China has apprehended an employee of a military industrial conglomerate on suspicion of espionage for the CIA, Chinese national security authorities announced on Friday, adding to the public accusations of espionage between Beijing and Washington.
The Ministry of State Security, the country’s civilian espionage agency, stated in a statement that a military industrial worker with the surname Zeng had sold military secrets to the CIA in exchange for large quantities of money.
The employer of the 52-year-old suspect had sent him to Italy to study. According to the ministry, there he met “an official with the U.S. embassy,” who later turned out to be a CIA agent.
“Zeng gradually developed a psychological dependence on (the U.S. official), who took the opportunity to indoctrinate him with Western values,” according to a statement posted on the ministry’s WeChat page.
It was alleged that the U.S. official promised the Chinese suspect large sums of money and assistance with his family’s emigration to the United States in exchange for classified information about China’s military that the worker had access to in the course of his employment.
“Having finished overseas study, Zeng returned to China and continued to have multiple secret meetings with the CIA agents and provided a great amount of key intelligence and collected funds for spying,” the ministry said.
The statement added that the suspect had been detained and that the case was being investigated further.
The CIA refused to comment on the claims.
Enhancing CIA’s Intelligence Gathering Focus on China: Director William Burns’ Insights
William Burns, director of the CIA, has spoken publicly about the agency’s efforts to improve its intelligence collection capabilities in China. Last month at the Aspen Security Conference, he stated, “We’ve made progress and we’re working very hard over recent years to ensure that we have a strong human intelligence capability to complement what we can acquire through other methods.”
China’s announcement is the most recent in a series of public accusations of espionage between the United States and China.
Two U.S. Navy personnel were detained last week on suspicion of leaking military secrets to China.
Since the U.S. fired down a suspected Chinese surveillance balloon that had flown over U.S. territory earlier this year, relations between the two countries have reached their lowest point in years.
Source: CBS News