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Over four months into the global Wuhan Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and the U.S. Intelligence Community (IC) is still scrambling to determine whether the virus originally leaked from a biolab in China. Many rely on this apparent delay by the IC in identifying the exact origin of COVID-19, to accept the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) talking points and its cover story about this coronavirus’ innocuous origin.

However, American intelligence today is operating in China at a severe disadvantage. As reported by the New York Times (NYT) in 2017, between 2010 and 2013 the Chinese government systematically dismantled C.I.A. clandestine operations in the country, killing or imprisoning more than a dozen sources and crippling intelligence gathering there for years afterward. The result was that U.S. intelligence was virtually blinded during the formal rise of China’s President-for-Life, Xi Jinping in 2012, and is still suffering serious gaps in its China coverage.

According to the NYT:

Current and former American officials described the intelligence breach as one of the worst in decades. It set off a scramble in Washington’s intelligence and law enforcement agencies to contain the fallout, but investigators were bitterly divided over the cause. Some were convinced that a mole within the C.I.A. had betrayed the United States. Others believed that the Chinese had hacked the covert system the C.I.A. used to communicate with its foreign sources. Years later, that debate remains unresolved.

The joint CIA-FBI investigation to uncover the Chinese attack on U.S. clandestine assets in China was reportedly code-named ‘Honey Badger.’ According to multiple former intelligence officials cited by Fox News, “the blow was felt hard — and some have questioned whether U.S. intelligence in the country ever adequately recovered.”

Fox News sources describe the impact:

This was a well-planned, multifaceted strategic operation. First, blind your adversary. In this case, collect intelligence by hacking or other means to identify operatives. Then, remove those human assets or sources by imprisonment or execution. This is far more subtle than blinding our satellites, which would be an overt act of war,” explained one former U.S. Army intelligence leader. “The best intelligence is Human Intelligence, HUMINT, which comes from recruited assets or ‘agents.’ That is confirmed or denied by other collection such as IMINT (imagery) or SIGINT (signals collection).

Beyond just the current lack of clarity on the COVID-19 origins, the damage to US intelligence in China, along with drastically ramped up repression and censorship in China under Xi, kept policymakers in Washington from seeing the dramatic totalitarian and expansionist policy shift tasking place under Xi’s new leadership.

As Fox notes:

It was devastating. The setback probably delayed the U.S. national security community from fully comprehending Beijing’s move toward a more oppressive and assertive policy,” Patrick Cronin, Asia-Pacific security chair for the Hudson Institute, told Fox News. “The gap in a sharper understanding of the Chinese Communist Party’s true aims bought it more time to enact greater information suppression at home and more aggressive political warfare abroad.

As this breach vividly demonstrates, China’s intelligence and counter-intelligence capabilities have grown dramatically, both quantitatively and qualitatively, offensively and defensively, in the past two decades. China’s espionage efforts are particularly massive inside the United States.

While U.S. officials remain confident that the exact origins of the virus that has claimed the lives of more than 143,000 people worldwide will eventually be brought to light, the U.S. must ramp up its own clandestine operations in and around China, while vigorously countering the Chinese espionage threat inside our country. Otherwise, we will be facing even bigger, and more deadly, surprises in the future.

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Paul Crespo is the Managing Editor of American Defense News. A defense and national security expert, he served as a Marine Corps officer and as a military attaché with the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) at US embassies worldwide. Paul holds degrees from Georgetown, London, and Cambridge Universities. He is also CEO of SPECTRE Global Risk, a security advisory firm, and President of the Center for American Defense Studies, a national security think tank.

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Oldclimber
Oldclimber
2 years ago

Oh really !!!??? I’m SHOCKED, positively shocked, that the Chicoms dismantled (through execution) the system of moles embedded in their government. And Shrillery’s homebrew email server, which was positively, absolutely, unequivocally, verifiably not hacked, and which had the full contents of her email drifting all over the hack-o-sphere, had positively, absolutely, unequivocally, veritably nothing to do with it. And I am equally shocked that our “intelligence” agencies can not recruit more moles that are clamoring to be executed as the result of gross, wanton incompetence, or, worse yet, outright traitorous action, by those US “intelligence” agencies and State Department heads, who hold their lives as fertilizer. And then on top of it all, Shrillery goes prancing around (well maybe staggering around) as irrefutable evidence, that I am sure is well spread by the Chicoms’ counter-intelligence, no real importance is given top-top-secret “information” (its hard to call it intelligence at that point), or the lives of those who relayed it. Way to fup everything up Obozo, Shrillery and company. And then there are the asses who voted for you.

A. D Roberts
2 years ago
Reply to  Oldclimber

So easy for us to stop the communists in China. Just shut off the commerce. In the same way they stopped cruise ships even when no one on board was sick. I can assure you that IF we can take action against the American businessmen who are doing business with China and tell them that if they don’t cooperate, we will confiscate ALL of their money, we can stop the CHINCON from any more shananigans.

A. D Roberts
2 years ago
Reply to  A. D Roberts

The CIA has proven many times over just how much they are against our best interests and how worthless they are to our nation. One of the few things JFK had right was the need to abolish the CIA. And that is why the CIA got rid of him. Yes, I believe there was a reason Geo. H. W. was in Dallas when JFK was taken out.

Bill2
Bill2
2 years ago
Reply to  Oldclimber

Globalization isn’t working real well and it won’t because too many involved are not worthy of trust. We are America; we don’t need to bow on our knees to anyone but God!

Josephine Lara
Josephine Lara
2 years ago
Reply to  Bill2

WE MUST STOP ALL SO CALLED STUDENTS FROM OUR SCHOOLS OR UNIVERSITIES OR COMPANIES THAT HANDLE OUR SECRETS! THEIR PLEDGE HAS BEEN TO SEND ANYTHING THEY LEARN HOME TO THE MOTHER COUNTRY! SO WE STOP ACCEPTING ANYONE FROM THEIR MOTHER COUNTRY! BACK GROUND CHECKS ARE A MUST! AND CHECK OUR OWN ORGANIZATIONS FOR THE MOLES, LEAKER S, AND PLAIN DOUBLE CROSSER S JUST OUT FOR THE MONEY! SURELY WE HAVE FOLKS SMART ENOUGH TO DEAL WITH THIS BS?

Kdub
Kdub
2 years ago
Reply to  Oldclimber

Exactly…..I cannot for the life of me understand the mentality of people who go along with the crooked party’s way of thinking….which is really “not thinking at all”…just seeing how much corruptness that they can get away with…And stupid people fall for their incompetence!

Colonel Robert F. Cunningham
Reply to  Oldclimber

And of course, Kommrade KRAPolian Finklestink’s driver for 20 years didn’t send anything back home other than well-wishes for the next batch of oil filters ….

Ed Kilbane
Ed Kilbane
2 years ago

So who was the Secretary of State who used her unprotected private email to send and receive classified information. As Louie Gohmert pointed out in the house intel hearings a couple years ago, China most certainly hacked her phone and email. Nothing to see here. Let’s move on.

Gerard
Gerard
2 years ago
Reply to  Ed Kilbane

This was under Obama’s watch too. Hillary and Obama did so much damage through treasonous acts to this Country yet they and all the traitors in the FBI, CIA, DOJ go unpunished. Even with mountains of evidence. Hillary even made a sarcastic comment when she was asked if she bleach her server. She made like she was cleaning something with a rag and said” you mean like this with a big smile on her face”

They know they can get away with anything.

James Green
2 years ago
Reply to  Gerard

Gerard, you really put your finger on the problem of our national security system. How can we ever trust any of the so called SECRET SERVICES of the FBI and the CIA when they have been infiltrated by subversive personnel. The mythical character Puck said it right. ” We have met the enemy and the enemy is us.”

Josephine Lara
Josephine Lara
2 years ago
Reply to  Gerard

HER OTHER GREAT COMMENT. IF HE WAS ELECTED THEY WOULD ALL HANG! WANNA BET THIS HAS A LOT OF REASONS WHY TRUMP IS BEING BASHED? TOO MANY HAVE FAR TO MUCH TO HIDE! GOD BLESS OUR PRESIDENT!

Mike W
Mike W
2 years ago
Reply to  Ed Kilbane

Don’t forget – Diane Feinstein had a Chines spy for a chauffeur for 20 years – even while she sat on the “House Intelligence Committee”. Don’t forget the Pakistani’s that Debbie Wasserman Schultz first hired and then introduced to her colleagues and got them access to computer systems all over D.C. including the White House. Who knows what kinds of devices those Paki’s put in those systems before going back to Pakistan. Pakistan has NO extradition treaty with the U.S. – But Pakistan has excellent relations with Russia and CHINA. Who knows what data was stolen and sold to these countries. Then as stated above all of the fast and loose Hillary played with her home brewed servers. The ONLY reason Hillary would need to use private servers instead of her government owned and protected servers was she had things she was doing that she did not want the government and TAXPAYERS privy to.
Obama – or whoever the hell he really is – claimed when elected that his would be the most transparent administration ever. Then he proceeded to have all of his records sealed. I have come to think he was actually telling the truth when he said that – but what he meant was lost by most – he was actually talking about Michelle/Michael and the tv show “Transparents”. The Obama’s were the most “Transparents” ever.

A. D Roberts
2 years ago
Reply to  Mike W

God help us. II Chronicles 7:14.

Kdub
Kdub
2 years ago
Reply to  Mike W

I believe that too Mike….who would have thought we would have a president who was probably not really a US citizen, who has a tranny wife….GO FIGURE!!!

David
David
2 years ago
Reply to  Ed Kilbane

Let’s not forget that it has been reported that Sen Feinstein’s driver was a Chinese spy for like 20 years she employed him, and it was 5 years after the FBI told her before the driver was dismissed. The whole time, Feinstein was on the Intelligence Committee.

Fighter for freedom
Fighter for freedom
2 years ago
Reply to  Ed Kilbane

A chinese shell company in Fairfax, VA hacked killiary’s email server right from the first correspondence transmitted. Did they have information as to when the server was plugged into the wall outlet.

Buddy
Buddy
2 years ago

Oh and then there is the fact that we have Feinstein with a Chinese spy in her office for 20 years and she somehow got word of the virus so she could make millions off selling her stocks and 2 Chinese spies arrested at Harvard along with a collaborator Professor from their bio lab in which the stories got one day, page 10 mentions and disappeared as though they never happened.
Worry more about our own treasonous Government handing over our intel than our enemies!