The Gertz File

Defense and National Security News


From Washington

By Bill Gertz

National Security Columnist, The Washington Times


  • Latest articles

  • State Department marks bioweapons accord with reference to pandemic
    March 26, 2020
    The State Department on Thursday hailed the anniversary of an agreement limiting biological weapons by noting the spread of the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic.
    (...Full story)

    Pompeo accuses Chinese government of secrecy about coronavirus
    March 25, 2020
    China must provide more information about the nature of the coronavirus now ravaging populations and economies around the world, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Wednesday.

    (...Full story)

    New law aims to block China from spying on U.S. telecommunications networks
    March 24, 2020
    President Trump on Tuesday signed a new law aimed at preventing China from penetrating American telecommunications networks for electronic spying and data collection.

    (...Full story)

    China backs away from claims of U.S. coronavirus origin
    March 23, 2020
    Chinese officials and state-run media outlets appear to be backing away from inflammatory recent charges that the coronavirus pandemic was started by the U.S.

    (...Full story)



    China still pushing story that U.S. behind virus crisis
    March 20, 2020
    China is continuing to spread a story falsely claiming the deadly coronavirus originated in the United States and was first spread in China by the U.S. Army — despite repeated denials from senior American leaders.
    (...Full story)

    China 'overreacting' to U.S. pushback on disinformation, official says
    March 18, 2020
    China is overreacting to the Trump administration's efforts to compete with Beijing, stepping up disinformation like recent official efforts to blame the global pandemic on the American military, a senior State Department official said Wednesday.

    (...Full story)

    Trump defends virus tweet as China kicks out more reporters
    March 17, 2020
    President Trump on Tuesday denounced China for falsely claiming the U.S. Army spread the deadly coronavirus in China, as Beijing condemned Mr. Trump's use of the phrase “Chinese Virus” and said it was expelling more U.S. journalists from the country.

    (...Full story)

    Convicted Chinese agent gets four-year prison sentence in California
    March 17, 2020
    A U.S. agent for China's Ministry of State Security who pleaded guilty to spying charges was sentenced to four years in prison.

    (...Full story)

    'Alternate reality': U.S. demands China halt coronavirus 'disinformation'
    March 16, 2020
    Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called on China's Communist Party to halt disinformation spread by propaganda outlets claiming the novel coronavirus was first spread in China by the U.S. Army.

    (...Full story)

    Communist China's propaganda arm blames coronavirus on U.S. Army
    March 12, 2020
    A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman on Thursday accused the U.S. Army of sending the coronavirus to China, a charge expected to be countered by the Trump administration as disinformation.

    (...Full story)

    Another academic ensnared in Chinese recruitment program
    March 11, 2020
    A former physics professor at West Virginia University has been charged with secretly working for China's government as part of a covert plan to acquire sensitive technology from the United States.

    (...Full story)

    Trump to pressure China to join New START deal to restrict its growing nuke arsenal
    March 10, 2020
    The Trump administration this week disclosed plans to seek an extension of the 2010 New START agreement to limit China's growing nuclear arsenal and restrict exotic new weapons not covered by the treaty.

    (...Full story)

    Trump cracks down with order against Chinese software company
    March 4, 2020
    President Trump has ordered an American hotel management software company to divest from its Chinese owner, calling Beijing's stake in the firm a threat to U.S. national security.

    (...Full story)

    Defense Secretary Esper presses Chinese general on 'unsafe' lasering of U.S. warplane
    March 6, 2020
    Defense Secretary Mark Esper this week confronted China’s defense minister over the Chinese military's use of a high-powered laser to illuminate a Navy patrol aircraft near Guam last month.

    (...Full story)

    CIA targeted in virus disinformation campaign
    March 4, 2020
    Four months after the outbreak of the coronavirus disease in China, investigators are still no closer to determining the origin of what has now produced a global pandemic.

    (...Full story)

    Pentagon pressed on Russian, Chinese push in Arctic
    March 3, 2020
    The Pentagon needs more icebreakers and strategic ports and better communications to prevent Russia and China from controlling new sea lanes in the Arctic, senior military and defense officials told Congress on Tuesday.

    (...Full story)

    U.S. charges two Chinese nationals in North Korea cryptocurrency scheme
    March 3, 2020
    Two Chinese nationals have been charged with laundering over $100 million in stolen cryptocurrency hacked by North Koreans in 2018, the Justice Department disclosed.

    (...Full story)

    Navy slow to protest latest Chinese laser attack on P-8 jet
    March 2, 2020
    The State Department has protested the potentially dangerous firing of a "weapons-grade" laser by a Chinese warship last month against a Navy P-8 jet over the Pacific near Guam, according to U.S. officials.

    (...Full story)

    U.S. eyes retaliation for Chinese moves against journalists
    Feb. 24, 2020
    The White House confirmed Monday it is considering retaliation for China's decision last week to order three American reporters to leave the country.

    (...Full story)

    Chinese tech in U.S. funnels data to Beijing's intelligence services
    Feb. 24, 2020
    Leading Chinese technology companies have sold equipment to state governments in the U.S. that can be used by Beijing to obtain sensitive information, according to a security analysis made public Monday.

    (...Full story)

    Trump isn't backing down, takes it to China with a pair of B-52 flights near Taiwan
    Feb. 22, 2020
    The United States and China are escalating their military duel near Taiwan by flying strategic bombers near the island state in recent days.

    (...Full story)

    China's military buildup, global ambitions on collision course with U.S., Pentagon official warns
    Feb. 20, 2020
    China's decades long military buildup now poses a threat to U.S. security not just in Asia but also around the globe, and a confrontation with China could emerge at one of several flashpoints, a senior Pentagon official warned Thursday.

    (...Full story)

    Trump set to retaliate after China expels U.S. journalists for 'racist' report
    Feb. 19, 2020
    The Trump administration is planning to retaliate for China's expulsion Wednesday of three U.S. journalists over an editorial Beijing claimed was "racist," escalating a clash over media access and freedoms that has broken out between the two countries.

    (...Full story)



    'Free rein' no longer: How the State Department is cracking down on Chinese working in U.S.
    Feb. 18, 2020
    The State Department on Tuesday imposed restrictions on Chinese media operating in the United States, saying they should be treated as virtual arms of the Communist government in Beijing.
    (...Full story)

    U.S. claps back at China with two B-52 Stratofortress bomber flights near Taiwan
    Feb. 17, 2020
    The United States and China are escalating their military duel near Taiwan by flying strategic bombers near the island state in recent days.

    (...Full story)

    Chinese general with bioweapons background takes leading role in coronavirus fight
    Feb. 9, 2020
    A Chinese general with a long record in biological warfare defense was dispatched to Wuhan at the end of January, fueling suspicions about the origin of the deadly virus and whether the outbreak is linked to a secure medical laboratory engaged in COVID-19 research.

    (...Full story)

    Mike Pompeo's warning on China: 'More repression ... more aggressive military'
    Feb. 9, 2020
    China is engaged in aggressive influence and financial operations inside the United States as part of Beijing's program to obtain Western technology and influence American policies, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said this weekend..

    (...Full story)

    U.S. forces in South Korea feel impact of Chinese coronavirus
    Feb. 5, 2020
    SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA -- More than two dozen U.S. troops and others working with the American deployment here have been quarantined over concerns they may have been exposed to the deadly Wuhan virus during recent travel in China, a military spokesman said.

    (...Full story)

    China denies lab link to coronavirus as questions over origin mount
    Feb. 5, 2020
    A Chinese Communist Party-affiliated newspaper has published the first semi-official response to reports the virus from Wuhan may have been produced in a government laboratory and was not caused by the natural transmission of an animal virus to humans.

    (...Full story)

    After rebuffing U.S. offers, China asks for CDC's help to investigate Wuhan virus
    Jan. 30, 2020
    Beijing, after initially blocking requests from the United States, has agreed to permit authorities from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to take part in an international investigation of the global health crisis caused by the rapidly spreading Wuhan coronavirus.

    (...Full story)

    U.S. Navy defies China with South China Sea operation
    Jan. 29, 2020
    The Navy recently conducted another warship passage near disputed islands in the South China Sea that China has claimed as its territory.

    (...Full story)

    China silent amid growing doubts over coronavirus origins
    Jan. 27, 2020
    China's government stood silent Monday in the face of growing scientific reports that the source of the deadly Wuhan virus outbreak did not originate solely from a seafood market in the city.

    (...Full story)

    Coronavirus may have originated in lab linked to China's biowarfare program
    Jan. 26, 2020
    The deadly animal-borne coronavirus spreading globally may have originated in a laboratory in the city of Wuhan linked to China's covert biological weapons program, said an Israeli biological warfare analyst.

    (...Full story)

    Huawei theft prosecutions proceed despite U.S.-Chinese trade deal
    Jan. 21, 2020
    The U.S. government is moving ahead with its pursuit of criminal charges against China's Huawei Technologies despite the temporary truce in the trade war between Washington and Beijing.

    (...Full story)



    Kansas indictment reveals new details of Chinese high-tech recruiting
    Jan. 17, 2020
    A Kansas federal grand jury has issued a new indictment of a professor facing fraud charges for working in China's program to recruit researchers with access to advanced technology.
    (...Full story)

    Pompeo warns Silicon Valley execs not to work with Chinese military
    Jan. 14, 2020
    American technology firms should get rich from doing business in China but must do their part to counter the national security dangers posed by a Communist nation, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a speech Monday.

    (...Full story)

    Bank case heightens doubts on China's commitments as trade deal looms
    Jan. 13, 2020
    A federal court case involving three Chinese banks is raising questions about Beijing's commitment to abide by agreements with the United States — a day before President Trump is scheduled to sign the first major trade deal of his administration with China.

    (...Full story)

    China's crackdown in Hong Kong upends Taiwan election
    Jan. 9, 2020
    The growing threat posed by mainland China and the challenge to Beijing's reunification policy seen in mass protests in Hong Kong are providing the backdrop as voters in Taiwan go to the polls Saturday to pick the island's next president.

    (...Full story)

    'Economic espionage': Special DOJ unit cracks down on China's illicit activities
    Jan. 8, 2020
    The Justice Department's special China unit is aggressively prosecuting technology theft and other illicit activities by Beijing's spies and government officials, a senior department official said in an interview.

    (...Full story)

    Mike Pompeo: U.S. pressure working to change Iran's hostile behavior
    Jan. 3, 2020
    The Trump administration's policy of pressuring Iran ultimately will alter Tehran's behavior on such issues as curbing its nuclear and missile development programs and ending support for terrorism in the region, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo argues..

    (...Full story)


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  • Inside the Ring
    By Bill Gertz

    Notes from the Pentagon

    Senators seek stronger anti-propaganda effort
    Three Republican senators wrote to President Trump this week urging the White House to create a special task force to counter Beijing’s false claims that the United States was behind the coronavirus pandemic that began in Wuhan, China.

    Also, Trump seeks to preserve trade deal; Publishers appeal China expulsions. (March 26, 2020)

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    Bill Gertz interview on Fox's Hannity and Colmes


    The Failure Factory is an important book exposing the worst excesses of an out-of-control government bureaucracy, including the highly politicized National Intelligence Estimate on Iran, the failure to wage a war of ideas against Islamist extremism, and the undermining of America's security by unelected officials with their own agenda operating deep inside the State Department, White House, Pentagon and U.S. intelligence community.

    Book review in The Washington Times: Bureaucrats be afraid

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  • How FBI informant Katrina Leung and her FBI handler J.J. Smith helped China obtain vital secrets on U.S. electronic eavesdropping.
  • New details on the technical intellignece-gathering spy ring of Tai Mak and Chi Mak, two brothers arrested for supplying China with vital defense technology.
  • How information compromised to China allows Beijing to track U.S. Virginia-class submarines.
  • How the CIA was informed in 1999 that at least three of its clandestine service officers were on the payroll of Chinese intelligence, but the agency failed to find the spies.
  • How China has established a special, ultra-secret intelligence unit tasked with planting spies inside the U.S. government.
  • How China ran a high-level penetration agent inside the U.S. government code-named "Mother."
  • How the FBI mistakenly hounded CIA counterintelligence officer Brian Kelley and his family for nearly two years, while the real target of the mole hunt, FBI Agent Robert Hanssen, operated freely and passed secrets to Moscow.
  • How Russia has dispatched scores of intelligence operatives to the United States, rivaling Cold War levels of spying.
  • How weak counterintelligence has allowed terrorists to infiltrate the U.S. military gain access to U.S. secrets.
  • How North Korea conducted intelligence-related abductions of Japanese nationals.
  • How Cuba penetrated the Defense Intelligence Agency and other agencies with high-level mole Ana Montes, who spied to help Nicaragua's Sandinistas and then became Cuba's most important agent.
  • How British military intelligence penetrated the terrorist Irish Republican Army with an agent code-named Stakeknife.

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    Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, from Treachery:

    “Over the coming decade, depending on how the world community conducts itself, there could be another five nuclear powers. There could be several more countries with chemical and biological programs, and there could be additional countries with the ability to deliver those capabilities long distances. The effect of that, to the extent that those countries are not democracies, but rather countries on the terrorist list— is to make the world a more dangerous place.”


    With friends like these
    Washington Times book review by Gary Anderson


    Excerpts from Treachery
    Part 1: French connection armed Saddam

    Part 2: Libyan sincerity on arms in doubt

    Part 3: U.N. nuclear agency asleep at the switch

    Praise for Treachery:

    "Treachery with its reams of classified and other insider information, reveals how our nation's enemies obtain weapons from China, Russia, France, Germany and other supposed friends. The book is must-reading if you want to know the confidential story of the growing danger of global arms proliferation."

    -- Rowan Scarborough, Pentagon reporter, Washington Times, and bestselling author of Rumsfeld's War

    "Two big factors will determine America's national security over the next twenty years. The first is the capability of our military weapons as determined by the health of our defense industrial base. And, second, the extent to which our adversaries are able to buy or steal advanced military technology from the U.S. and our allies. Bill Gertz focuses superbly on the hemorrhaging of critical military technology to our enemies. Treachery should be read by all our policymakers."

    -- Congressman Duncan Hunter of California, chairman of the House Armed Services Committee

    "Bill Gertz has written a bone-chilling expose about what has been done behind our backs. Can we ever be safe? You must read this."

    -- Greta Van Susteren, host of Fox News's On the Record with Greta Van Susteren

    "Bill Gertz gets it! Treachery brilliantly exposes our allies who have become our enemies in the War on Terror just because the U.N., France, Germany, and Russia looked at Iraq and other rogue states as trading partners rather than enablers of terrorism. This is a major piece of work in the War on Terror."

    -- Lt. Gen. Thomas G. McInerney, USAF (Ret.), bestselling author of Endgame.

    "Mr. Gertz's articles are liable to have two types of consequences that I can only regret: In the short term, Mr. Gertz may succeed in rekindling the flame of French-bashing, which might provide short-term satisfaction to Mr. Gertz but will not help solve the difficult situation we face in Iraq. French-bashing in the United States as well as anti-American sentiments in Europe are both dangerous trends that we must all do our best to combat."

    -- Jean-David Levitte, French ambassador to the United States


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    Excerpts from
    Breakdown: The Failure of American Intelligence to Defeat Global Terror

    Part 1: Military analyst's terror warning fell on deaf ears

    Part 2: Legal concerns make the CIA 'risk averse'

    Part 3: Too much focus on being cops



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    Praise for Breakdown:

    "Bill Gertz has written a first-rate analysis of the most serious problem to confront the nation since the Cold War, and it reads like a thriller. You won't be able to put it down. But when you do, send it to your congressman or senator."
    -- Richard Perle, Fellow, American Enterprise Institute, and former Assistant Secretary of Defense.

    "A deeply disturbing account of how America's intelligence agencies failed to discern the elaborate plots of Osama bin Laden's men were planning against us. Exciting. Upsetting. Strongly recommended."
    -- Jeane J. Kirkpatrick, Leavey Professor of Government, Georgetown University, and former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations.

    "Bill Gertz, one of America's most accomplished and credible investigative reporters, offers a compelling analysis of our nation's intelligence problems, including their historical roots, and provides a comprehensive prescription for correcting the deficiencies and improving national security."
    -- Edwin Meese III, former Attorney General of the United States.

    "A great read."
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    Eyes Wide Shut
    Washington Times book review by Joshua Sinai

    'Breakdown': A Catastrophic Failure to Think the Unthinkable
    New York Times book review by Sam Roberts

    Intelligence: A smarter route
    By Edwin J. Feulner


    CNN/Time Poll:
    Did U.S. Intelligence Agencies Fail on 9/11?

    September 2002
    Yes: 65 percent
    No: 31 percent

    September 2001
    Yes: 55 percent
    No: 38 percent

    (Poll conducted August 28-29, 2002 Sampling error: +/-3% pts)



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    Excerpts from 'The China Threat'
    in The Washington Times

    Part I: Beijing's spies gain access to secrets
    Part II: Clinton critic says he was targeted
    Part III: China prepares for war with U.S. over Taiwan

    The New Cold War
    Washington Times book review by Steven Mosher

    Wire stories about 'The China Threat'

    Reviews:

    "There is no Churchill in America today. Where are they to turn then, those patriots in our security services who understand what the fecklessness, stupidity and corruption of the Clinton administration are costing us? It would not be very surprising if they were to seek out a sympathetic journalist, in the slim hope that the American public might take their eyes away from Hollywood and Wall Street long enough to pay attention. If so, their contact of choice would be Bill Gertz, defense reporter for the Washington Times."
    -- John Derbyshire, National Review, Dec. 4, 2000

    "The China Threat is especially strong in piecing together the larger pattern of modernization in the Chinese military and the looming U.S.-China confrontation over Taiwan."
    -- Tom Donnelly, The Weekly Standard, Dec. 4, 2000

    "Sheer fabrication out of ulterior motives, with which we express our strong dissatisfaction. It must be pointed out that there are always some people in the United States who cling to the Cold War mentality and have prejudice of and hostility against China... We demand those who have plotted the so-called 'China Spy Case' see clearly the trend of history and immediately stop their despicable acts of wantonly attacking China."
    -- Sun Yuxi, spokesman for the Foreign Ministry, People's Republic of China, Nov. 16, 2000




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    Praise for Betrayal
    "This will be the Clinton administration's least favorite book on its foreign policy. But the rebuttals are likely to be long on adjectives and short on refutation, for these tough charges are backed, the Gertz way, by fact after fact after fact."
    -- R. James Woolsey, former CIA Director

    "Mr. Gertz has performed a signal service by writing this thorough, frightening, and sad chronicle of how we fell from our ability to provide leadership in the quest for peace without appeasement."
    -- The Honorable Caspar Weinberger, former Secretary of Defense, Chairman of Forbes magazine

    "I know of no national security reporter in the U.S. who is better sourced or more respected for accuracy than Bill Gertz. His reporting is essential reading for those who wish to stay in the know. An so is Betrayal."
    -- James Webb, former Secretary of the Navy, author of Fields of Fire and The Emperor's General

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