Republican Lawmakers Alert FBI to CCP-Linked ‘Service Centers’ Uncovered by Daily Caller News Foundation

A group of Republican lawmakers has expressed their apprehensions to the FBI regarding the existence of “service centers” within the United States allegedly operated by a Chinese Communist Party (CCP) intelligence service.

The concerns raised by these lawmakers come in the wake of recent revelations made by the Daily Caller News Foundation about the network of centers.

The United Front Work Department (UFWD) operates Overseas Chinese Service Centers (OCSCs) in at least seven U.S. cities, the DCNF previously reported. UFWD is a CCP “intelligence service” that specializes in “coordinating [foreign and domestic] influence operations,” according to the U.S.-China Economic Security and Review Commission. The seven U.S. OCSC branches are located in CaliforniaMinnesotaMissouriNebraskaNorth CarolinaTexas and Utah, according to Chinese state media reports.

Republican senators John Cornyn of Texas as well as Deb Fischer and Pete Ricketts of Nebraska, along with Nebraska Republican Rep. Don Bacon, told the DCNF that they are in communication with the FBI about the seven U.S. OCSC branches. At the same time, Missouri Republican Rep. Ann Wagner told the DCNF that she has urged Missouri Attorney General Bailey to investigate the centers.

“I can confirm that our office is in touch with the FBI on this,” Sen. Cornyn’s aide told the DCNF.

Sen. Ricketts told the DCNF that if there are “espionage centers” operating anywhere in the United States, they must be shut down immediately.

“I have requested a meeting with the FBI in Omaha to discuss ongoing threats to our region,” Ricketts told the DCNF. “Nonprofit cultural groups across the country being used as a front for CCP espionage would be a huge betrayal of who we are as Americans.”

In addition to their Chinese intelligence ties, OCSC officials from the U.S. traveled to Beijing in January 2018 for a “work conference,” according to Chinese state-run media outlet Qiaowang. During the 2018 trip, OCSC officials met with Ministry of Public Security (MPS) officers at a police station in China’s Zhejiang province. It was there that state security officials demonstrated how they’re leveraging new technology to conduct “cross-border remote justice services” overseas, the DCNF reported.

MPS is China’s national police authority. The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) says MPS also conducts covert “intelligence and national security operations,” including “illicit, transnational repression schemes” on U.S. soil.

It remains unclear if U.S. service centers use MPS technology, but OCSC branches in other countries variously serve as “Overseas Chinese Police Contact Points” for the MPS and even conduct “armed patrols,” the DCNF found.

Multiple lawmakers said the FBI has thus far not responded to their inquiries about the UFWD-operated service centers.

“Since these concerning reports first came to light, I’ve repeatedly demanded answers from the FBI,” Sen. Fischer told the DCNF. “It’s unacceptable that they haven’t responded.”

“As a member of the Appropriations Subcommittee that oversees funding for the FBI, I am exploring avenues to compel an explanation,” Fischer added. “We need clarity on what exactly is going on here. This is a matter of national security.”

Rep. Bacon also reached out to the FBI over the OCSC located in his district, which encompasses much of Omaha, Nebraska.

“We want answers from the FBI,” Rep. Bacon told the DCNF. “We’ve asked the FBI to update us and the community, and they have not thus far.”

Bacon attended several Chinese cultural events sponsored by the Omaha OCSC, according to multiple Chinese state-run media reports. For example, Bacon attended a Lunar New Year performance in March 2018 sponsored by the Omaha OCSC and several other Chinese government-tied entities, state-run media outlet Qiaowang reported.

“We have enjoyed a great working relationship with the local FBI HQ in Omaha, as well as many different law enforcement agencies, and none of them have ever highlighted any concerns to us in the past,” Bacon told the DCNF.

The FBI declined to comment on whether or not they were investigating the centers, but instead provided the DCNF with a “general statement.”

“We’re increasingly conducting outreach in order to raise awareness of how some countries’ governments harass and intimidate their own citizens living in the U.S. This violates U.S. law and individual rights and freedoms, and will not be tolerated,” the FBI wrote.

Image created by the Daily Caller News Foundation

Meanwhile, Rep. Wagner told the DCNF that she has asked Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey to investigate the service centers.

“The CCP has been trying to expand its influence globally and we must put a stop to any efforts to gain a foothold in America,” Wagner said. “Communist dictators can’t use American soil to go after courageous dissidents and innocent families, and we must continue to fight back against this regime’s dangerous ideology.”

“I have notified the Missouri Attorney General’s office about my concerns and I hope they take swift action to investigate this issue,” Wagner said.

A spokesperson for Bailey told the DCNF that they’d been contacted by Wagner and were “currently looking into the matter.”

“We cannot allow Communist China to operate intelligence centers across the United States,” Tennessee Republican Sen. Marsha Blackburn told the DCNF.

“We anticipate the CCP using these centers to further target those who stand up for freedom, oppress human rights and gather intelligence for Beijing,” Blackburn said. “Meanwhile, the Biden administration has allowed Communist China to set up a spy base in Cuba, fly a surveillance balloon across the USA, and bully Taiwan. It’s clear Biden doesn’t have the first clue on how to stand up to Xi Jinping and his totalitarian regime.”

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