Chinese national living in Chicago arrested for spying on U.S. for China

by WorldTribune Staff, September 26, 2018

A Chinese national who enlisted in the U.S. Army Reserve after being recruited as a spy by China has been charged with acting as an agent of a foreign government.

Ji Chaoqun

Ji Chaoqun, 27, was arrested in Chicago by FBI agents.

The Department of Justice said Ji was allegedly trying to recruit Chinese nationals living in the U.S., including engineers, scientists, and defense contractors.

According to a criminal complaint filed in federal court, Ji came to the United States in 2013 on an F1 visa as an engineering student and was working with a high-level officer in Communist China’s civilian spy agency, the Ministry of State Security (MSS).

After Chinese intelligence had recruited Ji, he enlisted in the Military Accession Vital to the National Interest program (MAVNI) of the U.S. Army Reserve. The program allows the Army to hire legal aliens with special skills.

Ji also applied for a security clearance and provided misleading answers to questions about his foreign contacts, the DOJ said.

According to a Sept. 25 report by security correspondent Bill Gertz for the Washington Free Beacon, the FBI said Ji had sent eight PDF documents to a Chinese intelligence officer that were described in court papers as “background reports on eight U.S. individuals generated by U.S.-based companies Intelius, Inc., Instant Checkmate, and Spokeo.”

All eight individuals were described as naturalized U.S. citizens born in China or Taiwan who now live in the United States.

“All eight individuals either currently worked in or were recently retired from a career in science and technology industry, including several individuals specializing in aerospace fields,” the complaint against Ji states.

Seven of the eight people worked for or recently retired from defense contractors engaged in classified work, Gertz’s report said.

The FBI believes the background checks were part of an intelligence recruitment program by the MSS.

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