Eric Swalwell: He Bang With Chinese Spy?
On Tuesday, Axios published a great big story about a Chinese spying operation in the United States. The product of a year-long investigation, it revealed that a "Chinese national named Fang Fang or Christine Fang" had gotten friendly with a whole bunch of US politicians, their campaigns, and staff in their offices, between 2011 and 2015. Among them was Congressman Eric Swalwell. Fang worked on his 2014 reelection campaign, saw him at several events, and even managed to place an intern with Swalwell's office in Washington DC.
- The report makes clear that Swalwell was not suspected of any wrongdoing, and that when the FBI gave him a "defensive briefing" on Fang's suspected espionage activities in 2015, he immediately cut off all contact with Fang. Fang abruptly left the US in mid-2015 and returned to China.
- The full report is pretty interesting reading, if you can get past Axios's bullet-point style.
- The site's punchy format isn't very well-suited to longform reporting.
- You have to wonder if maybe someone said in a meeting at some point, "Oh fuck the brand, let's just use paragraphs, for chrissake."
- If anyone did argue for more conventional formatting, they were clearly shot down.
What's at stake: God I hope that over time, this doesn't somehow become the norm for English prose writing.
The Axios article points out that US officials "do not believe Fang received or passed on classified information," and that her activities were limited to a more mundane flavor of intelligence work, getting close to up-and-coming politicians in California, particularly in the Bay Area.
- The piece notes that "Private but unclassified information about government officials — such as their habits, preferences, schedules, social networks, and even rumors about them — is a form of political intelligence. Collecting such information is a key part of what foreign intelligence agencies do."
- in addition to Swalwell, Fang had contact with other prominent politicos, mostly but not exclusively in California. She worked on Ro Khanna's unsuccessful 2014 campaign for the House, helped run a fundraiser for Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii), and showed up in photos with Rep. Judy Chu and then-Rep Mike Honda, too.
- Fang initially made contact with a lot of politicians when she was enrolled as a student at "a Bay Area University," and was frequently in contact which the Chinese consulate in San Francisco, where a suspected Chinese agent was on the staff. That agent also worked to make contact with US politicians at the state and local level.
Don't forget the sexytime stuff! The sexytime stuff is semi-hilarious!
- Fang did sex things as part of her political intelligence gathering. She "engaged in sexual or romantic relationships with at least two mayors of Midwestern cities over a period of about three years, according to one U.S. intelligence official and one former elected official."
- Besides that, we're treated to these gratuitous if not particularly titillating details:
- "At a 2014 conference in Washington, an older Midwestern mayor 'from an obscure city' referred to Fang as his 'girlfriend' and insisted the relationship was genuine despite the clear age difference between Fang and himself[.]"
- "Fang also had a sexual encounter with an Ohio mayor in a car that was under electronic FBI surveillance, said one current U.S. official. When the mayor asked why Fang was interested in him, Fang told him she wanted to improve her English, the same official said."
- Urban Dictionary does not have an entry for "improve [one's] English."
Why it matters: Spy stories are always better with sex, duh.
A random digression about what Fang was up to and why:
- "The case demonstrates China's strategy of cultivating relationships that may take years or even decades to bear fruit. The Chinese Communist Party knows that today's mayors and city council members are tomorrow's governors and members of Congress."
- Ah, but are they making contact with our reality TV hosts or our random Q-Anon loonies? Aw, hell, probably.
- Personally, I find the Chinese Communist Party's complete lack of interest in me very discouraging, from a professional perspective.
- No, I'm not tired of the bit yet. Gonna see it through
- Forget that, though, because the Murdoch press wants to know whether Swalwell and the spy banged. The New York Post very excitedly pointed out that Swalwell won't say whether they banged.
- Did they bang?
- Fox News complained that Swalwell is "stonewalling" on the matter because he won't go into detail, beyond a statement that he won't talk about Fang, to "protect information that might be classified."
- Yeah, classified information on whether they banged.
- Swalwell told CNN that he's not concerned he shared any sensitive information with Fang, because he's very sure he didn't, and the Axios story said that too. But he did add that "The people who did share classified information were the people who leaked this story."
- A Post editorial also wondered why the FBI didn't simply do Donald Trump the courtesy of letting him know it was looking into whether his campaign was in bed with the Russians.
- That's fucking stupid.
- Because the Trump campaign knew damn well it was meeting with Russians.
Go figure: The Post has also been weirdly obsessed with the fact that Swalwell's brother and father still listed Fang on their Facebook friends list.
- It even ran a separate story today noting that they had finally removed her from their friends list.
- There still are people on my Facebook friends list from when I played that "Mafia Wars" timewaster game in 2009 or so.
- Nobody I played "Mafia Wars" with is, to my knowledge, a spy.
- Nor did we bang.
Oh hey, remember Rupert Murdoch's ex, Wendi Deng Murdoch?
- As we noted in 2018, she banged Tony Blair ALLEGEDLY, and also banged Vladimir Putin ALLEGEDLY.
- She's also a very good, non-alleged pal of Ivanka Trump! No known banging, not even any implied.
- Since we just said "banging" and "Ivanka Trump" in the same bullet point, let's just remind you filthy fuckaducks to review the commenting rules before you say something sexist.
- Jesus, you people.
- The point is that the Murdoch-owned Wall Street Journal reported that American counterintelligence officials did one of those "defensive briefings" with Jared Kushner to let him know that Ms. Murdoch "could be using her close friendship with Mr. Kushner and his wife, Ivanka Trump, to further the interests of the Chinese government, according to people familiar with the matter."
- Oddly, we haven't seen this mentioned in the New York Post or on Fox News in its round the clock coverage of Eric Swalwell: He Bang?
- The Wall Street Journal certainly never used the Post's favorite term for Ms. Fang, "honeytrap," to refer to Rupert Murdoch's ex-wife.
- We're just saying.
The takeaway: People will read stories if there's the possibility there was either fucking or espionage. Both? This story will never go away, no matter how much nothing is in it. The fucking thing will probably end up being rehashed in 2024, regardless of whether Joe Biden runs again.
- God help us.
- If you think this article was tedious, the fucking Axios story is more than three times as long.
- If you can, please set up a monthly $5 to $10 donation.
- Help, we're not sure we can stop.
Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.