Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee were surprised when they learned this week that a member of their committee, Democratic Representative Eric Swallowell, had been targeted by a suspected Chinese spy who had slept with American politicians as an information-extraction tactic.
Swallowell, representing a California county south of Oakland, received an FBI “defensive briefing” in 2015 about activist Fang Fang, but not most, if not all, of the elite committee Republicans were told that a colleague had been targeted by China.
Fang, also known as Christine Fang, returned to China in mid-2015 as US officials tightened their scrutiny of her series of lures in a honey trap. She reportedly collected donations for Swallowell’s 2014 re-election campaign before he joined the Intelligence Committee in 2015.
A Republican congressional source told the newspaper that Republicans on the Intelligence Committee had not been informed of the relationship.
The commission should have access to some of the country’s most sensitive information, in order to fulfill its oversight role in shadowy government programs.
If the Chinese operation occurred as described in the bomb Tuesday essay At Axios, it is unclear why lawmakers have kept the exception of Swallowell in the dark, especially since Fang may have targeted Swallowell due to its proximity to sensitive information.
The Post asked 12 of Swalwell’s Democratic colleagues on the Intelligence Committee, including President Adam Schiff (D-California), about the time they learned of Swalwell’s connection with Fang, but they didn’t immediately respond.
Swalwell did not say whether he had a romantic relationship with Fang, who allegedly seduced two Midwestern mayors as part of her operation from 2011 to 2015. He claimed in a Wednesday appearance on CNN that he “couldn’t talk much about the details” because the information It must be kept confidential.
The case may be haunted by Swallowell as Republicans demand more information.
“Do chef and [House Speaker Nancy] Pelosi know? Why hasn’t anyone taken any steps to keep sensitive information, at least in relation to China, away from the organ that is at best potentially vulnerable? A Republican close to the White House told the newspaper.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R) asked in an interview with Fox News Tuesday evening, “Did Nancy Pelosi know that this happened when I put him on the committee?”
Drew Hamill, Pelosi (de-California) spokesperson, declined to disclose when learning of the affair. He said: “We cannot comment, confirm or deny any of these notifications or notifications.”
But Hamill told The Post that Swallowell was still expected to keep his position on the committee when the next session of Congress begins in January.
Hamill claimed that “Minority Leader McCarthy is trying to divert attention from his constant flattery of Qanun and his refusal to heed the Anti-Defamation League’s call to refuse to appoint its members to congressional committees, including the important national security committees.”
Hamill added, “The spokesman has full confidence in the service of Congressman Swallowell in Congress and in the Intelligence Committee.”