A US Democratic leader staffer found snooping on behalf of the Chinese embassy has been fired after an investigation was carried into the matter.
Reportedly, the aide named Barbara Hamlett worked as a scheduler for Democratic Rep. Don Beyer of Virginia.
As per the investigation report, during her employment Hamlett used the position to contact the congressional staff through phone calls, emails, and office visits and invited them to meetings on behalf of officials of the Chinese embassy.
The purpose of the meetings was to extract information from the influential leaders to be used for Chinese interests.
Beyer’s deputy chief of staff Aaron Fritschner, however, told media that the congressman was unaware of Hamlett’s actions.
“Congressman Beyer was totally unaware of these activities prior to being contacted by the House Sergeant at Arms.”
“While Congressman Beyer had no inkling of this staffer’s actions and acted promptly upon learning of them, he understands that his constituents may be shocked to learn of this, just as he was,” said Fritschner.
Fritschner added that Beyer remained a “fierce critic of China’s record” and that “he will continue to oppose the CCP’s totalitarian repression of its citizens, and hold himself and his staff to the highest professional and ethical standards.”
Notably, Beyer had travelled alongside House Speaker Nancy Pelosi during her recent trip to Taiwan. The investigators are trying to ascertain if Hamlett had been in touch with the Chinese embassy even then.
The rather shocking expose comes in the backdrop of several high-profile cases of Chinese citizens being arrested by the authorities.
As reported by WION, earlier this week, the US Department of Justice charged 13 Chinese citizens, including two PRC intelligence officers, for trying to disrupt a US prosecution of the Chinese telecommunication firm Huawei.
Guochun He and Zheng Wang—the two Chinese intelligence officers who remain at large—were accused of buying out a US government employee to provide confidential information about the Justice Department’s probe against Huawei.
The likes of Hamlett and the 13 others arrested in the Huawei case are often linked to China’s United Front army.
In the past, the United Front has been described by Xi Jinping as his secret ‘magic weapon’. The operations of most of the members in the United Front are covert and spread beyond the middle kingdom. This year marks the 100th anniversary of China’s United Front.
(With inputs from agencies)
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