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House intelligence committee Republicans were surprised to learn this week that a member of their committee, Democratic Rep. Eric Swalwell, was targeted by a suspected Chinese spy who slept with US politicians as a tactic to elicit information.
Swalwell, who represents a California district south of Oakland, received an FBI “defensive briefing” in 2015 on operative Fang Fang, but most if not all Republicans on the elite committee weren’t told that a colleague had been targeted by China.
Fang, also known as Christine Fang, returned to China in mid-2015 as US officials heightened their scrutiny of her string of seductions. She reportedly fundraised for Swalwell’s 2014 re-election campaign before he joined the intelligence committee in 2015.
A congressional Republican source told The Post that intelligence committee Republicans had not been informed of the relationship.
The committee is supposed to have access to some of the nation’s most sensitive information to fulfill its oversight role of shadowy government programs.
If the Chinese operation occurred as described in a bombshell Tuesday article in Axios, it’s unclear why lawmakers aside from Swalwell were kept in the dark, especially since she may have targeted Swalwell due to his proximity to sensitive information.
The Post asked Swalwell’s 12 Democratic colleagues on the intelligence committee, including Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), about when they learned of Swalwell’s association with Fang, but they did not immediately reply.
Swalwell has not said if he had a romantic relationship with Fang, who allegedly seduced two Midwest mayors as part of her operation from 2011 to 2015. He claimed in a Wednesday CNN appearance that he “can’t talk too much about the details of the case” because the information should be kept secret.
A spokesman for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) did not answer questions about when she learned of the espionage operation, or if she will allow Swalwell to remain on the committee when the next congressional term begins in January.
The issue is likely to dog Swalwell as Republicans demand more information.
“Did Schiff and Pelosi know? Why did no one take any steps to keep sensitive intel, at least as it relates to China, far away from a member who is at best potentially compromised?” a Republican source close to the White House told The Post.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) asked in a Tuesday evening Fox News interview, “Did Nancy Pelosi know this had transpired when she put him on the committee?”
Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill deflected from the issue in a Wednesday response to that, saying, “Minority Leader McCarthy is trying to distract from his continued kowtowing to QAnon and his refusal to heed the call of the Anti-Defamation League to refuse to seat his QAnon Members on Congressional committees, including critical national security committees.”
“The Speaker has full confidence in Congressman Swalwell’s service in the Congress and on the Intelligence Committee,” Hammill added.
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