(HorizonPost.com) – Federal investigators believe that spying networks could be behind the more than 100 attempted entries into sensitive US sites by Chinese nationals in recent years, the Wall Street Journal reported.
The incidents include Chinese nationals breaching a US missile range in New Mexico and scuba diving near a rocket launch site at Kennedy Space Center in Florida, according to officials who spoke with the Wall Street Journal.
Additionally, authorities have spotted drones taking aerial footage of sensitive military sites and cases of individuals speeding past security checkpoints.
According to the Journal, when Chinese nationals are stopped, they frequently claim confusion and often use what sounds like scripted language, with many individuals or groups using the same excuses like looking for a Burger King or a hotel.
Colorado Rep. Jason Crow told the Journal that Congress should consider legislation aimed at hardening security at sensitive sites. He said the federal government should also work closely with state and local authorities to better train and equip them to deal with intrusions.
According to the Journal, the incidents in areas not known for tourism typically involved Chinese nationals pressed into service by Beijing and required to report back.
Emily Harding from the Center for Strategic and International Studies told the Journal that Beijing’s advantage is that it is willing to throw a large number of people at intelligence collection.
The officials told the Journal that in many of the cases, the Chinese nationals found trespassing were detained briefly before being escorted out of the country. No espionage charges have been filed in any of the cases.
In a statement to the Wall Street Journal, a spokesperson for the Chinese embassy in Washington denied the claims, calling them “ill-intentioned fabrications.”
Embassy spokesperson Liu Pengyu said US officials should “abandon the Cold War mentality” and instead seek to find ways to enhance “mutual trust” and “friendship” between the US and China.
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