A federal deportation agent is among five men charged with helping Chinese espionage by spying on and harassing dissidents living in the US.
A grand jury in New York indicted the five on various crimes in what the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) called a “transnational repression scheme” orchestrated on behalf of Beijing.
They included Craig Miller, who has worked as a DHS deportation officer for 15 years in Minnesota, and Derrick Taylor, a retired DHS law enforcement agent now working as a private investigator in California.
The three others facing charges of Chinese espionage are Fan “Frank” Liu, Matthew Ziburis and Qiang “Jason” Sun.
“We will defend the rights of people in the US to engage in free speech and political expression, including views [China] wants to silence,” US assistant attorney general for national security Matthew G Olsen said.
“As charged, these individuals aided agents of a foreign government in seeking to suppress dissenting voices who have taken refuge here,” he added.
He said the two men connected with DHS “chose to forsake their oaths and violate the law” by helping Chinese espionage.
The charges include obstruction of justice for allegedly destroying evidence after FBI agents asked about use of a law enforcement database with information on US-based Chinese dissidents.
The Chinese embassy said in response that Beijing “always asks overseas Chinese citizens to comply with the host country’s laws and regulations”.
- George Russell