Facts of the Case
In 2018, the Chinese Intelligence Officials directed Yeo to create a fake consulting company. This was to target the US government employees and an Army officer. The fake company appropriated the name of a renowned U.S. consulting firm. The latter also dealt with public and government relations. Strategically, Yeo then advertised for job openings in the company created by him. He received many resumes. The U.S. military and government personnel were among the majority to apply. Yeo then forwarded the resumes to a Chinese intelligence operative. This was done with an ulterior motive to send sensitive U.S. government information.
Yeo also used a professional networking website. Using the site, he targeted potential individuals having access to confidential information. Chinese Intelligence officials directed him to employ vulnerable persons. These included people who were under a financial crunch. Others too were recruited to gather sensitive data about the U.S. government. The same was then transferred to the Chinese government.
The FBI’s Washington Field Office and the Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service (DSS) conducted the investigation. Yeo entered his plea via videoconferencing. Yeo’s act as an illegal agent of the Chinese Government violates 18 U.S.C. 951. The maximum penalty for such an infringement is 10 years in prison. He pled guilty before the Honourable Tanya S. Chutkan in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.
John C. Demers has condemned Yeo’s act, calling him out. Such an incident is an example of how the Chinese Government exploits “the openness of the American society”, he remarked.
The truth is that Yeo’s stratagem marks one of the many facets of the Chinese government’s clandestine motives. China, daily recruits people. These people then collate sensitive, non-public information. The same data is then used by China to its advantage. The FBI has implored the citizens to be wary of such professional networking social media sites. Especially the ones that hold security clearances. The FBI has resolved to hold people working for the Chinese Intelligence accountable. The U.S. National Security must not be compromised at any cost as stated by the FBI.
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