Chinese Official Suspected of Spying for the U.S Arrested

The Chinese government detained a security official believed to be a minister in China’s intelligence agency, the Ministry of State Security, who is suspected of passing information to the United States. It is unknown what kind of information the official may have divulged to the U.S. If true, the situation could prove to be the biggest intelligence breach in China in years. The detainee could be charged with treason and tried, receiving a maximum penalty of death. The last time a prominent espionage case of a Chinese official aiding the U.S. was in 1985.

David Wise, author of the book “Tiger Trap: America’s Secret Spy War with China” said, “If in fact the C.I.A. had a mole inside the Ministry of State Security, that would be a pretty big deal. It would open a window on Chinese intelligence operations worldwide, and first of all what they’re doing against the U.S. We might be able to identify their operatives and find out what the Chinese government role is in cyber warfare, which has never been proven.”

The news of the spying suspect’s detention has been passed around in foreign intelligence circles in reports that contain “if-statements” and sentences that begin with, “It is believed…” The detention of the official was first reported by Chinese-language news organizations outside the mainland that sometimes report rumor as fact. The World Journal identified the position of the suspect in the Ministry of State Security. Reuters reported from Hong Kong that an aide to a vice minister in the Ministry of State Security was arrested between January and March this year on suspicion that he had been passing intelligence to the United States for years.

Official response, however, has been absent: nothing from the United States officials, nothing from Chinese officials. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton declined to comment on the reports of an espionage arrest. A spokesman for the American Embassy in Beijing declined to comment. The State Department gave no statement. If this incident were to be brought into the open, it would add fuel to a series of discord during this year that are causing diplomatic tensions between Washington and Beijing.

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