Town Square

Post a New Topic

Chinese Spy 'Slept' In U.S. for 2 Decades :Espionage Network Said to Be Growing

Original post made by mike w b, College Terrace, on Apr 3, 2008

Web Link

Prosecutors called Chi Mak the "perfect sleeper agent," though he hardly looked the part.
For two decades, the bespectacled Chinese-born engineer lived quietly with his wife in a Los Angeles suburb, buying a house and holding a steady job with a U.S. defense contractor, which rewarded him with promotions and a security clearance.

Mak was sentenced last week to 24 1/2 years in prison by a federal judge who described the lengthy term as a warning to China not to "send agents here to steal America's military secrets."

But it may already be too late: According to U.S. intelligence and Justice Department officials, the Mak case represents only a small facet of an intelligence-gathering operation that has long been in place and is growing in size and sophistication.

The Chinese government, in an enterprise that one senior official likened to an "intellectual vacuum cleaner," has deployed a diverse network of professional spies, students, scientists and others to systematically collect U.S. know-how, the officials said.

Some are trained in modern electronic techniques for snooping on wireless computer transactions.

Others, such as Mak, are technical experts who have been in place for years and have blended into their communities.

Comments (10)

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Gary
a resident of Downtown North
on Apr 3, 2008 at 12:30 pm

When people (on this blog) express a relative lack of concern about the paucity of U.S. born engineers graduating from our universities, they should consider the security implications. H-1 visas and foreign student enrollment in our universities is a wide-open pipeline for espionage.

 +   Like this comment
Posted by julie
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 3, 2008 at 1:04 pm

In another recent case, former Northrop Grumman scientist Noshir

Gowadia, who helped build the B-2 bomber, was indicted last fall for

allegedly sharing cruise missile data with the Chinese government during a half-dozen trips to China.

He is scheduled to go on trial in October.

There is not only military espionage but also industrial espionage sometimes conducted through front companies.

We need to monitor and plug these leeks.

Some of these sleeper agents have been in place since the 1970s according to the FBI

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Dan
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 3, 2008 at 1:39 pm

For MANY years since the end of the Mao regime - and maybe before- the Chinese government has been paying big money for top Chinese students to attend Stanford for master's and Ph,D, degrees in physics, engineering, computer science, and many other scientific disciplines. I know one who had the total blessing of the Air Force Office of Scientific Research and the backing of the Office of Naval Research to stay in this country after graduation when he was supposed to go back to China.
(He was such a NICE guy and brilliant too, they said.) Last I heard, he is now head of a department at Stanford in break-through research. Money is hard to find for US-born students but not for the Chinese students who their government makes certain get into top US universities like Stanford, Harvard, Yale, MIT and Cal Tech with ties to Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and Cal with connections to Lawrence Livermore and Los Alamos.

This HB-1 Visa program is a tragic joke. These people get paid rock bottom salaries,
live six to an apartment, and 'forget to go home'. and price American graduates out of the market. US companies make out like bandits because they don't have to pay prevailing US wages. Talk about "sleeper agents" THEY WALK AMONG US!! -- but Congress has on blinders especially most of the California delegation.

Money is pouring into California real estate from Asia.

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 3, 2008 at 3:18 pm

If the Chinese government can do, why can't Al Qaida or any other extremist group? And, why spying only, why can't they get into politics or other powerful places. This is why I am against Obama.

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Kevin
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 3, 2008 at 4:42 pm


I was taking an engineering course at Stanford in the early seventies (while Mao was still in power). I noticed that Chinese students, from mainland China were there (prior to "ping-pong diplomacy). I thought it was a security threat then. I asked my professor about it, and he agreed, but said his hands were tied by the English department, which basically ran uninversity policy.

We are paying a big price for that policy now.

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Dan
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 3, 2008 at 6:33 pm

To: Resident - another Palo Alto neighborhood:
Al Qaida and other hostile extremists, Chinese, - and don't count out the Russians - ARE
doing it.

And to Kevin: And your professor said the English Department ran Stanford? Shades of Bruce Franklin. He was there then. Who took his place now?

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Perspective
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 7, 2008 at 3:27 pm

Maybe if the scientific literacy of Americans were better, U.S. Universities wouldn't be filled with foreign graduate students. Every survey of American students shows a pitiful lack of even general understanding in scientific topics. The U.S. survives by importing brains and education from overseas. If we stop now, it will be to our own detriment.

 +   Like this comment
Posted by perspective
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 7, 2008 at 4:14 pm

whoever you are, most recent poster calling himself Perspective, would you please stop using the name I have been using since I began almost a year ago?

editors: any progress on making this a "sign-in" forum?

 +   Like this comment
Posted by anonymous
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 9, 2008 at 1:44 pm

This ought to receive a LOT more attention than it does - we are asleep at the switch.

 +   Like this comment
Posted by a
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Apr 10, 2008 at 3:47 pm

Well hello Racism against the Chinese. Another reason to be racist. Too bad for all those Chinese women marrying white guys or white women marrying Chinese guys.

Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.


Post a comment

Posting an item on Town Square is simple and requires no registration. Just complete this form and hit "submit" and your topic will appear online. Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish.

Name: *

Select your neighborhood or school community: * Not sure?

Comment: *

Verification code: *
Enter the verification code exactly as shown, using capital and lowercase letters, in the multi-colored box.

*Required Fields

Freebirds Palo Alto shutters, Pieology to move in
By Elena Kadvany | 13 comments | 3,319 views

I blame soccer (teamwork)
By Douglas Moran | 12 comments | 2,504 views

A Glimpse into local HS Suicide
By Chandrama Anderson | 8 comments | 2,335 views

Deny the 429 Univ Ave Project Appeal
By Steve Levy | 7 comments | 1,432 views

Iíll have the Kraft Mac n Cheese w/Ketchup, Please
By Max Greenberg | 0 comments | 871 views