Christine Fang, a suspected Chinese spy, reportedly lured two mayors with sex and developed close ties with Democratic politicians to breach US political circles and seek classified information. Fang reportedly fled US in 2015 after her cover was blown up by FBI.
Fang, who was also known as Fang Fang, was identified as a student of California State University East Bay who moved across the country targeting politicians for four years until 2015. However, the U.S. officials believe that Fang could not receive or pass any classified information, even as the case "was a big deal, because there were some really, really sensitive people that were caught up" a senior U.S. intelligence official has said.
Fang Helped Swalwell Raise Funds For His Re-Election
In an expose published by Axios, the outlet reported that Fang, who laid the honey trap, used sexual and romantic tactics to lure two unnamed Midwestern mayors, including the one in Ohio. She has developed close contacts with number of national politicians including a US congressman.
The Chinese intelligence operative was also frequently sighted with Democratic Rep. Eric Swalwell on a number of evets. Fang not only helped Swalwell in raising funds for his re-election campaign but also helped him appoint an intern at his office, reported the outlet.
However, Swalwell was alerted by the federal investigation agency probing Fang's operation, following which he cut the chord with the Chinese Intelligence operative. She fled US in mid-2015 after suspecting that her cover has been blown.
In a statement to Axios, Swalwell's office said, "Rep. Swalwell, long ago, provided information about this person â whom he met more than eight years ago, and whom he hasn't seen in nearly six years â to the FBI. To protect information that might be classified, he will not participate in your story."
How Did Fang Manage Close Ties with US Politicians?
Speaking to Axios, US Intelligence officials revealed that the Chinese spy used political gatherings, civic society conferences, campaign rallies, and campus events to connect with elected officials and other prominent figures, Bay Area political operatives, former students, and current and former elected officials.
The intelligence officers also suspected that Fang was likely using unwitting subagents whom she managed to place in local political and congressional offices. The Chinese spy also extended her network with politicians by attending regional conferences for US mayors, the report read.
It was also found that Fang helped with a fundraiser for Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) in 2013. A flyer from the event was shared by the Chinese spy on her Facebook page where she also posted several photos posing with California politicians, including Khanna, Swalwell, Rep. Judy Chu (D-Calif.) and then-Rep. Mike Honda (D-Calif.).
Speculations Rife Over Identity of 'Ohio Mayor'
Soon after the reports of Chinese spy laying honey traps for the US politicians, speculations started over the identity of the Ohio Mayor involved in the scandal.
Fang who was reportedly in her 20s or 30s, was once caught having sex with unnamed Ohio Mayor in his car. The sexual interactions were caught on FBI electronic surveillance. During one such sexual encounter when the Ohio Mayor asked Fang why she was interested in him, the Chinese spy reportedly responded that she wanted to get better at speaking English.
The internet soon started seeking the name of the Mayor involved in the incident. "No, no, no...he was teaching her to speak English! Oh, wait...that was the other guy-- the mayor from Ohio...." tweeted a user.
"Name names! Other than Swalwell, who all shared the Fang 'tang? Which Ohio Mayor? Who else? Most importantly, were they wearing masks or was this a super-spreader event?" wrote another.