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DNI John Ratcliffe: China Is Using Blackmail, Covert Influence to Target Members of Congress

Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe on Thursday told CBS News reporter Catherine Herridge that the communist Chinese government is using blackmail, bribery, and covert operations to target lawmakers on Capitol Hill as part of a broad effort to influence policymaking.

Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe tells @CBS_Herridge that China is using blackmail, bribery and covert influence to target members of Congress and make sure “only laws that are favorable to China are passed” https://t.co/zloXmJ4vmk pic.twitter.com/s3fb1m7359

— CBS News (@CBSNews) December 3, 2020

A partial transcript is as follows:

CATHERINE HERRIDGE: You wrote a piece for the Wall Street Journal and you say China is targeting members of Congress with six times the frequency of Russia and 12 times of Iran. What is behind Beijing’s aggressive approach?

DNI JOHN RATCLIFFE: They want laws and policies out of the United States that are favorable to China and what they are really trying to do is through blackmail, bribery, overt and covert operations, trying to make sure only laws that are favorable to China are passed.

HERRIDGE: What you been to Capitol Hill [sic] and have you briefed this threat information to lawmakers?

DNI RATCLIFFE: I was so troubled by what I saw from the position of director of national intelligence that I briefed both the House and the Senate Intelligence Committees on this information, which they found surprising and troubling.

Ratcliffe: We Lose $4,000-$6,000 Per Household to Chinese Economic Espionage Every Year


DNI John Ratcliffe tells @CBS_Herridge every U.S. household loses up to $6,000 a year from China’s economic espionage:

“China is an economic threat and a technological threat. And that’s something that the United States hasn’t had to deal with before” https://t.co/cCiYrAiljg pic.twitter.com/1WhJIM9mAQ— CBS News (@CBSNews) December 3, 2020

Trump Puts Travel Restrictions in Place for Chinese Communist Party Members

The Trump administration on Wednesday put in place restrictions on travel for members of the Chinese Communist Party and their families into the United States.

The New York Times reported on the restrictions, which limit the duration of travel visas. A Chinese visa holder would have to enter the U.S. within a month after it was issued:

Previously, party members, like other Chinese citizens, could obtain visitor visas for the United States that were valid for up to 10 years.

Travel visas for party members will also be limited to a single entry rather than multiple entries as was possible before, according to two people familiar with the changes.

The new measures do not affect party members’ eligibility for other kinds of visas, such as immigration or employment. The State Department spokesman added that no current visas would be revoked as a result of the policy changes. The spokesman made his comments after The New York Times reported on the new limits.

The Times claimed in its report that the Trump administration will cause problems for Joe Biden if he becomes the next president but also reported that Biden might stay the course on Trump’s China policy.

“While some might hope for a reset of relations from Mr. Biden, his views on China have hardened since he was vice president under President Barack Obama,” the Times reported. “Mr. Biden appears to be committed to leaving in place many of the tough measures taken by the Trump administration, including tariffs and restrictions on Chinese technology.”

The Times also reported that because it is difficult to know who is a member of the CCP except for high-level officials, it “could grant Mr. Biden flexibility in enforcing the new rules, though it would be hard to ignore travel to the United States by top Chinese officials and their family members.”

The State Department defended the move in the Times article.

“For decades we allowed the C.C.P. free and unfettered access to U.S. institutions and businesses while these same privileges were never extended freely to U.S. citizens in China,” the spokesman said.

A spokeswoman for China Foreign Ministry reacted to the announcement at a news conference.

“We hope people in the United States will adopt a common rational view toward China and give up their hatred and abnormal mind-set toward the Communist Party,” the spokesman said, according to Bloomberg News.