No.054, March - April, 2007

Enemies: How America's Foes Steal Our Vital Secrets - and How We Let It Happen.
By Bill Gertz. New York, N.Y.: Crown Forum, 2006. 290 pp.

In Chinese

Bill Gertz is well known for his extraordinary journalistic skill in uncovering China's plots to undermine the United States, which include Chinese spies infiltrating into the highest and most sensitive US intelligence ranks to getting secret intelligence on US weapons. In this book, he reveals even more controversial Chinese spying activities, some of which were never previously reported, and the stunning admission that those activities continue on US territory with the full knowledge of US authorities.

Gertz says the book provides an inside look at intelligence gathering by America's "most dangerous enemies" which include China, Cuba and North Korea. China of course occupies a critical position in international relations because of its ever growing economic and political clout. As Chinese power increases, its relationship with the US grows in importance. When he was still in power, President Jiang Zemin commissioned a brand new Boeing 767 jetliner for his personal use and the deal was completed by the Chinese military at the cost of 120 million dollars. The plane was delivered in July 2000 and sent to the San Antonio International Airport to be outfitted with luxurious accommodations worth 15 million dollars, which included a special vibrating bed to help Jiang Zemin to sleep. The plane was delivered to Chinese authorities when modification work was done. But within weeks, Chinese security officials found twenty-seven sophisticated electronic eaves-dropping devices in the aircraft even though the work was done under the watchful eyes of Chinese military officials in San Antonio. Bill Gertz says the clandestine operation of placing listening devices inside the plane was carried out by the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Agency of the US. It caused a severe diplomatic incident for Washington. But Gertz says the real problem, as it soon turned out, was who informed China about the listening devices so quickly.

The operation to plant the listening devices has remained a secret. But an investigation about the secret informer for the devices pointed to Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) counterspy James J. Smith in Los Angeles and a Chinese businesswoman named Katrina Leung known by her code name "Parlor Maid." The FBI official in Los Angeles William Cleveland was under scrutiny in the investigation. The FBI investigation of the case was mishandled. Leung escaped a jail term in a deal reached in December 2005. Gertz says she is a Communist spy working for the FBI who got away because US investigators mishandled the investigation. In May 2006, the Department of Justice General Inspector Glenn A. Fine said in a report that the FBI failed to investigate Leung before using her as an informant and after the case of listening devices planted on Jiang Zemin's plane.

"For more than two decades, Communist China ran a spy, Katrina Leung, who stole valuable secrets from the US government and intelligence community. More than that, this penetration agent, who had more than 2,100 contacts with Chinese officials over the course of twenty years, helped the Beijing regime exert enormous influence in the US," Gertz writes.

Los Angeles, with its large community of Chinese, is also the place where Chinese immigrants operated clandestine spying activities to gather sensitive high technology information for the People's Liberation Army. In 2005, the FBI arrested a number of people involved in a spy ring led by a man named Chi Mak, including his wife and brother. Chi Mak was an electrical engineer who worked for a major American defense contractor that supplied sensitive US Navy weapons secrets. In that position, Chi Mak was able to gain access to those secrets which he delivered to China, the author says. Gertz warns the US to repair the damage caused by people who spied for China, saying that unless the gaping holes in America's defenses are plugged, the situation will lead to "still more devastating losses and even greater dangers in the future."

Back to No.054, March - April, 2007

Back to Book Reviews