Chinese nationals attempting entry to U.S. bases spark espionage concerns
Officials believe these breaches are attempts to test security practices at U.S. military installations and involve Chinese nationals who are required to report back their findings.
An increasing number of incidents have been occurring involving Chinese nationals, sometimes posing as tourists, attempting to access sensitive U.S. sites, including military bases, rocket launch sites and even the White House.
The FBI, the Department of Defense and other agencies held a review last year, according to The Wall Street Journal, to figure out how to limit these incidents from occurring. The Journal is reporting that there have been as many as 100 such incidents in recent years, according to U.S. officials who describe them as a potential espionage threat.
These “gate-crashers” range from “Chinese nationals found crossing into a U.S. missile range in New Mexico to what appeared to be scuba divers swimming in murky waters near a U.S. government rocket-launch site in Florida,” according to the outlet.
Officials believe these breaches are attempts to test security practices at U.S. military installations and involve Chinese nationals who are required to report back their findings to the Chinese government.
Three Chinese citizens were sentenced to about a year in prison in 2020 after pleading guilty to illegally entering the Key West naval air station and taking photos.
While there have been no cases that resulted in espionage charges, two Chinese diplomats were expelled from the U.S. in 2019 on suspicion of espionage after they drove onto a highly sensitive military facility in Virginia where U.S. Navy SEALs train, according to the Journal.