October 15, 2021

The Spy Who Drove Her: Dianne Feinstein and Chinese Espionage

The Spy Who Drove Her: Dianne Feinstein and Chinese Espionage

The Spy Who Drove Her: Dianne Feinstein and Chinese Espionage

By Ethan Epstein
10 September 2018

San Francisco is a hotbed of espionage and international intrigue. And why wouldn’t it be? Strategically located near major West Coast ports, home to many large immigrant communities, and, perhaps most crucially, just up the road from America’s most technologically sophisticated corporations, it makes perfect sense that America’s geopolitical rivals would want to gain a foothold in the City by the Bay.

And gain it they have, evidently. Last year, when the president took the decidedly non-collusionish action of shuttering Russia’s San Francisco consulate—its oldest in the country—black smoke billowed from the historic Pacific Heights building that had long housed the Kremlin outpost. Clearly, the Russians were burning evidence of misdeeds.

And we now know that China, a much more worrisome long-term threat to the United States than a declining Russia, has been active in the Bay Area as well.

Five years ago, Senator Dianne Feinstein, the California Democrat who then chaired the Intelligence Committee, was approached by the FBI. The bureau had learned that a staffer in her San Francisco office was a Chinese operative “run” out of Beijing’s consulate in that city. It appears that he had started as a legitimate employee but was at some point, likely on a visit to the East, turned by a member of the Chinese Ministry of State Security.

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