to the crisis are the realities of our modern world, he adds, such as “being in a faster-paced society, adverse childhood experiences, trauma, obesity, and chronic pain.”

His own experience with substance abuse started as a result of the trauma of having been at the scene of the 9/11 attacks. He considers himself fortunate as he has a supportive family who helped him recover, but he says many people don’t have the same advantage.

Looking at determinants such as overdose death reductions are part of the solution, but he says that won’t fundamentally solve the issue and help those suffering from substance abuse.

“In my experience, finding meaningful work and purpose was one of the most crucial things to move on,” Fogler said.

“It’s about recovery, living a meaningful and purposeful life, a connected life, and doing good things.”

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Author: Omid Ghoreishi

US Student Visa Policies Encourage Chinese Spying, Expert Says

WASHINGTON—The People’s Republic of China and other hostile powers are exploiting the United States’ international student visa policies to conduct industrial and military espionage against U.S. targets, according to a panel discussion at the National Press Club in Washington on Aug. 20.

Temporary visitors to the United States can get visas for 90 days or six months, but foreign students and research scholars can stay six to eight years and operate undisturbed in America’s most open environment, namely, its institutions of higher learning, said Dan Cadman, a fellow at the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), a nonpartisan think tank.

The discussion came as CIS released a report written by Cadman titled, “How U.S. Foreign Student and Exchange Visitor Policies Undercut National Security.”

Hosting foreign students and international scholars can be a good thing for the United States, Cadman said at the event, “but the reality for government security officers is that it creates, as Mao Zedong once said, a sea in which fishes can swim.”

“Although Mao was speaking about guerrillas among the people, it’s equally true that foreign student and exchange scholar populations, by virtue of their size, their diversity, and the openness of the campus environments, act as a perfect place in which people who are engaged in espionage or people who are of malintent can conceal themselves without any real serious possibility that they’re going to be detected at least not until in the fullness of time. There are just too many people for government officers and government intelligence agents and counterintelligence agents and law enforcement to keep up with.”

From 2013 to 2017, there were more than 2 million admissions at ports of entry of nonimmigrant students and exchange scholars, Cadman said.

Many of these individuals come from countries that are openly hostile to the United States or in fierce competition with it, he said.

Cadman cited the International Institute for Education showing that in the 2017–2018 academic year there were 363,341 Chinese students, excluding exchange scholars, enrolled in the United States.

In addition to students from China, there were 44,000-plus Saudis, 18,000-plus Venezuelans, almost 13,000 Iranian students, 10,000 Turks, 7,500 Pakistanis, 5,500 Russians, and 726 Syrians, he said, adding there were also students from Afghanistan, Cuba, and North Korea.

Although the vast majority of visiting students and academics are not spies, many governments “seed” their student diasporas here with students sympathetic to their regime’s aims, he said.

Communist China, for example, “is very focused on where it wants to go, what it wants to achieve, where it wants to be with its global dominance,” Cadman explained.

“And for the Chinese government espionage is, you might say, a family affair. Everything is geared toward accruing technological advantage, and if that means they can short-circuit the time and money on research by stealing secrets, whether that’s in the defense and military sector, or in the trade secret sector, they’re going to do it.”

In addition to state-directed spies, there are also “spies of opportunity” who come to the United States to study, but once here “fit themselves into niches” so they can obtain “those secrets that they can pass back home.”

Cadman’s remarks came two months after Senate Intelligence Committee Vice Chairman Mark Warner (D-Va.) warned that Beijing is pressuring its students in the United States to carry out espionage. FBI Director Christopher Wray has issued similar warnings.

“The overwhelming number of counterintelligence cases in our country now involve Chinese nationals,” Warner said. “The Chinese spy services are literally threatening Chinese families,” he said. They tell families if their children don’t bring back illicitly obtained intellectual property from the United States, “the family will be put in jeopardy.”

Cadman also said that schools stateside find it hard to resist the extra money that comes with students from abroad, which provides a strong economic incentive for institutions of higher learning to attract those students.

International students pay higher tuition, so “it becomes very lucrative for universities to fill their campuses with people whose governments are often paying the cost of their tuition, the cost of them living in the United States for that period of time.”

This has a “de facto effect of, over the course of time, squeezing native born citizens out of a lot of positions and this is particularly of concern where STEM—science, technology, engineering, mathematics subjects—are concerned,” he said.

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Author: Matthew Vadum

Beijing Launches Plans for Shenzhen to Become World Hub, in Apparent Bid to Replace Hong Kong

Beijing has released a new policy laying out its ambitions for Shenzhen City—located in Guangdong Province just across the border from Hong Kong—to become a world-class tech innovation city.

Media in Hong Kong media are theorizing that signals the Chinese regime’s intention to replace Hong Kong as a major financial hub.

The timing coincides with Chinese state media and the Hong Kong government’s recent statements admonishing Hong Kong protesters, and accusing them of disrupting the city’s economy as they stage mass demonstrations calling for a controversial extradition bill to be withdrawn.

New Policy

China’s cabinet-like State Council released the policy on Aug. 18, in which it set the target for building Shenzhen into an “international innovation city” by 2025, a “model for the modernization of socialism” by 2035, and a “global benchmark city with competitiveness, innovation, and influence” by 2050.

To reach these targets, Beijing plans for Shenzhen to become the center for research and development in 5G telecommunications, artificial intelligence (AI), biomedical laboratories, and more, according to the document. Specifically, authorities will set up a new state-run institute for biomedical research called the Academy of Medical Sciences.

Beijing also plans to integrate the financial markets in Shenzhen, Hong Kong, and Macau. The Chinese city will then “open up foreign currency management” and lift some barriers to foreign investment. Currently, China has strict allowances on how much Chinese and foreign companies can exchange into foreign currency, and limits the percentage of foreign ownership at joint-venture firms.

Finally, Shenzhen will seek to attract foreign experts and talents by making it easier for foreigners to obtain residency visas, which would, in turn, allow them to become legal representatives of companies in China.

The document includes a section on the social credit system, explaining that the city would establish a “center for big data for the Guangdong Province, Hong Kong, and Macau area.”

Since 2014, Chinese authorities have begun rolling out a social credit system to monitor citizens’ activities, including online purchases and daily behaviors in public spaces, and assign them a “trustworthiness” score. Individuals with bad credit scores are banned from public services, such as boarding a plane or buying a train ticket.

Similar to Guangdong provincial government policy guidelines released in July, the Shenzhen plan alludes to a social credit system for Hong Kong and Macau, although Hong Kong officials have denied that such plans exist.

The new policy hints at Beijing’s desire to turn Shenzhen into a financial center capable of replacing Hong Kong, but an analysis by the Hong Kong Economic Times noted that would be difficult to accomplish, owing to Hong Kong’s flexible financial system and more complete legal and regulatory systems,

Analysis

David Xia, a Chinese economist and visiting researcher at the U.S. think tank Cato Institute, holds a similar view.

“Whether it’s Shenzhen or Shanghai, a precondition to replacing Hong Kong is that the city must have a free and open society that can protect human rights, rule of law, and does not have any controls on foreign capital and speech,” Xia said in an Aug. 19 interview with The Epoch Times. “Without this precondition, any plan will not succeed.”

He added that Hong Kong’s guaranteed freedoms make the city a favorable investment environment, unlike mainland Chinese cities, where businesses must toe the Chinese Communist Party’s line.

Xia added that should the Party wish to achieve a Hong Kong-like free market system in Shenzhen, it would have to implement “one country, two systems,” the framework by which Hong Kong retains its autonomy despite Chinese sovereignty.

Meanwhile, U.S.-based commentator Jie Sen noted that this policy is a rare declaration from the Party that it wants to “demonstrate to the world that socialism can build the best city in the world,” Jie told The Epoch Times. “This is an ambition it has not displayed before.”

He believes that the timeline outlined in the Shenzhen policy is an indication of China’s greater plan for its socialist economic system to dominate the world.

On Aug. 20, the Shanghai government published a similar policy to Shenzhen’s, announcing a new “free trade zone” in the Lingang area, with easing of restrictions on residency visas, favorable tax policies, and more.

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Author: Nicole Hao

WATCH Johnny Carson’s Prophetic Warning That Would Have Saved a Liberalized Hollywood & Television (Video)

Watch any late-night television talk show or Hollywood movie or star today and it’s simple to notice all are infused with liberal politics and anti-Conservative overtures that continue to alienate a growing number of Americans. Johnny Carson warned network television and Hollywood about this decades ago. The Tonight Show legend refused to infuse his comedic…

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Author: admin

POTUS, White House Swipe Back at Scaramucci for Recent Anti-Trump Remarks

President Donald Trump and the White House is swiping back at a former White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci amid his recent media blitz against the president. ….got fired. Wrote a very nice book about me just recently. Now the book is a lie? Said his wife was driving him crazy, “something big” was happening with her. Getting divorced.…

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Author: admin

Poll: Trump at 45% in Wisconsin — Higher than When He Won the State in 2016

President Trump is polling better in the critical state of Wisconsin than he did when he won the state in 2016, according to a poll conducted recently by progressive media company Crooked Media and research company Change Research. “Trump is more popular here . The President’s job approval rating among Wisconsin voters is 48-51%. His…

The post Poll: Trump at 45% in Wisconsin — Higher than When He Won the State in 2016 appeared first on True Pundit.

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Author: admin

Anthony Scaramucci: Trump Will Drop Out by March 2020

Anthony Scaramucci, who was fired after a mere 11 days on the job as White House communications director for President Donald Trump in July 2017, is once again lashing out at his former boss. In an interview with Vanity Fair, the media-hungry hedge fund manager nicknamed “The Mooch,” claims President Trump is all bark with no…

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Author: admin

Varney calls 2020 Dems ‘grossly hypocritical’ after Forbes releases net worth of candidates

Fox Business host Stuart Varney called out the top 2020 Democratic presidential candidates on his Fox Nation show “My Take” Friday, after a Forbes report listed the candidates’ current net worth — all in the multi-millions. “How many times have we heard presidential candidates rail against the rich, how wicked they are, how unfair the whole capitalist system is. If you’ve got money, they’re gonna…

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Author: admin