If you have followed the saga of Congressman Eric Swalwell and his Chinese paramour Fang Fang you will know that:
- Fang Fang is a Chinese spy working for the Ministry of State Security, which is the rough equivalent of the CIA.
- Fang Fang and Swalwell had an intimate relationship.
- Fang Fang helped Swalwell raise money to run for Congress.
- Fang Fang left the country years ago. All this is ancient history. Swalwell may have been indiscrete, but he is a true, blue American patriot and now serves his country with honor in Congress.
In short, you will know nothing.
Spies do not work alone. They do not wander around having casual relationships with targets and then drift away. They work at the direction of a government. They report to superiors. They write reports on everything they do. They often work in teams – even if those teams are invisible to the casual observer.
Fang Fang did not just “bump into” Swalwell. She was directed to target him. She did not help Swalwell get started in politics, raise money for him and provide an assistant to work in Swalwell’s office, because she saw something promising in his dull, boyish demeanor. She did all this at the direction of a hostile, totalitarian state hell-bent on the destruction of the United States.
Fang Fang did not “help” Swalwell get into Congress. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) nurtured him, supported him, and sent him on his way.
Hostile powers do not do such things out of idle interest or because they lack hobbies with which to occupy their time. A politician who is groomed and promoted in this way has been selected because what he will do when he is elected will be in the interests of that hostile power.
In this case that would be Beijing.
As noted above, spies like Fang Fang do not work alone. They are part of a larger organization. When one spy leaves a country the assets he or she has recruited as spies are not simply cut loose. They are turned over for handling to someone else.
Fang Fang leaving the United States tells us nothing about the extent of contact Swalwell may have with Chinese intelligence to this day.
Spies make contact with targets with the purpose of recruiting them. That means turning them into fully controlled assets. Once that recruitment process is concluded, spies do not continue to meet these assets openly in social settings. All contact – post-recruitment – becomes fully clandestine.
In the case of Swalwell, hypothetically speaking, that would mean that his recruiting officer Fang Fang would have turned him over years ago to someone else from MSS and that after that point Swalwell would have likely communicated with his MSS handlers via electronic communications, dead drops, and infrequent personal meetings. Those meetings would have been scheduled to occur overseas in all likelihood in locations that would be less likely to be surveilled or monitored by American intelligence.
Do we know that this happened in the case of Eric Swalwell? We do not. He may have broken things off with Fang Fang long ago and been on the straight and narrow ever since. It is also possible he reports what he learns on the House Intelligence Community daily via covert satellite communications.
Fortunately, though, we have a way to gain significant additional insight into the risk Swalwell may pose to national security. We can look at the damage assessment.
Swalwell’s admission of an intimate relationship with a Chinese intelligence officer cannot possibly have simply been accepted by American counterintelligence on its face. The world of intelligence does not work that way. Swalwell’s version of what happened would have been taken as a starting point, not the final word.
American counterintelligence must then have dug into every aspect of Swalwell’s story and included in their analysis what they already knew about the method of operation of Chinese intelligence, known Chinese operatives on U.S. soil, intercepts of Chinese intelligence communications, etc.
When this damage assessment was completed, we would have gained a very good understanding of what had transpired, how far Swalwell had been pulled down the “rabbit hole” and what the risks were of him being anywhere near classified information.
Let’s see that damage assessment. If Nancy Pelosi is so sure that Swalwell is rock solid that she is willing to grant him access to some of our most sensitive secrets, then she should have no problem pushing for the release of a declassified version of the report compiled by those who investigated circumstances surrounding Swalwell’s contact with Fang Fang. Doing so would go a very long way toward restoring confidence in our leaders and our political process and proving that Chinese intelligence has not penetrated the Congress.
Until such time we will have to ponder the real question in all this. Is Eric Swalwell a Chinese spy?
Here’s a link to Kevin McCarthy on Fox News, discussing his briefing from the FBI about Stalwell’s relationship with Fang.