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China — spies, sexpionage, and cyber wars against America

Editor’s Note: Given the hullabaloo about the giant Chinese spy—or rather, weather—balloon, cruising leisurely over the United States, I thought it would be appropriate to republish this book review about other more mundane and less salient methods of Chinese espionage. But before doing so, here is a synopsis of the balloon incident as reported by the BBC:

A suspected Chinese surveillance balloon shot down off the US coast was about 200 ft (60m) tall and carrying an airliner-sized load. A US Defense Department official said the size and make-up of the object informed the decision not to shoot it down while it was over land. “Picture large debris weighing hundreds if not thousands of pounds falling out of the sky,” Gen Glen VanHerck said.

The US is still working to recover debris off the coast of South Carolina. Remnants of the object—which the US believes is a spy balloon but China says is a weather monitoring device blown astray…Multiple fighter jets were involved in the operation to shoot it down, but only one US Air Force F-22 took the shot at 14:39 local time on Saturday days after it first appeared over US territory. It sent debris hurtling down about six nautical miles off the US coast…

There is no plan to give the remnants back to China, officials said, adding that the retrieved debris would be analyzed by intelligence experts…

Gen VanHerck said the US was still working to determine whether the debris includes potentially dangerous materials, such as explosives or battery components…Republican politicians have accused US President Joe Biden of a dereliction of duty for allowing the balloon to traverse the country unhindered.

The decision to shoot it down also triggered a diplomatic spat between the US and China, and prompted Secretary of State Antony Blinken to cancel a scheduled trip to Beijing that had been aimed at easing tensions.

BBC News, Washington

Recently I read the book Tiger Trap (2012) by espionage writer David Wise. It is a scary but at the same time an astounding and critically needed book, as Americans know very little about the espionage activities of China in the United States. The book is 292 pages, contains a good index, and is fully annotated and illustrated with an insert of glossy photographs identifying most of the villains, a few innocent bystanders, and even a few heroes.

Espionage writer David Wise asserts the Chinese continue to follow the advise contained in the 6th century B.C. book, “The Art of War,” by military sage Sun Tzu, who advises the commission of espionage by “a thousand grains of sand”; that means obtaining small but innumerable pieces of information by vast numbers of people acting as armies of spies sent against the enemy. Moreover, the communist Chinese in the 21st century, asserts Wise, unlike the Soviets, are not interested in recruiting agents with vulnerabilities or people motivated by revenge or misfits, but “good” people, who are naively convinced of the humanitarian nature of their actions. So spies recruited by the Chinese spymasters do genuinely want to assist China and help her to improve technologically, to modernize, and to achieve parity with the West.

This recruitment usually translates to ethnic, first generation Chinese immigrants with cultural and familial ties to China. The Chinese government then reciprocates by helping their part-time spies create or proceed with commercial or business ventures in the United States. This is called guanxi. Thus, supposedly, the Chinese spymasters don’t offer money, and they do not accept walk-in cases — i.e., volunteers who may be “dangles” (double agents sent by the enemy). Most espionage activities are coordinated by the Ministry of State Security (MSS) or the military intelligence arm of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA).

Katrina Leung

Nevertheless, Wise then relates several cases of espionage that challenge those same assumptions, resembling not “grains of sand” information but “large fish,” predatory espionage resembling the horrendous theft of secrets and heinous betrayal by traitors Aldrich Ames and Robert Hanssen. Take for instance the case of  “Parlor Maid,” the code name of the Chinese-American “triple agent” Katrina Leung. This is an incredible story immersed with as much sex as espionage and betrayal.  And it is not a pretty picture, casting a dark shadow of shame, ineptitude, and negligence on the FBI and two of its “veteran,” top Chinese counterintelligence (CI) experts — i.e., FBI agents James J. Smith and William B. Cleveland Jr.

Katrina Leung not only spied for China for 20 years but also managed to seduce these two FBI agents in the process. They in turn collaborated wittingly or unwittingly with her deception and betrayal. Moreover, had the FBI, the very agency charged with catching spies, been more vigilant, the betrayal would have been deduced and exposed much earlier, limiting the damage to the nation’s security.

Katrina Leung and J.J. Smith

In fact, several red flags were raised in the 1990s that Katrina Leung had been turned against the U.S. but she was protected by her two FBI agent lovers, and so the clues were ignored higher up the command ladder. Although guilt was obvious, the FBI counterespionage operation against “Parlor Maid” came to nothing. The case is simply astonishing, and David Wise does a great service to the nation in bringing this incredible “sexpionage” case to light in sizzling — as well as blood boiling detail.

The betrayals, as well as the bungling and ineptitude of several FBI agents in this and other cases, are highly disturbing. But the ineptitude does not stop with the FBI. The pusillanimity of the Justice Department in prosecuting those spies who actually did get caught is likewise troubling and blood boiling, as is the leniency extended by the judges presiding over the trials of those few defendants who were prosecuted. Many of these defendants convicted in the end were simply slapped on their wrists!

Katrina Leung with China’s General Secretary Jiang Zemin

Much of the espionage was and continues to be conducted to obtain nuclear secrets from the United States. Another FBI operation, code-named “Kindred Spirit,” was undertaken to identify a spy in Los Alamos who revealed the secret design of the W-88 warhead of the Trident submarines in the 1990s. This warhead was and remains one of the most powerful and most advanced nuclear weapons in the U.S. arsenal. As part of the submarine strike force, the warhead is one of the most survivable of the retaliatory triad of nuclear deterrence strike capability of the U.S. In this case the FBI investigated Wen Ho Lee and his wife Sylvia Lee but the operation was bungled and led nowhere. It was later expanded to operation “Sego Palm” but this investigation also led to no arrests.

Larry Wu-Tai Chin being arrested by the FBI in 1985

Operation “Tiger Trap” (after which the book is titled) is another CI operation bungled by the FBI in which the guilty culprit once again got away with nuclear secrets. One successful operation was launched against CIA traitor Larry Wu-Tai Chin who, after spying for the Chinese for 30 years, finally made a mistake that led to his arrest. He was successfully prosecuted and committed suicide in prison. Several other cases are described with varying degrees of success.

Perhaps the most troubling of all is the chapter on the silent, ongoing cyber espionage wars launched by the Chinese against the U.S. and the West. This new undeclared cyber warfare proves, once again, that “the end of history” mentality that prevailed immediately after the collapse of Soviet communism is dangerous to our security. China’s invisible and up to now invincible cyber spies are described in great detail, revealing chilling information that few Americans understand. Wise elucidates the serious menace posed by the computer hackers, the new breed of cyber spies, that the Chinese have unleashed against America, not only against U.S. agencies but also various targets from the Pentagon to vulnerable state and municipal infrastructures, from computer networks to energy sources and water supply.

Chinese military computer installation. Source: “Chinese Hackers Persist in Attacking U.S. Networks” by Bill Gertz, October 2, 2012

In 2006, Peter Yuan Li, a Chinese-American computer technologist in Atlanta, Georgia, was beaten by a gang of Asian men and his computer stolen. Li had tried to expose China’s cyber attacks on U.S. agencies. The attacks persist and this year a headline in the BBC (January 14, 2013) clamored: ” ‘Red October’ Cyber-attack found by Russian Researchers,” and a cyber expert commented, “Viewpoint: Stuxnet shift the cyber arm race up a gear.” What the articles failed to say is that the main culprit is China, probably followed by Russia. So Western experts are finally taking notice, and at least the BBC is reporting the dangerous trend.

Unless the U.S. and its allies rise to the challenge this up-to-now silent but ominous Chinese cyber attacks portend a dark future for the survival of freedom.

After reading Tiger Trap, one cannot help but wonder how America prevailed over the Soviets in the 20th century — and now, more apropos, how it will survive the Chinese onslaught of conventional, as well as cyber espionage or the possible cyber wars of the future, wars that may be fought with computer hackers sitting quietly at their computer terminals wreaking havoc and mayhem, even death and destruction, on the West in the 21st century! Knowledge is power, and this excellent book provides at least introductory knowledge to a subject of which Americans up to now have been blissfully ignorant. This book can be at times exasperating, frequently thrilling, but in the end it is a disturbing wake up call to action. I avidly recommend it.

Written by Dr. Miguel Faria

Miguel A. Faria, Jr., M.D. is Clinical Professor of Surgery (Neurosurgery, ret.) and Adjunct Professor of Medical History (ret.) Mercer University School of Medicine; Editorial Board member of Surgical Neurology International and World’s Affair Editor (SNI; 2011-); Author, Vandals at the Gates of Medicine (1995); Medical Warrior: Fighting Corporate Socialized Medicine (1997); and Cuba in Revolution: Escape From a Lost Paradise (2002).

This article may be cited as: Faria MA. China, sexpionage, and cyber wars against America., revised with editor’s note on February 7, 2023. Available from:

The original version of this article was published on, March 1, 2013. Different versions of the article were published in on March 1, 2013 and in the Macon Telegraph on April 28, 2013. The illustrations were added to the article for the readers at and came from a variety of sources; they do not necessarily appear in the David Wise book, Tiger Trap.

Copyright ©2013 Miguel A. Faria, Jr., M.D.

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1 thought on “China — spies, sexpionage, and cyber wars against America”

  1. Charles Lieber, PhD, Harvard Professor & Chinese spy
    Submitted by admin on April 23, 2020 – 6:36am.

    Charles Lieber PhD and the former chair of Harvard University‘s chemistry department, was arrested by the FBI in January of this year under charges of espionage. Mr. Lieber was receiving $50,000 per month from the CCP. Over the past few years Mr. Lieber and 2 Chinese nationals who were posing as his students had been back and forth many times between Boston in a certain lab in… Wait for it… Wuhan.

    Why is it that absolutely no one — not even Levin, Hannity, or Rush — are asking questions about Mr. Lieber’s connection to all of this? Wouldn’t it be interesting to see Mr. Lieber‘s emails and phone records for the past few years? Wouldn’t it be interesting to know if he had been in contact with Bill Gates, or Fauci or Soros, etc.? And what kind of communication might he have heard?

    Have you heard of Gordon Chang? He may be the most insightful individual on the evil corruption we know as China. Mr. Chang has been saying recently that he believes that this was not only originated in the lab at Wuhan – but that it also may have very likely been intentional in its release.

    The authoritarian leadership in China as well as the authoritarian leadership in the EU and the authoritarian globalist/Democrats has everything to gain from this bio warfare. And I’m not only talking about the total control that they lust for; But also the ability to avoid justice for massive financial crimes, sedition, sex trafficking, other forms of conspiratorial treason and even murder. To be sure, I’m not saying Lieber is absolutely in on this, but I AM saying that it’s beyond bizarre that no one is asking the obvious questions. He’s the Chair of Harvard’s Chemistry Dept and he’s back and forth to the lab in Wuhan — and no one cares? In January 2017, Fauci is talking about the possibility of a “Corona Virus” being something the new administration might have to contend with? And then that same Fauci is STILL saying it sprang up from the wet market when everyone of independent note has moved on with certainty that it came from the lab 300 meters away from the falsely blamed wet market? These are facts. The questions are; do they tie together – or not? —Peter Blindt (FB)
    Excellent Peter, I concur! —MAF


    Huawei — another nest of espionage!
    Submitted by admin on May 16, 2019 – 9:34am.

    China has threatened to retaliate against US sanctions seen as an attempt to restrict international trade by the Chinese technology giant Huawei.

    Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said Beijing opposed countries imposing unilateral sanctions on Chinese companies and would take action. The Trump administration on Wednesday effectively blocked Huawei products from being used in US networks. The order does not name any company, but is believed to target Huawei.

    Huawei denies its products pose a security threat and says it is ready to engage with the US. Beijing accused President Trump of engaging in industrial sabotage by using state security as “as a pretext for suppressing foreign business. We urge the US to stop this practice and instead create better conditions for business co-operation,” Mr Lu said.

    He did not give any details over how China planned to retaliate against the US sanctions. — “Huawei: China threatens to retaliate over US sanctions,” BBC, May 11, 2019


    Communist Chinese espionage continues!
    Submitted by admin on June 23, 2015 – 2:57pm.

    Communist Chinese stealing our security clearances and valuable information

    As you are aware the Chinese theft of security clearances dates back to 1985 and may affect up to 14 million people. This makes us and our families vulnerable to coercion, blackmail, and identity theft. IRS, Homeland Security, SEC, NRC, and other agencies have been compromised. Moreover, the many federal agencies have been incredibly incompetent in their protection of U.S. government workers, taxpayers, and the many agencies they are sworn to protect.

    Inexplicably, the president’s spokesman retains faith in the office’s director, Katherine Archuleta. Predictably, the president [Obama] will not even bring up such unpleasantness up when he meets with the Communist Chinese, because the theory of man-made global warming — which forces the redistribution of wealth from western countries like the U.S. and Europe to backward countries through Cap and Trade — is far more important to him than protecting the workers and taxpayers under him.

    There is a long and thorough article published today in the Arkansas state paper that substantiates this information.

    Anyway, I just wanted to say: keep up the fight against the tyranny of the left and their socialist sisters. — Koba56, submitted on June 22, 2015

    For more information read the Associated Press report: “Federal agencies wide open to hackers, cyberspies.”


    China moon landing
    Submitted by admin on December 15, 2013 – 9:32am.

    China lands Jade Rabbit robot rover on Moon
    By Paul Rincon, Science editor, BBC News

    China says it has successfully landed a craft carrying a robotic rover on the surface of the Moon, a major step in its programme of space exploration.

    On Saturday afternoon (GMT), a landing module underwent a powered descent, using thrusters to perform the first soft landing on the Moon in 37 years. Several hours later, the lander will deploy a robotic rover called Yutu, which translates as “Jade Rabbit”. The touchdown took place on a flat plain called the Bay of Rainbows.

    The Chang’e-3 mission launched on a Chinese-developed Long March 3B rocket on 1 December from Xichang in the country’s south… According to Chinese space scientists, the mission is designed to test new technologies, gather scientific data and build intellectual expertise.

    Dean Cheng, a senior research fellow at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think-tank in Washington DC, said China’s space programme was a good fit with China’s concept of “comprehensive national power”. This might be described as a measure of a state’s all-round capabilities…

    Mr Cheng explained that the mission would provide an opportunity to test China’s deep-space tracking and communications capability.

    “The rover will reportedly be under Earth control at various points of its manoeuvres on the lunar surface,” Mr Cheng. “Such a space observation and tracking system has implications not only for space exploration but for national security, as it can be used to maintain space surveillance, keeping watch over Chinese and other nations’ space assets…”


    Cuba-China Espionage
    Submitted by Dr. Miguel A. Faria on June 27, 2013 – 8:13am.

    Supporting information: The Dragon’s Eyes Are on Us by Toby Westerman

    China’s intelligence operations are the “core arena” for achieving the superpower status that the Communist oligarchy in Beijing so passionately desires. Central to its spy activities is the island of Cuba, which is strategically located for the interception of U.S. military and civilian satellite communications. China’s spy services also cooperates closely with Havana’s own world-class intelligence services.

    Inexplicably, the U.S. mass media are ignoring both the existence of the spy base as well as the Cuban-Chinese alliance responsible for it. International News Analysis Today is challenging that media silence in an exclusive interview with counter-intelligence expert Chris Simmons, who explains why China needs Cuba and details the dangers to the United States in Havana’s espionage partnership with Beijing.

    Simmons is a retired Counter-intelligence Special Agent with 28 years service in the Army, Army Reserve, and the Defense Intelligence Agency, and has testified on the subject of Cuban espionage before members of U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee…

    The value Beijing places upon the information acquired via Havana can be seen in the October 2011 visit to the island by Gen. Guo Boxiong, Vice Chairman of China’s Central Military Commission. Guo’s presence in Cuba underscored that China has a special military commitment in addition to a sizable economic investment in Cuba.

    China is in the process of replacing Cuba’s aging Soviet-era military equipment, purportedly supplying only “non-lethal” aid. The U.S. prohibits “lethal” assistance to Cuba, and Beijing is risking U.S. sanctions if that prohibition is known to be violated. The true volume and nature of Chinese military aid to Cuba is, of course, difficult to assess.

    General Guo’s trip to Cuba follows a December 2010 military agreement, signed by top ranking PLA General Fu Quanyou, insuring needed military aid to the Castro regime. Simmons pointed out that China’s electronic intelligence activities on Cuba are particularly interesting, because China claims they don’t exist. “Officially they are not there,” said Simmons, commenting upon Beijing’s denials that it has electronic spying capabilities in Cuba…

    China presence at spy base

    The base at Bejucal, however, is still operating. While the Cubans technically run it, some 50-100 Chinese intelligence officers are at Bejucal gathering and interpreting information, according to Simmons. In sharp contrast to Moscow, there is no political cost to China.”It took us years to find out they [the Chinese Communists] were operating there. We found out through émigrés, defectors, and travelers to Cuba,” Simmons told INA Today. Unlike the Soviets, China has not constructed a facility, and only with the greatest of difficulty can the Chinese be connected with Cuban electronic spy base activities. In this way, China can plausibly deny both the use of the base and the transference of information from its Havana embassy to Beijing… January 2012.

    Chris Simmons is a security consultant and is author of the soon to be released novel, The Spy’s Wife. Toby Westerman publishes International News Analysis — Today


    China cyberspies hot!
    Submitted by Dr. Miguel A. Faria on May 28, 2013 – 9:50am.

    Washington Post: “U.S. Advanced Weapons Designs Stolen by Chinese Hackers

    “Chinese hackers have stolen some of America’s most sensitive weapons designs — a dangerous development that could endanger soldiers in a conflict with China, The Washington Post reports. A confidential report prepared for the Pentagon by the Defense Science Board does not accuse the Chinese government, but senior officials told the Post that the breaches were part of a growing espionage effort that targets defense contractors.

    “Many of the larger contractors have put up effective security, so the hackers have gone after subcontractors instead.

    “The building housing “Unit 61398” of China’s People’s Liberation Army is seen in the outskirts of Shanghai.

    “Cyberattacks that stole information from over 100 targets in the U.S. and other countries have allegedly been traced to the Chinese military unit in the building.”

    Newsmax News, 5/28/13


    Second oldest profession!
    Submitted by Dr. Miguel A. Faria on April 28, 2013 – 8:38am.

    Comments on the Macon Telegraph April 28, 2013:

    Top: Very interesting. I often wonder how US policy towards China would have changed if John Huntsman would have been elected Prez. Our current lot of pols are clueless to China’s “long term” view & approach to the world.

    While we are killing brown people all around the world they are building relationships with them, notably Africa–the next mineral & natural resources frontier.

    Thanks for the book review and bring up the topic.

    Dr. Faria: We in the U.S., (remember: “the only remaining Superpower in the world”) should be at the top of the world, not only in technology, innovation, industriousness, and freedom; instead we can not keep our secrets, tax and spend to oblivion, and we trade our liberty for false security! So, it is a scary scenario.
    Be that as it may, the second oldest profession will always be with us, and remain as busy as the first; knowledge, secret intelligence included, will always also mean power! Can we keep up? I hope we can, and preserve our Republic too! Thank you, Top.


    The Chinese dragon from Clinton to Obama!
    Submitted by Dr. Miguel A. Faria on March 3, 2013 – 9:07am. reader: “Dr. Faria forgot to mention the Chinese businessman political bundler for Bubba Clinton who got defense secrets from Loral Corp. without a peep out of our intel community.”

    Dido: “Actually Dr. Faria has already discussed China and Bill Clinton in a previous book review, Year of the Rat: How Bill Clinton Compromised U.S. Security for Chinese Cash by Edward Timperlake and William C. Triplett, II

    “It is a good thing, though, Bill Clinton did not pair off with Katrina Leung, but maybe they did, connected by James Riady and Johnny Chung!”

    Dr. Faria replies: Both Riady and Chung made illegal donations to the Democratic Party between 1994-1996 in the Clinton administration.

    According to published accounts and Wikipedia, “Chung testified under oath to the U.S House Committee in May 1999 that he was introduced to Chinese Gen ji Shengde, head of Chinese military intelligence, by Liu Chaoying. Chung said that Ji told him, ‘We like your president very much. We would like to see him reelected. We would like to give you 300,000 U.S. dollars. You can give it to the president and the Democrat Party.’ ”

    For his part, in 1998 Chinese-Indonesian “James Riady was indicted and pleaded guilty to campaign finance violations by himself and his corporation. He was ordered to pay an 8.6 million U.S. dollar fine for contributing foreign funds to the Democratic Party, the largest fine ever levied in a campaign finance case.”

    According to an article in 2001 in Fortune magazine and Wikipedia: “In January 2010, the Washington Post revealed how the ‘disgraced’ Riady had received a visa waiver by the Obama Administration to re-enter the US, despite having been banned by the Bush administration. Riady’s old friend, US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton claimed she had no knowledge of the visa waiver. A State Department official, embarrassed by the Post’s revelation, said ‘the reality of his past remains a significant obstacle for future travel to the United States.’ Riady received a waiver from a rule that forbids entry to foreigners guilty of ‘a crime involving moral turpitude,” a term that government lawyers generally interpret to include fraud.’ ” — MAF

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