It was revealed Wednesday Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) employed a potential Chinese spy as a member of her San Francisco staff since the 1990s.
On a trip to China to visit relatives, the prospective spy who also served as Feinstein’s driver, became friends with an individual connected to the Ministry of State Security (MSS), China’s primary foreign intelligence agency, who tried to employ the now former staffer.
According to the FBI, the staffer, alleged by the Daily Caller to be one Russell Lowe, did not reveal any sensitive information, but was forced into retirement by the end of 2013. Charges were never filed against the driver who was investigated by the Bureau five years ago.
At an Ohio rally Saturday evening, President Trump took the opportunity to compare Feinstein’s situation to that of the ongoing Russian investigation.
“Speaking of China, it just came out that the Democratic leader and the leader of the Russian investigation, Dianne Feinstein, had a Chinese spy as her driver for 20 years!” Trump exclaimed. “And she’s leading the Russian investigation if that’s what you call it. How about she’s leading the Russia witch hunt!”
Trump also took the time to blast Feinstein on Twitter, though he previously has expressed his approval of the California Democrat.
“…Dianne is the person leading our Nation on “Collusion” with Russia (only done by Dems). Will she now investigate herself?”
It is not Feinstein, however, that is running the Russian investigation — but Special Counsel Robert Mueller under the authority of U.S. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. Feinstein, vice chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, responded the next day with a tweet.
(1/2) The FBI told me 5 years ago it had concerns that China was seeking to recruit an administrative member of my Calif staff (despite no access to sensitive information). I took those concerns seriously, learned the facts and made sure the employee left my office immediately. pic.twitter.com/qpVyPanpJk
— Sen Dianne Feinstein (@SenFeinstein) August 4, 2018
It’s not only China that’s had its eye on Silicon Valley either. The Russian Federation has targeted the San Francisco Bay Area dating back as far as the Cold War. In recent years and the 2016 election, Russia has become a more disruptive force in American politics.
“San Francisco is a trailblazer — you see the changes there in foreign counterintelligence first. Trends emerge there,” said one former senior intelligence official.
American intelligence officials believe there is a full-on epidemic of espionage on the West Coast. If the U.S. wants to crack down on foreign spies, we need to pay close attention towards what happens in San Francisco.
[San Francisco Chronicle] [USA Today] [Politico]