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Blinken, Flournoy's firm told clients how to score business deals with China

The firm's website offers what reads like private access to a dream team of intelligence and security insiders. 

Updated: December 1, 2020 - 8:18am

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

Two potential Biden administration Cabinet members have touted their ability while in the private sector to help clients navigate U.S. government regulations while doing business with communist-led China.

Antony Blinken, who Democrat Joe Biden picked as his nominee for secretary of state, is cofounder and managing partner in a strategic advisory firm with Michele Flournoy, who is widely handicapped as the next secretary of defense.

The firm, WestExec Advisors, claims to offer high-end clients "unparalleled expertise" on various factors pertaining to international business deals.

The group's website offers what reads like private access to a dream team of intelligence and security insiders. 

"We are an unrivaled, bipartisan team of senior national security leaders with the most recent experience and unmatched networks in defense, foreign policy, intelligence, economics, cybersecurity, data privacy, and strategic communications," the website states.

The company's summaries of successful work include projects that appear to help clients deal with Beijing while not drawing ire from U.S. national security authorities.

One client, identified only as a major U.S. manufacturing firm, sought help from WestExec when planning to do business in China.

The challenge, WestExec said, was as follows: "Continue to provide capability to and remain a trusted partner of the USG while pursuing commercial activities in China."

The Blinken-Flournoy group advised the client on a number of issues including "a communications strategy for engagements with U.S. national security officials, and offered a strategic assessment of U.S.-China relations with specific implications for the company’s business strategy."

Elsewhere, WestExec shepherded "a leading American pharmaceutical company, and a multi-billion dollar American technology company" that aspired to do business in China.

The challenge, according to WestExec, was to "develop a strategy for expanding market access in China while safeguarding against trade tensions between the U.S. and China; and develop and implement a market reentry and expansion strategy in east Asia."

In those cases, the Blinken-Flournoy group states, "WestExec analyzed the trajectory of the U.S.-China economic relationship and Chinese domestic and global healthcare priorities to inform a comprehensive strategy that aligned the firm’s comparative advantages with Chinese objectives."

In the process, WestExec said that it "identified U.S. and Chinese stakeholders to engage." 

Leveraging connections to facilitate business is commonplace in Washington, D.C., where insiders rotate between government and lucrative private-sector work. 

Questions regarding the Blinken-Flournoy partnership arise, government officials told Just the News, when two people who have helped their private clients succeed in China may become the front line for a U.S. government in contentious dealings with Beijing.

Blinken is a former deputy secretary of state and former deputy national security advisor to the president. Flournoy is a former under secretary of defense for policy.

Representatives from WestExec could not immediately be reached for comment.

Biden has not officially announced his choice for secretary of defense.