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DoJ snares foxes in its own trap, indicts 13

DoJ snares foxes in its own trap, indicts 13 PRC agents exposed in widespread counterintelligence operations

DoJ snares foxes in their own trap, indicts thirteen

WASHINGTON, D.C. – During a press conference on Oct. 24, 2022, the United States Department of Justice announced that 13 individuals have been charged - including two already in custody - in three separate cases ranging from espionage to intimidation on behalf of the government of the People’s Republic of China (PRC).

“Earlier today in the Eastern District of New York a complaint was unsealed charging two PRC intelligence officers with attempting to obstruct, influence, and impede the criminal prosecution of a PRC based telecommunications company,” U.S. Attorney General Merrick B. Garland said as he addressed members of the press. “The complaint alleges that in 2019, the defendants directed an employee at a federal law enforcement agency to steal confidential information about the United States criminal prosecution of the company. The defendants believed that they had recruited the U.S. employee as an asset, but in fact the individual they recruited was a double agent working on behalf of the FBI.”

Garland goes on to describe the defendants’ actions attempting to bribe the agent in an attempt to gain sensitive files related to the justice departments case against the company, including the prosecutor’s playbook. The agent instead supplied them with documents prepared by the government with false information designed to look legitimate. “This was an egregious attempt by PRC intelligence officers to shield a PRC-based company from accountability, and to undermine the integrity of our judicial system,” Garland said.

In addition, charges were brought against four individuals in New Jersey (three of whom were identified as PRC intelligence officers) for conspiracy to act in the United States as foreign agents on behalf of a foreign government. The indictment alleges that between 2008 and 2018 defendants used the cover of a supposed Chinese academic institute to further PRC goals by targeting new assets in efforts to obstruct western democracy or steal secrets and technology. Some of those activities include interfering with protests embarrassing to the Chinese government and stealing equipment for shipment to China.

Further still, in New York, the Justice Department charged seven individuals with working for the PRC to engage in a campaign of harassment and threats in forcing a U.S. resident to return to China. Two of those charged, Quanzhong An, 55, and Guangyang An, 34, both from Roslyn, N.Y., were arrested for their direct participation in the Chinese Operation Fox Hunt. Launched in 2014 Fox Hunt, a purported “Anti-corruption” operation largely pursues Chinese dissidents on an international scale to stifle activism and silence opposition by forcibly repatriating offending individuals. The remaining individuals named in the indictment remain at large.

All three cases are part of broader efforts by the U.S. Government to target and clamp down on PRC interference with domestic security and intellectual property theft among other offenses. Alexander Solomon with the U.S. Attorney’s office for the Eastern District of New York declined the name the offending telecommunications company filed in the complaint, but likely speculative candidates include Huawei and Hikvision (supplier of video surveillance equipment, civilian and military) both controlled largely by the PRC.

Hikvision had come under scrutiny the previous week after Andrew Willison, former chief of staff for Harry Reid, registered under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) to disclose his lobbying efforts for the company. It exposed the company’s efforts to fly under the radar of potential Magnitsky Act sanctions and reports that the FCC is looking closely at banning Hikvision products. Also, despite protestations by Hikvision the company has spent lavishly on lobbying efforts in the past few years trying to avoid government oversight.

Following the press conference, while officials were accepting questions, a reporter asked about the message sent by the timing of these indictments. They follow the end of the party congress in China where Xi Jinping recently eliminated rivals and consolidated his power as he begins his third term as president.  “So, we bring cases when they’re ready,” said FBI Director Christopher Wray. “That’s probably the simplest answer and most straightforward answer to that. As far as what signal they send if the Chinese government, the Chinese communist party, continues to violate our laws, they’re going to keep encountering the FBI.”

A press release of the announcement can be found online at


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