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Chinese National Who Enlisted In US Army Accused Of Helping To Recruit Spies
A 27-year-old Chinese national who served in the U.S. Army Reserve was arrested Tuesday on a federal charge of helping China-based intelligence operatives recruit spies living in this country, according to federal prosecutors.
Ji Chaoqun, who has lived in Chicago since 2013, was ordered held without bond Tuesday during an initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael Mason.
A criminal complaint unsealed Tuesday accuses Ji of working with intelligence officers at China’s Ministry of State Security by sending information about eight potential recruits to the confidential unit in 2015.
The eight people were naturalized U.S. citizens born in mainland China or Taiwan who were working in or had recently retired from jobs in the science, technology or aerospace fields, according to the 16-page complaint. At least seven of those people were employed by U.S. defense contractors.
Ji emailed the background reports — purchased from Spokeo, Intelius and Instant Checkmate for a total of $700 — to a Chinese intelligence official through an email with the subject line, “Midterm Test Questions,” the complaint says.
“In my training and experience, it is typical for Chinese intelligence officers to instruct their U.S. assets to conceal information they are providing to their handlers in China in order to protect that information, the asset and the intelligence officer,” FBI Special Agent Andrew McKay wrote in the complaint.
In May, the complaint alleges, Ji disclosed the arrangement to an undercover FBI agent who took audio and video recordings of their meeting. Ji said he met the intelligence officers during a school fair in Beijing that promoted the confidential unit.
“They just wanted me to purchase some documents on their behalf,” Ji told the agent. “Their reason was just because it was inconvenient for them to make payments from China.”
Ji’s court-appointed lawyer, Laura Hoey, declined to comment Tuesday through a spokesman for her law firm.
Despite Ji’s alleged contacts with several Chinese intelligence officers, he was able to enlist in the U.S. Army Reserve in May 2016, according to the complaint.
Ji applied to the Army through the Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest program, which allows the armed forces to recruit noncitizens with specialized skills, the complaint says.
Representatives for the Army Reserve did not respond to requests for comment Monday afternoon.
Ji moved to Chicago on an F1 visa that allowed him to earn a master’s degree in electrical engineering from the Illinois Institute of Technology in 2015, according to the complaint.
Authorities began investigating Ji in late 2017 when 36 text messages from his cellphone appeared in an a Apple iCloud database that agents seized during a separate probe in Ohio.
That investigation focused on someone accused of providing technical information about a leading aircraft company to the Chinese government.
Ji allegedly exchanged text messages with two Chinese intelligence officers between December 2013 and July 2015, according to the complaint.
©2018 the Chicago Tribune. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
NAVAL BASE SAN DIEGO — An enlisted Navy SEAL sniper testified on Wednesday that Chief Eddie Gallagher told his platoon prior to their deployment that if they ever captured a wounded fighter, their medics knew "what to do to nurse them to death."
In early morning testimony, former Special Operator 1st Class Dylan Dille told a packed courtroom that he had heard the phrase during unit training before the men of SEAL Team 7 Alpha Platoon deployed to Mosul, Iraq in 2017.
Navy SEAL under investigation for allegedly manipulating (and hitting on) the widow of the Green Beret he helped kill
A Navy SEAL sentenced to one year in prison for the death of Army Special Forces Staff Sgt. Logan Melgar is under investigation for allegedly flirting with Melgar's widow while using a false name and trying to persuade her that he and another SEAL accused of killing her husband were "really good guys," according to the Washington Post.
Soldiers with the 3rd Cavalry Regiment from Fort Hood, Texas, returned from a deployment to Iraq, Syria, and Kuwait, in February 60 combat badges richer.
Army Staff Sgt. Albert Leon Mampre, who served during World War II with the famed Easy Company, 2nd Battalion, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division depicted in the HBO series 'Band of Brothers,' was laid to rest on June 15th, the Army announced
Mampre, who died on May 31 at 97 years old, was the last living medic from Easy Company, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. A number of soldiers assigned to his unit provided an honor guard for his funeral service.
Fired Marine one-star general was ‘abusive, bullying, toxic, abrasive, and aggressive,’ investigation finds
In his seven months as legislative assistant to the commandant of the Marine Corps, Brig. Gen. Norman Cooling proved to be an abusive, bullying boss, who openly disparaged women, ruled through intimidation, and attempted to spread a rumor about a female officer after the Senate complained about him to the defense secretary, according to a Defense Department's Inspector General's Office investigation.
"The adjectives a majority of witnesses used to describe his leadership were abusive, bullying, toxic, abrasive, and aggressive,"a DoD IG report on the investigation into Cooling's conduct found. "Some subordinates considered him an 'equal opportunity offender,' disparaging men and women. BGen Cooling denied making some of the comments attributed to him, but more than one witness told us they heard him make each of the comments described in this section of our report."