"Lost Tourists" in Alaska Revealed as Chinese Spies Targeting US Military Sites

  • by:
  • Source: Wayne Dupree
  • 06/01/2023
According to USA Today, in recent years, Chinese nationals posing as lost tourists have been apprehended attempting to enter military sites in Alaska as part of a suspected espionage operation that looks to go well beyond the Last Frontier. The state's military installations, which are now crucial to efforts to safeguard the US's interests in the Arctic and at home, have been targeted by Chinese attempts to learn about military capabilities, according to multiple US troops who spoke with the outlet.

They discuss an instance where a car containing Chinese nationals and a drone passed through a security checkpoint at Fort Wainwright in Fairbanks, with the locals subsequently saying the drivers were lost tourists. It is an earlier justification.

According to NBC News, the man discovered with a belt buckle that referenced China's Interior Ministry allegedly claimed he had travelled from New Jersey to "see the sights" but had gotten "lost" when he was apprehended with illegal photos of Florida's Naval Air Station Key West in September 2018. The 20-year-old Chinese exchange student had received military training in China. 

Three further Chinese students were detained over the course of the following two years for photographing the same site. Two Chinese ladies, including one who said she engaged a guide to take her to the attractions and had no idea what Mar-a-Lago was, were charged with trespassing at the property owned by the former president Trump.

Chinese espionage is the FBI's "top counterintelligence priority," according to FBI Director Christopher Wray. Deputy Secretary of Defence Kathleen Hicks recognized "the possibility of intrusion on our installations" when questioned about Chinese espionage during a recent trip to Alaska, but she only made general statements about measures to keep them "protected from threats." According to USA Today, she stated, "We take a number of precautions to achieve that. 

Although Alaska's "remoteness and savage winter cold, once viewed as protective barriers, provide less security for prying eyes," the outlet raises the potential that spies may leave behind sensors capable of intercepting sensitive conversations there.

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