Chinese intelligence uses LinkedIn to recruit Americans

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While the Democrats and their MSM minions continue to obsess about the alleged Trump-Russian collusion in the 2016 presidential election, for which special investigator Robert Mueller has produced not a shred of credible evidence in more than a year, little attention is given to Chinese espionage. See:

The latest: China is using LinkedIn, the social media for professional networking, to recruit Americans with access to government and commercial secrets.

Warren Strobel and Jonathan Landay report for Reuters, August 31, 2018, that the head of the U.S. National Counter-Intelligence and Security Center, William Evanina, said in an exclusive interview that intelligence and law enforcement officials have told LinkedIn about China’s “super aggressive” campaign, using fake accounts to contact thousands of LinkedIn members at a time. Evanina said LinkedIn should emulate Twitter, Google and Facebook, which have all purged fake accounts allegedly linked to Iranian and Russian intelligence agencies.

China’s Ministry of State Security has “co-optees” – individuals who are not employed by intelligence agencies but work with them – set up fake LinkedIn accounts to approach potential recruits who are experts in fields such as supercomputing, nuclear energy, nanotechnology, semi-conductors, stealth technology, health care, hybrid grains, seeds and green energy. The co-optees — who have been linked to IP addresses associated with Chinese intelligence agencies or set up by bogus executive-recruiting companies — use bribery or phony business propositions in its recruitment efforts. Academics and scientists, for example, are offered payment for scholarly or professional papers, then asked or pressured to pass on U.S. government or commercial secrets.

China’s foreign ministry disputes Evanina’s allegations: “We do not know what evidence the relevant U.S. officials you cite have to reach this conclusion. What they say is complete nonsense and has ulterior motives.”

A senior U.S. intelligence official, who requested anonymity in order to discuss the matter, said “some correlation” has been found between Americans targeted through LinkedIn and data hacked from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management in 2014 and 2015. The hackers stole sensitive private information, such as addresses, financial and medical records, employment history and fingerprints, of more than 22 million Americans who had undergone background checks for security clearances. China is identified as the leading suspect in the massive hacking, an assertion China’s foreign ministry at the time dismissed as “absurd”.

Joshua Skule, the head of the FBI’s intelligence division charged with countering foreign espionage in the United States, said China is “conducting economic espionage at a rate that is unparalleled in our history,” and that about 70% of China’s overall espionage is aimed at the U.S. private sector, rather than the government.

While Russia, Iran, North Korea and other nations also use LinkedIn and other platforms to identify recruitment targets, U.S. intelligence officials say China is the most prolific and poses the biggest threat. German and British authorities have warned their citizens that Beijing is using LinkedIn to try to recruit them as spies. But this is the first time a U.S. official has publicly discussed this problem in the United States. It is also highly unusual for a senior U.S. intelligence official to single out a company by name and publicly recommend it take action. LinkedIn, which is owned by Microsoft, boasts 562 million users in more than 200 counties and territories, including 149 million U.S. members.

LinkedIn’s head of trust and safety Paul Rockwell said LinkedIn “is a victim here” and that “We are doing everything we can to identify and stop this activity. We’ve never waited for requests to act and actively identify bad actors and remove bad accounts using information we uncover and intelligence from a variety of sources including government agencies.” Earlier this month, LinkedIn had taken down “less than 40” fake accounts, but Rockwell declined to provide numbers of fake accounts associated with Chinese intelligence agencies.

U.S. counter-intelligence chief William Evanina gave the example of Kevin Mallory, 60, a retired CIA officer convicted in June of conspiring to commit espionage for China.

A fluent Mandarin speaker, Kevin Mallory was struggling financially when he was contacted via a LinkedIn message in February 2017 by a Chinese national posing as a headhunter. The individual, using the name Richard Yang, arranged a telephone call between Mallory and a man claiming to work at a Shanghai think tank. Even though Mallory assessed his Chinese contacts to be intelligence officers, during two subsequent trips to Shanghai, Mallory agreed to sell U.S. defense secrets, sent over a special cellular device he was given. He is due to be sentenced in September and could face life in prison.

Evanina said five current and former U.S. officials – including Mallory – have been charged with or convicted of spying for China in the past two and a half years. Additional cases of suspected espionage for China by U.S. citizens are being investigated.

Some current and former officials post significant details about their government work history online – even sometimes naming classified intelligence units that the government does not publicly acknowledge. Evanina said LinkedIn “is a very good site. But it makes for a great venue for foreign adversaries to target not only individuals in the government, formers, former CIA folks, but academics, scientists, engineers, anything they want. It’s the ultimate playground for collection.”

U.S. intelligence services are alerting current and former officials to the threat and telling them what security measures they can take to protect themselves.


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14 responses to “Chinese intelligence uses LinkedIn to recruit Americans

  1. Not that I dont believe the PRC is an adversary, I just dont believe the MSM. PDJT didnt have a “russian” connection and the story of the Russian threat is nit being bought. Now they push the Red Dragon as the dark dangerous enemy. The truth is the “russian” connection was a chosenite connection and they are the true enemy to our once great republic. They influence every election, pay off for votes, 99% of all media, 100% of all adverts movies and TV and suck countries dry. But lets push Russia, China, Iran, some guy hidding in a cave, the other guy McStain visited in Syria as real enemies.

  2. Thank you for the warning, Dr. Eowyn. I will pass this around to some who should be alerted on LinkedIn.

  3. Sure enough, there’s Chinese LinkedIn page (foreign language versions by LinkedIn) for Chinese consumption. Don’t even have to translate it.

  4. I think it’s time to start dealing with these traitors to the United States the way they were dealt with many years ago. Julius and Ethel Rosenberg anyone?

    Fire up the old electric chairs and string up new ropes on the old gallows. Start with Hillary, Obama, and Dianne Feinstein. Followed quickly by Bill, Eric Holder, Peter Strzok, and Bruce and Nellie Ohr.

    This would at least make these criminals think twice before they sell out their country.

  5. They want you all to forget when back in 1996, the Democrat Campaign Finance Committee & the Clinton Administration “Conspired” to ‘election meddle” with communist China to steal our elections by the DCFC & Clinton Admin, taking tens of millions of illegal campaign contributions (bribes).
    The criminal treasonous Clinton Administration in response to those bribes, gave them guidance missile technology & got them Permanent Normal Trade Relations (so they would not have to go through the annual Most Favored Nation process) & pushed them into the WTO over many member nations protests because of communist Chinese predatory, illegal, & unethical trade practices. This bankrupted our economy, shipped out tens of millions of US jobs, destroyed the environment (China is now the #1 polluter) and created the enemy that China really is.

    • That’s exactly right. Isn’t it funny how short people’s memories are? Suddenly, Communist China was just “China, our Most Favored Trading Partner”. All those illegal contributions (sound familiar?).

      Then he stole all the money in Social Security to “balance the budget”. Then we quit manufacturing anything but cheeseburgers.

  6. The Chinese are balls deep in us and raping away. Like any rape victim, we just want it to end.

  7. Meanwhile the SHES cast is probably still teaching Mandarin. Once Clinton decided that China was our “Most Valued Trade Partner” the fact that it was a communist nation just sort of,…….., evaporated.

    Nobody talks about the execution vans or the abortion vans roaming the country. Nobody talks about the censorship or lack of freedom. NO, they “trade” so its ok.

    Make no mistake. These self-serving creeps have never had any love for anything but themselves. They now have their bought-and-paid-for agents in the MSM spouting nonsense 24/7 and they can smell their New Odor.

    It isn’t so surprising that China is advertising for spies. What’s amazing is that there is a vehicle for that and they are getting offers.

  8. @Lophatt, good one, Clinton balanced the budget by robbing SSI. I read about plans by the powerful & influential Fabian Socialists, plans to genocide the Black in Africa (after they destroy the White countries/rule there) and replace the Blacks with Asian colonist/workers to exploit the resources for the “World Order Rulers”. Watch China’s big moves in Africa going on now.

  9. Ha! And no doubt they learned a lot more from Hillary’s emails. One need only read Brett Decker’s book, BOWING TO BEIJING to understand what an evil empire the Chinese Communists have built.

  10. It started with David Rockefeller, Commander of Commanders-in-Chief since LBJ. With Nixon, our doors were opened wide for a love relationship with our former Marxist mortal enemy, Red China. GHWB became our connection there, DR lauded Mao for his success with Communism in controlling the masses with a barrel of a gun (up to sixty million killed by government firearms in a country without a Second Amendment), our industrial base exported with all the instruction and information needed to drive up our unemployment rate and national debt, and establishing a military power. Some mayors turn over keys to their cities to those who will bring destruction; we have had many presidents who turned over the key to our country.


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