House Oversight Committee: ‘Federal agencies have succumbed to CCP influence’

(The Center Square) – The U.S. House Committee on Oversight is sounding the alarm again about the People’s Republic of China and Chinese Communist Party’s alleged “political warfare” against Americans.

Committee chairman Rep. James Comer, R-KY, said “too much of Washington bureaucracy is incapable of, or unwilling to, address the CCP threat.

“Too many federal officials do not realize that they have fallen for CCP influence tactics – in ways that cause some officials to reflexively dismiss the truth about this communist regime. Worse, some federal officials go so far as to actually excuse the CCP’s actions.”

Wednesday’s committee hearing was the second in an investigation Comer first launched in March into China’s political warfare campaign. In April, retired military leaders testified about the CCP threat, saying the U.S. is currently in a “new Cold War,” The Center Square reported. Witnesses testified about the CCP’s efforts to threaten U.S. military readiness, infiltrate the U.S. technology sector, compromise critical infrastructure, target the U.S. agriculture industry, among other concerns.

On Wednesday, three witnesses highlighted additional concerns.

For decades, the CCP “effectively misled our Executive Branch to ignore the PRC as a rising existential threat. In particularly, the Department of Defense and the Intelligence Community were deceived by the CCP’s skillful use of elite capture, deception, disinformation and propaganda programs,” Retired U.S. Navy Captain James Fanell testified. U.S. leaders also helped “fund and otherwise enable China’s military, economic, and technological advances needed to destroy our military forces in the field and destroy our society and economy.”

He also described the backlash he received from the Obama-era Department of Defense when he publicly warned about CCP and PRC threats 10 years ago.

As the senior intelligence officer for the U.S. Pacific Fleet, he spoke at a U.S. Naval Institute West Conference on how the PRC was expanding its maritime campaign, warning that it was modernizing its navy “at an alarming rate and was preparing itself for what it called a ‘short, sharp war.’”

In response, a DOD spokesperson publicly refuted his claims and a senior official prohibited him from giving future speeches, he said. “It was irrelevant that my remarks were fact-based, and had been approved in advance, I had contradicted the unwritten policy of ‘not provoking’ the PRC. Within a few months, I was fired.”

He also explained how the U.S. national security community has failed to recognize or stop the PRC threat, leaving current leaders with the “Herculean task of confronting and defeating Communist China’s existential threat.

“We are not prepared intellectually, ideologically, organizationally, nor militarily. The extend of the PRC’s Political Warfare is so deeply rooted with our government, that it is not clear at this point whether or not we can succeed in saving our nation.”

Erika Bethel, the former director of the World Bank, said she personally witnessed “the nuanced and strategic efforts China has employed to enhance its presence within key international bodies” that “are significantly impacting global governance and regulations.”

She said the CCP is significantly influencing the International Telecommunication Union, which actively shapes global telecommunications standards. The United Nations Industrial Development Organization, created to promote industrialization in the developing world, was run by a CCP member who integrated UNIDO with China’s Belt and Road Initiative, she said, to the detriment of developing countries.

“China’s involvement in the International Civil Aviation Organization has also been concerning, particularly regarding the establishment of air navigation and safety standards,” she said. China’s influence “permeates other critical multilateral bodies, including the 15 principal agencies of the United Nations, where Chinese deputies hold influential positions.”

The U.S. must develop a comprehensive strategy to safeguard these institutions, she said.

Mary Kissel, the former senior advisor to the U.S. Secretary of State, also testified to firsthand knowledge of “China’s vast influence operations and why they are a threat to our national security.” She said the CCP was targeting U.S. diplomats and regularly conducting influence operations in U.S. states that “seem like innocuous and even friendly exchanges. Sister city agreements, business chamber meetings, think tank conferences, and ‘interviews’ with Chinese propaganda outlets.”

One such influence campaign was used in Texas to oppose a bill filed in the state legislature, The Center Square exclusively reported.

As part of the committee’s ongoing investigation, Comer also requested briefings with the departments of Defense, Transportation and Navy. He also sent letters to them and 18 federal agencies to implement measures to ensure they weren’t compromised by the CCP.

By Bethany Blankley | The Center Square contributor

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