Chi­nese spy­mas­ter

The Washington Times Weekly - - National Security -

China’s most se­nior mil­i­tary in­tel­li­gence of­fi­cial, a vet­eran of spy op­er­a­tions in Europe and cy­berspace, re­cently made a se­cret visit to the United States and com­plained to the Pen­tagon about the press leak on the Chi­nese sub­ma­rine that se­cretly shad­owed the USS Kitty Hawk air­craft car­rier in 2006.

Maj. Gen. Yang Hui said se­nior Chi­nese leaders sus­pected the Pen­tagon de­lib­er­ately dis­closed the en­counter as part of a U.S. ef­fort to send a po­lit­i­cal mes­sage of dis­plea­sure to China’s mil­i­tary. The Song-class sub­ma­rine sur­faced un­de­tected near the car­rier, and Gen. Yang said the Chi­nese be­lieved the leak was timed to co­in­cide with the visit of a se­nior U.S. ad­mi­ral.

Gen. Yang made the re­marks dur­ing a mil­i­tary ex­change visit in early Septem­ber, ac­cord­ing to two de­fense of­fi­cials. The of­fi­cials dis­cussed the talks on con­di­tion of anonymity be­cause they were not au­tho­rized to dis­cuss the con­tents of the pri­vate meet­ings.

Pen­tagon spokesman Bryan Whit­man con­firmed that Gen. Yang was hosted by De­fense In­tel­li­gence Agency Di­rec­tor Lt. Gen. Ron­ald L. Burgess Jr. but de­clined to pro­vide de­tails of the dis­cus­sions. The visit in­cluded meet­ings at the DIA, Pen­tagon and State Depart­ment and within the in­tel­li­gence com­mu­nity, he said, not­ing that Gen. Yang in­vited Gen. Burgess to visit China.

The U.S. visit by the se­nior spy­mas­ter was un­usual. The Chi­nese ser­vice has been linked to two spy rings that op­er­ated against the United States, in­clud­ing the case of Cal­i­for­nia de­fense con­trac­tor Chi Mak, who was sen­tenced to 24 years in prison last year for sup­ply­ing China with mil­i­tary tech­nol­ogy.

Chi­nese mil­i­tary in­tel­li­gence also was be­hind the cases of two Pen­tagon of­fi­cials re­cently con­victed of spy­ing. James W. Fon­dren Jr., a Pa­cific Com­mand of­fi­cial, was con­victed of es­pi­onage Sept. 25 for his role in sup­ply­ing se­crets as part of a spy ring di­rected by Tai Shen Kuo, a Tai­wanese-born nat­u­ral­ized U.S. ci­ti­zen who court pa­pers said was an agent for Bei­jing. The sec­ond Pen­tagon of­fi­cial linked to the ring was Gregg Berg­ersen of the Pen­tagon’s De­fense Se­cu­rity Co­op­er­a­tion Agency, who was con­victed along with Kuo last year for sup­ply­ing de­fense tech­nol­ogy for China’s mil­i­tary.

Both that spy ring and the Chi Mak case were linked through a Chi­nese of­fi­cial in Guangzhou, iden­ti­fied in court pa­pers as Pu Pei-liang, who worked as a re­searcher at the Chi­nese-mil­i­tary­funded Cen­ter for Asia Pa­cific Stud­ies and re­ceived the de­fense se­crets from the spies.

Ac­cord­ing to de­fense of­fi­cials, Gen. Yang is an ex­pe­ri­enced clan­des­tine op­er­a­tive who speaks English flu­ently and worked un­der­cover in Europe.

Gen. Yang told U.S. of­fi­cials dur­ing meet­ings that Chi­nese leaders were so an­gered by the dis­clo­sure of the Chi­nese sub­ma­rine ma­neu­ver that they con­sid­ered can­cel­ing the visit at the time by Adm. Gary Roug­head, then-Pa­cific Fleet com­man­der who has since been pro­moted to chief of naval op­er­a­tions.

The dis­clo­sure first ap­peared in The Wash­ing­ton Times and em­bar­rassed Navy of­fi­cials, who had to ex­plain how de­fenses were breached against one of the mil­i­tary’s most im­por­tant power pro­jec­tion ca­pa­bil­i­ties.

Gen. Yang brought up the in­ci­dent dur­ing talks in Wash­ing­ton and said his in­tel­li­gence ser­vice, known in U.S. in­tel­li­gence cir­cles as 2PLA, car­ried out an in­ves­ti­ga­tion. He said the ser­vice in­formed se­nior Chi­nese com­mu­nist leaders that they had de­ter­mined that the press dis­clo­sure was not an of­fi­cially sanc­tioned leak.

The Chi­nese Song-class diesel sub­ma­rine sur­faced near the Kitty Hawk on Oct. 26, 2006, and was spot­ted by one of the ship’s air­craft.

Cur­rent and for­mer U.S. of­fi­cials said Chi­nese in­tel­li­gence co­op­er­a­tion, the rea­son for Gen. Yang’s visit, has been mixed, fo­cus­ing mainly on large num­bers of Chi­nese re­ports on Mus­lim Uighurs in west­ern Xin­jiang prov­ince. Some of them are linked to Osama bin Laden’s al Qaeda, but many are dis­si­dent Chi­nese Mus­lims seek­ing in­de­pen­dence from com­mu­nist rule.

For­mer State Depart­ment China af­fairs spe­cial­ist John J. Tkacik Jr. said Gen. Yang is an ex­pert in cy­ber­war­fare and once headed the PLA’s elec­tronic in­tel­li­gence sec­tion.

“His suc­cess as a cy­ber­war­rior led to his pro­mo­tion from se­nior colonel to ma­jor gen­eral and chief of the PLA’s pres­ti­gious Sec­ond Depart­ment, which is not only re­spon­si­ble for mil­i­tary hu­man in­tel­li­gence col­lec­tion, but also col­lates and an­a­lyzes all­source in­tel­li­gence for the PLA,” Mr. Tkacik said.

“I have no doubt that he has been di­rect­ing the Chi­nese mil­i­tary’s vast, in­dus­trial-vac­u­um­cleaner cy­ber-in­tel­li­gence cam­paign that has pen­e­trated not just U.S. mil­i­tary com­puter sys­tems, but just about ev­ery U.S. busi­ness, uni­ver­sity and re­search in­sti­tute’s com­puter sys­tems as well.”

Mr. Tkacik said it is not clear why the Pen­tagon is seek­ing to in­crease trans­parency with Gen. Yang and his in­tel­li­gence col­lec­tors. “They cer­tainly aren’t go­ing to re­cip­ro­cate,” he said.

Larry M. Wortzel, a for­mer mil­i­tary in­tel­li­gence spe­cial­ist, said he found his past li­ai­son and ex­change meet­ings with the 2PLA to be pro­fes­sional and pro­duc­tive. “I’m pleased the con­tacts are still go­ing on,” he said.

“As for ter­ror­ism re­ports, the for­eign, non-Chi­nese con­tacts I had as an at­tache in China con­vinced me that at that time, in the

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