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March 2023


How to Become a Bounty Hunter

Tag: China

FBI, DOJ Investigating TikTok After Employees Spied on Journalists

Photo: Shutterstock

By Steve Neavling

The FBI and Justice Department are investigating TikTok over allegations that employees spied on journalists who were covering the video-sharing company, NBC News reports.

ByteDance, the parent company of TikTok, found that employees improperly gained access to reporters’ IP addresses and user data in hopes of exposing the source of media leaks inside the company.  

“We have strongly condemned the actions of the individuals found to have been involved, and they are no longer employed at ByteDance,” a ByteDance spokesperson said. “Our internal investigation is still ongoing, and we will cooperate with any official investigations when brought to us.”

U.S. officials are already worried about security threats involving TikTok, and the Biden administration even threatened a potential ban on the social media app if the company’s Chinese owners don’t sell their stakes in it. 

FBI Director Says COVID-19 Pandemic ‘Most Likely’ Originated from Lab Leak in China

FBI Director Christopher Wray in Atlanta. Photo via FBI.

By Steve Neavling

FBI Director Christopher Wray said Tuesday that the bureau believes the COVID-19 pandemic “most likely” originated from a leak in a Chinese lab. 

“The FBI has for quite some time now assessed that the origins of the pandemic are most likely a potential lab incident in Wuhan,” Wray said on Fox News.

Saying the assessment was based on research by the bureau’s analysts, Wray added that “our work related to this continues.”

Wray’s statement conflicts with several prominent scientific studies and other U.S. intelligence agencies that have concluded, albeit with lower confidence, that the virus likely first spread from infected animals to humans. 

The White House said earlier this week that there is no consensus among government officials. 

In his interview, Wray criticized China, saying the country “has been doing its best to try to thwart and obfuscate” efforts to identify the source of the pandemic. 

Wray’s comments are the most high profile from a U.S. law enforcement official since the Energy Department’s classified report, first published by The Wall Street Journal on Sunday, concluded a lab leak in China likely caused the pandemic.

FBI to Analyze Recovered Remnants of Chinese Balloon Shot Down off South Carolina Coast

File photo via FBI.

By Steve Neavling

The FBI will analyze the remnants of the Chinese balloon that was shot down off the coast of South Carolina. 

The news comes after the Navy “successfully located and retrieved” all of the debris from the balloon, according to U.S. Northern Command.

Among the retrieved wreckage were “electronics and optics,” said White House national security spokesman John Kirby. 

“It’s a significant amount [of recovered material], including the payload structure as well as some of the electronics and the optics, and all that’s now at the FBI laboratory in Quantico,” Kirby said, according to the Guardian.

The FBI’s analysis is expected to uncover new information. 

“We’re going to learn even more, we believe, by getting a look at the guts inside it and seeing how it worked and what it was capable of,” Kirby said. 

U.S. fighter jets shot down the balloon on Feb. 4. 

China acknowledged it owned the balloon but denied it was for surveillance. 

FBI Official: Chinese Hackers Pose ‘Growing Threat’ to U.S. Political Parties

FBI cyber crime agents, via FBI.

By Steve Neavling

A senior FBI official on Thursday warned election workers in the U.S. that Chinese hackers pose a “growing threat” after they targeted political parties prior to the 2022 midterm election, CNN reports.

In a meeting with secretaries of state, Cynthia Kaiser, deputy assistant director of the FBI’s Cyber Division, said Chinese hackers are part of “a sea of things we’re concerned” about.

Kaiser said the hackers’ attempts to target the infrastructure ahead of the 2022 election shows there will be “significant Chinese cyber activity … in the coming year.”

Kaiser also warned that Russia, Iran and cybercriminals also pose a threat. 

“We don’t have any intelligence that Russia is looking to target state and local or election systems more directly than before,” she said. “But we’re certainly aware of … the possibility and have a very low threshold for sharing that information.”

In October, the FBI warned that Chinese hackers were scouring the headquarters of state political parties in search of vulnerable systems to exploit ahead of the midterms.

Trump, Angry over Wray’s Testimony about Russia And Antifa, Suggests He May Replace FBI Director

Christopher Wray (File photo)

By Steve Neavling

President Trump lashed out at FBI Director Christopher Wray and even suggested he may consider replacing him after he testified about Russia meddling in the presidential election.

“I did not like his answers yesterday,” Trump told reporters Friday, referring to Wray’s testimony before the House Homeland Security Committee.

When asked if he may replace Wray, Trump responded, “We’re looking at a lot of different things.”

Wray told lawmakers that Russia continues to be “very active” in interfering with the election, primarily to “denigrate” Trump’s Democratic challenger Joe Biden.

“The intelligence community consensus is that Russia continues to try to influence our elections,” Wray said while testifying before the House Homeland Security Committee.

Trump suggested China was a bigger threat.

“The big problem is China,” Trump said. “And we can have others also, and I’m not excluding anybody, but the big problem is China. And why he doesn’t want to say that, that certainly bothers me.”

Trump also did not like how Wray characterized “antifa,” which the FBI director said is “more of an ideology or a movement than an organization.” Trump disagreed.

“Antifa is bad — really bad,” Trump said.

Trump has a history of butting heads with appointees who contradict his political rhetoric.

DOJ Expected to Soon Charge Trump Fundraiser Elliot Brody in Alleged Influencing Scheme

Elliot Broidy, via Facebook.

By Steve Neavling

The Justice Department is expected to soon charge former Donald Trump fundraiser Elliot Broidy on allegations that he sought to help foreign interests gain influence from the U.S. government, The Washington Post reports.

Broidy, a longtime GOP fundraiser who helped Trump’s presidential campaign raise million of dollars, could be days away from a plea deal.

Part of the years-long investigation includes allegations that he played a role in urging the Trump administration to stop investigating a Malaysian government corruption case and help extradite a Chinese dissident back to his home country.

On Monday, one of Broidy’s business associates, Nickie Mali Lum Davis, pleaded guilty for her role in a “back-channel lobbying campaign” involving the Malaysian government and Chinese dissident Duo Wengui.

The Justice Department and an attorney for Broidy declined to comment.

U.S. Marshals Service Arrests Chinese Researcher Accused of Visa Fraud to Steal University Research

Juan Tang, via Justice Department.

By Steve Neavling

The U.S. Marshals Service arrested a Chinese researcher accused of visa fraud for allegedly lying about her ties to her country’s military in order to receive an application to work in the U.S.

Juan Tang, 37, was among four researchers who have been charged with visa fraud after federal authorities said they believed the Chinese consulate in San Francisco was harboring her. The other three researchers were previously arrested.

Tang was being held in the Sacramento County jail, USA Today reports.

The Justice Department says Tang lied on two occasions about her military ties in a visa application in October.

Federal authorities suspect the four suspects were trying to steal research from American universities.

Tang was a visiting researcher in the Department of Radiation Oncology at the University of California in Davis.

FBI Suspects Chinese Consulate in San Francisco is Harboring Scientist Charged with Visa Fraud

By Steve Neavling

The FBI suspects the Chinese consulate in San Francisco is harboring a Chinese scientist accused of visa fraud.

Tang Juan and the three other researchers have been charged with visa fraud for allegedly lying about their ties to the Chinese Military to receive applications to work in the U.S.

Three of the researchers have been arrested, while the FBI believes Tang has been hiding for weeks in the Chinese consulate in San Francisco.

In an interview with the FBI, Tang insisted she did not serve in the military, despite evidence to the contrary.

The Justice Department suspects the researchers are trying to steal research from American universities.

“This is another part of the Chinese Communist Party’s plan to take advantage of our open society and exploit academic institutions,” John Demers, the Justice Department’s top national security official, said in a statement, according to The Associated Press.