The FBI cautioned on Wednesday that China and Iran are boldly pursuing dissidents for punitive action on U.S. soil along with attempting to influence Washington’s foreign policy.
The revelations came at a news briefing with reporters on transnational repression. It is unclear if there are other countries also conducting targeted operations in the U.S.
FBI counterintelligence officials encouraged victims of oppression from these authoritarian regimes to come forward. The bureau reportedly is monitoring increased violations of U.S. law by the two nations in an effort to silence certain communities.
FBI says China, Iran using new tactics to harass critics on U.S. soil https://t.co/ho487RjmrH pic.twitter.com/UZ2eB1gtSh
— Reuters (@Reuters) April 20, 2023
Officials confirmed the governments are utilizing private investigators to carry out surveillance on critics. Several criminal cases have been prosecuted by federal authorities over these actions.
Agencies in China and Iran are using new tactics and crossing lines previously unseen, according to the FBI. The bureau said it hoped to raise awareness of new patterns as well as inform the private investigation industry of potential issues with foreign actors.
Voice of America reported that “China, Iran, and other countries see this as a priority for them to stabilize their regimes and make sure that they continue to exist.
The outlet added that these nations are now “more willing to go on U.S. soil to go after dissidents.”
Besides targeting those who oppose their oppressive governments, they also seek to lean on Washington policymakers through “malign influence tactics.”
An FBI counterintelligence official said the bureau has seen a change in the “tactics and tools” employed by Chinese and Iranian officials. The risk and threat levels, they asserted, have changed over the past few years.
It was just Monday when federal agents arrested two New York City residents on charges of operating a secret Chinese “police station” in Manhattan’s Chinatown district.
U.S. Attorney Breon Peace said Monday that the U.S. “cannot and will not tolerate the Chinese government’s persecution of pro-democracy activists who have sought refuge in this country.”
Federal officials said it is part of a wider crackdown by the government on Beijing’s aggressive actions towards international dissidents. These stations are thought to exist in many major cities around the globe, including Los Angeles.