House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has reappointed her California Democratic colleague, Rep. Eric Swalwell, to the Homeland Security Committee despite revelations that he may have been compromised by a Chinese spy with whom he may have allegedly had sexual relations.
Last month, reports revealed that Swalwell was romantically involved with a female Chinese spy named Fang Fang, a.k.a. Christine Fang, who was involved in a multi-year operation between 2011 and 2015 targeting rising local leaders in the San Francisco Bay Area and around the country whom Beijing’s intelligence services believed had a future on the national stage.
Reports noted that Fang and other Chinese “honeypot” spies infiltrated via campaign fundraising events, networking, personal charisma, and romantic and sexual relationships in order to gain favor with targeted politicians.
“My committee memberships — along with my experience as a prosecutor and as the son and brother of law enforcement officers — will give me a unique opportunity to delve into one of America’s most serious national security threats,” Swalwell noted in a Friday tweet following his reappointment.
My committee memberships—along with my experience as a prosecutor and as the son and brother of law enforcement officers—will give me a unique opportunity to delve into one of America’s most serious national security threats.
— Rep. Eric Swalwell (@RepSwalwell) January 15, 2021
Members of the committee are charged with overseeing the Department of Homeland Security and its many agencies, as well as developing domestic security legislation.
Swalwell is also a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, where he and other members often see some of the country’s most sensitive national security intelligence.
“In the election, the American people elected a Democratic House Majority that not only will ensure that our nation recovers from this historic pandemic and economic crisis, but will Build Back Better,” Pelosi said in a statement.
The long-serving California Democrat did not mention that her party’s majority in the chamber shrank substantially after the Nov. 3 election.
“As House Speaker, I am pleased to announce the appointments of these outstanding Members to key Committees, where they will be relentless in leading Democrats’ work to combat disparities in our economy and country and to advance justice and progress For The People,” she added.
Pelosi also named Swalwell as one of the House managers in President Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial “in an apparent snub to the GOP,” the New York Post reported.
Swalwell, 40, has refused to say whether he had a sexual relationship with Fang. Nevertheless, Republicans and former top national security officials believe he may be compromised and thus removed from committees that handle highly sensitive information.
“We’ve obviously got more questions than we have answers, and I think that’s the same for the American people. And at the same time, a lot of the American people have no idea of what’s taking place with Mr. Swalwell, because mainstream media doesn’t seem to want to talk about it,” Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-Ohio) said during a Fox News interview in late December.
“But we’ve always had concerns about this type of espionage that clearly took place. The Chinese develop a farm team, and here’s young Eric Swalwell working in local government and on the rise, and builds a relationship with this woman who’s a Chinese spy,” he continued.
Wenstrup then put the onus on Pelosi to provide House members with more information about Swalwell’s relationship with Fang, whose identity was initially discovered by U.S. intelligence.
“Of course, we want to know what Pelosi knew and when, and [we] want to know why she would choose to put him on this committee when she’s got hundreds of people to choose from,” he said.
Former acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell, who served his stint during the Trump administration, suggested that Swalwell’s alleged compromise by China is just “the tip of the iceberg.”
“Look, I think it’s even worse than just hypocrisy,” Grenell began. “We’re accustomed to hypocrisy in Washington, D.C. But … Russia is a problem but China is a crisis,” he told Fox News’ Sean Hannity last month.
“We’ve known it’s been a crisis for a very long time,” he continued. “I think that there needs to be a ‘Gang of Eight,’ this intelligence group investigation. Certainly, acting Chairman [of the Senate Intelligence Committee] Marco Rubio [R-Fla.] and [House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence] Chairman [Adam] Schiff [D-Calif.] should immediately call the intelligence committees together.”
“They should get a confidential classified briefing on what Eric Swalwell knew and how much did he give away because the reality is, he spent years downplaying the China threat and over-hyping the Russian threat. This is playing into exactly what the Chinese want people to do,” Grenell, who also served as the U.S. ambassador to Germany in the Trump administration, added.
“Eric Swalwell did exactly what the Chinese wanted. We need to figure out are there others, and I can tell you without giving away too much intelligence, this is the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the leverage that China is putting on our politicians,” he said, noting further: “There’s many, many more.”
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