William Evanina, director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center, said that no country poses a “broader and more serious” intelligence-gathering threat to the United States than China (the Chinese Communist Party). He revealed that the Chinese Communist Party continues to conduct highly sophisticated and malicious foreign influence operations in the United States.
Evanina has worked for the U.S. federal government for 31 years, including 24 years in the intelligence community, where he served at the FBI, CIA and National Counterintelligence and Security Center (NCSC). In 2018, the Senate made the NCSC director a Senate confirmed position, and Evanina was confirmed with broad bipartisan support.
In an exclusive interview with Fox News, Evanina said the Chinese Communist Party’s malicious foreign influence campaign against the United States will be one of the “bigger challenges” facing the Biden administration.
Evanina also outlined the Chinese Communist Party’s threats to the United States: from big data collection to economic espionage, to malicious foreign influence, to supply chains and critical infrastructure.
“From a threat perspective, Russia is a significant adversary, particularly in terms of cyber intrusion, malign influence and sowing discord in our democracy,” Evanina told Fox News, “however, no country poses a broader and more serious intelligence-gathering threat than China (CCP).”
The Chinese Communist Party’s means of exerting malign influence
Evanina, who is leaving office this week, told Fox News that the intelligence community has seen malicious foreign influence operations intensify over the past few years.
“Specifically, in the last year, with regard to the death of George Floyd, COVID, vaccines, the election process, we’ve seen efforts by foreign adversaries, including the Chinese (Communist Party of China), to amplify the rhetoric in the United States,” Evanina said. He noted that the Chinese Communist Party uses social media to try to continue to fan the flames and sow rhetoric in the United States.
Evanina added, “China (CCP) continues to conduct a highly sophisticated and malicious foreign influence campaign against the United States because we are a democracy and democracy is a bad thing for China (CCP).”
He said the CCP’s tactics include “bribery, blackmail, secret deals with corporations, and actively influencing U.S. policies and attitudes to align with China’s (CCP) global interests.”
Evanina: U.S. Must Take a Society-wide Approach to Communist Influence
“This is not just a government issue,” Evanina warned, “it’s a societal issue.”
“We have to educate Americans so that they thoroughly understand what malign influence is, and when they see it, they can pull it out.” He explained. “It’s going to take a community-wide approach, calling on the government, the intelligence community, law enforcement, social media, big tech companies, to be able to explain what it is.”
“When the Biden administration takes office on day one, they will understand how vicious and sophisticated the threat is – not only from the Chinese Communist Party, but from Russia, Iran and other countries.” He said.
“I think the challenge for the Biden administration will be to understand the scope and scale of some of the threats that China (the Chinese Communist Party) has within the United States and what the best way to defeat those threats is.” Evanina continued, “I’m confident they can do that because there are dozens of professional intelligence officers and law enforcement officers working around the world who will help them find solutions.”
Evanina added that part of the Chinese Communist Party’s malicious foreign influence is focused on U.S. politicians and elected officials. They are already actively involved in identifying elected officials at the state, local and federal levels, focusing on those who are anti- and pro-Chinese.
“Those who are pro-China (Communist Party of China) or pro-trade, they will be assisting and advancing their candidacy for a long time,” Evanina said, “and that’s the basic lobbying of foreign governments.”
Last month the media revealed a female Chinese Communist spy had close ties to several politicians, including Democratic U.S. Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.). Evanina did not comment on the report, nor on Swalwell, but said it was “nothing new.
“I don’t think anything that the Chinese Communist Party has done with (U.S.) elected officials is anything new, it’s pervasive throughout the ecosystem in the United States.”