Skip to navigationSkip to content

How Silicon Valley Became a Den of Spies

By POLITICO

The West Coast is a growing target of foreign espionage. And it’s not ready to fight backRead full story

Comments

  • Also share to
  • Having first hand experience of Silicon Valley, I've been constantly aware of the Chinese making considerable inroads to stealing our nations IP.

    To the trained eye, China has a three pronged attack on SV.

    1. Buying up property to artificially increase rent prices, greatly increasing the cost of innovation till it's uncompetitive, foreign bought properties are unoccupied at 5x the normal rate.

    2. Investing in companies involved in cloud, database and cybersecurity technology, gaining sourcecode

    Having first hand experience of Silicon Valley, I've been constantly aware of the Chinese making considerable inroads to stealing our nations IP.

    To the trained eye, China has a three pronged attack on SV.

    1. Buying up property to artificially increase rent prices, greatly increasing the cost of innovation till it's uncompetitive, foreign bought properties are unoccupied at 5x the normal rate.

    2. Investing in companies involved in cloud, database and cybersecurity technology, gaining sourcecode of said companies or installs to search for their own 0-days.

    3. Incentivising chinese nationals to leave the US and return to the homeland with intimate knowledge of the companies operations.

    Bonus 4. Enticing SV VC's to invest in China vs. In the US. Greatly reducing the capital available to further US economic interests.

    It's a sad red state of affairs.

  • This piece has it all. Here are just a few highlights in this extraordinary survey of foreign intelligence operations on the West Coast.

    - Chinese intelligence recruited a staff member at a California office of U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein.

    - During the 2008 Olympic torch relay, Chinese officials bussed in 6,000-8,000 J-Visa holding students—threatening them with the loss of Chinese government funding—from across California to disrupt Falun Gong, Tibetan, Uighur and pro-democracy protesters

    This piece has it all. Here are just a few highlights in this extraordinary survey of foreign intelligence operations on the West Coast.

    - Chinese intelligence recruited a staff member at a California office of U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein.

    - During the 2008 Olympic torch relay, Chinese officials bussed in 6,000-8,000 J-Visa holding students—threatening them with the loss of Chinese government funding—from across California to disrupt Falun Gong, Tibetan, Uighur and pro-democracy protesters.

    - "Intel officials have suspected that Russian spies were enlisting local high-end Russian and Eastern European prostitutes, in a classic Russian “honeypot” maneuver, to gather information from (and on) Bay Area tech and venture-capital executives."

  • There is an emphasis in the entrepreneurial world on execution over IP. We laugh at “stealth mode” startups and secrets more generally. And yet if you believe even half the stories you hear over the years, SV (and to a lesser extent NYC) tech culture is just like any highly charged arena: mired in its own baggage of simply being too human and too powerful. Look at Thiel and Gawker as a prime example.

    Would it be at all surprising to find foreign influence mixed up in there? I’d be more surprised

    There is an emphasis in the entrepreneurial world on execution over IP. We laugh at “stealth mode” startups and secrets more generally. And yet if you believe even half the stories you hear over the years, SV (and to a lesser extent NYC) tech culture is just like any highly charged arena: mired in its own baggage of simply being too human and too powerful. Look at Thiel and Gawker as a prime example.

    Would it be at all surprising to find foreign influence mixed up in there? I’d be more surprised if there wasn’t, in the same way I’d be surprised not to find US influence doing its part to further its interest worldwide. In many ways, this needs a twin story the turns the microscope on us.

  • The espionage continues and it is especially strong among China and Russia.

  • Interesting observations, details outlining espionage operations by Russia, China, even friendly governments, targeting the bay area generally, and tech startups there and elsewhere.

  • Does anyone think that our government security is going to catch the bad guys, before damage is done? With, or without a wall, we’re still gonna get hit. Remember that 9/11 was done without a wall.

  • Historically speaking, one cannot help but wonder what Kim Philby’s insights would be regarding this 21st Century of espionage.

    Though Philby differs in his experience, falling in the category of the most infamous examples of HUMINT, no doubt he would provide a timeless take. Surely he would have made hay if given a crack.

  • How embarrassing... 🔥🤦🏾‍♂️🔥

  • We aren’t ready for this

  • Poaching the idea has started long time ago already.

    Germany contributed to U.S. clearly.

    A former member of CIA was headhunt to Russia.

    Brain drain has been inevitably happening all the time.

    In my view,the idea of opensource has been around since the primitive era(Human beings already invented the sword or something like that).

  • sheesh

  • Dashiel Hammett would have material here for many novels.....all true stories! Why not give these spies false information and catch them at their own game....busted!

  • good article

  • This makes sense.

Want more conversations like this?

Join the Quartz community for all the intelligence, without the noise.

App Store BadgeGoogle Play Badge
Leaderboard Screenshot

A community of leaders, subject matter experts, and curious minds bringing nuance back to how we talk about the news.

Editors' Picks Screenshot

No content overload: our editors will curate the most notable and discussion-worthy pieces for you every day.

Share Screenshot

Don’t just read the story, tell it: contribute your ideas and experience to the dialogue.