China has been trying to gain internal information about the Federal Reserve, according to people associated with a Senate panel investigation. Beijing built a network of informants inside the US central bank to access data, said a report released by Republican staff members of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, the Wall Street Journal reported.
One of the Federal Reserve employees has been detained in connection with the case. So far, the report has failed to clarify whether Beijing became successful in its attempt.
China Recruited US-Based Economists
The report by committee staff of Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio claims that Beijing started targeting the Federal Reserve in 2013. US-based economists were being recruited by China to receive information in return for money or other benefits.
In the report, close ties between Federal Reserve employees and the People's Bank of China have also been revealed. Some employees also have links with Chinese media outlets and the Chinese Thousand Talents Program. Such developments endorse speculation of economic espionage, according to US intelligence officials.
13 Federal Reserve Employees Identified As Part of P-Network
The report highlights a Federal Reserve analysis, which identified 13 employees as part of P-Network. Working in the eight locations of the Federal Reserve, those employees are being seen as a potential concern for the US, according to the analysis.
A Federal Employee Was Detained Four Times
A member of the P-Network was also detained previously. During the trip to Shanghai in 2019, the member was detained four times. The employee's family was threatened and his phones, computers and contact information were hacked, according to the report.
China Threatened Employee's Family
Contact information of other Federal Reserve officials was also copied by Chinese authorities.
The Senate committee obtained the Federal Reserve's counterintelligence analysis of the P-Network in 2020, but it said the central bank now disputes many of the findings. At least one of the employees of the network was fired for "violating certain [Federal Reserve System] rules," according to the analysis obtained by the committee, reported NBC News.