U.S. intelligence is debriefing brother of former presidential aide, translating documents
A defector from China has revealed some of the innermost secrets of the Chinese government and military, including details of its nuclear command and control system, according to American intelligence officials.
Businessman Ling Wancheng disappeared from public view in California last year shortly after his brother, Ling Jihua, a former high-ranking official in the Communist Party, was arrested in China on corruption charges.
Ling Wancheng, the defector, has been undergoing a debrief by FBI, CIA, and other intelligence officials since last fall at a secret location in the United States, said officials familiar with details of the defection who spoke on condition of anonymity. The defector is said to be a target of covert Chinese agents seeking to capture or kill him.
Among the information disclosed by Ling are details about the procedures used by Chinese leaders on the use of nuclear weapons, such as the steps taken in preparing nuclear forces for attack and release codes for nuclear arms.
Other secrets revealed included details about the Chinese leadership and its facilities, including the compound in Beijing known as Zhongnanhai. That information is said to be valuable for U.S. electronic spies, specifically for cyber intelligence operations targeting the secretive Chinese leadership.
Intelligence officials said Ling, if confirmed as a legitimate defector in debriefings over the next several months, would have the most privileged information of any defector from China to the United States in more than 30 years.
“This is an intelligence windfall,” said one senior official.
The events surrounding Ling’s defection and his brother’s arrest appear to be part of a complex internal power struggle in China led by current leader Xi Jinping targeting hundreds of Party leaders and officials. Under the guise of a nationwide anticorruption drive within the Chinese leadership, Xi is said to be systematically removing rivals from previous administrations.
Officials said Ling Wancheng is being kept under tight security after U.S. intelligence agencies detected the activity of covert Chinese agents tasked with tracking down Chinese nationals sought by the government.
The defection was triggered by the arrest of Ling’s brother, Ling Jihua, a former presidential aide who secretly obtained some 2,700 internal documents from a special Communist Party unit he headed until 2012. The unit was in charge of storing and archiving classified documents.
Ling Jihua then gave the documents to his brother, who owns a $2.5 million residence in Loomis, California, near Sacramento. The classified documents were transferred between the brothers as a safety measure: They were intended to be used as leverage to dissuade Chinese authorities from taking action against Ling Jihua.
According to the officials, Ling Wancheng, the defector, kept the documents for safekeeping and was directed to release them to U.S. authorities in the event Ling Jihua were arrested.
According to the Chenming, China’s senior internal security chief Meng Jianzhu disclosed details of what he called one of China’s most damaging betrayals at a closed-door meeting of Party officials in southern China.
Ling Jihua was accused of carrying out the document theft some time between June 2012 and his arrest on July 20, 2015.
The Chenming report said that as a result of the compromises, Chinese Politburo offices came under cyber attack for several months. Additionally, telephone and computer equipment was replaced over security concerns.
Ling Wancheng was said to have had unrestricted access to Ling Jihua’s office and is therefore suspected of making off with the classified documents, the magazine said.
According to Qianshao, the second magazine, Meng said at the meeting that Ling, as a gatekeeper of the Communist Party’s most important secrets, “stole a great many top-secret documents from the archives concerning the Party and the state, kept [them] in his personal possession, [and] ultimately got them to America.”
The documents were taken during a month-long transition after Ling Jihua was replaced in July 2012. The office he headed was in charge of protecting government and military secrets.
Full article: Chinese Defector Reveals Beijing’s Secrets (Washington Free Beacon)