Andy McCarthy has an excellent article today (h/t Mike Edmonson):
Not only were the Bidens’ Chinese business contacts known to have ties to the regime; they also may have been clandestine agents.
There's actually no real "may have been" about it. McCarthy cites Hunter Biden's own description of a key partner, Chi Ping Patrick Ho, as “the f***ing spy chief of China.” As McCarthy amply documents, there is ample reason to accept Biden's assessment that Ho, if not the actual "f***ing spy chief of China," was certainly serving an intelligence function for China. And Ho worked directly for another top Chinese intelligence operative, Ye Zianming.
McCarthy tells the whole story very clearly, despite the dense detail. I highly recommend it.
I also draw attention to the role of FISA in the FBI investigations into these China operatives. There's no doubt at all that the FBI would have been well aware of the the Chinese cultivation of the Biden family--and other US politicians. That awareness, by now, has certainly spanned quite a few years. That's what the use of FISA makes possible, but there is a complication when it comes to use of evidence gather under FISA in a criminal trial. McCarthy explains:
United States intelligence agencies clearly took notice. As the Daily Caller’s Chuck Ross reports, our government obtained at least one FISA surveillance warrant that yielded evidence against Chi Ping Patrick Ho, one of CEFC’s heavyweights. The surveillance authorized by the FISA court included electronic eavesdropping as well as physical searching.
As Russiagate and the challenges to investigating it have made painfully clear, FISA surveillance is classified. The government applications and evidentiary showings that lead to it are closely guarded national-security secrets. Even on the rare occasions when evidence derived from FISA surveillance is used in court, as it was in Ho’s eventual prosecution for corruption crimes, the lawyers for the defendant and the trial prosecutors are not informed of the factual basis that predicated the surveillance. The full breadth of the counterintelligence investigation is not revealed publicly. The full range of targets remains secret, and we learn neither how long the monitoring went on nor what specific intelligence-gathering methods were employed.
What we get is just a bare-bones notice, such as the Justice Department provided during Ho’s prosecution, advising that FISA evidence would be offered at the trial. (In the inevitable litigation over admissibility of this evidence, the public is permitted to see only bland legal discussions about the FISA statute and precedents. The underlying, classified facts that triggered the surveillance remain secret.)
The CEFC scenario is a good example of why revelations about counterintelligence investigations are sparse, and why U.S. spy agencies often push against Justice Department use of evidence collected through foreign-intelligence surveillance operations, even to the point of trying to block indictments. Prosecution triggers discovery rules — the production to the defense of relevant information in sensitive government files. Moreover, when it is disclosed — even without providing much detail — that evidence has been collected under FISA, this alerts the foreign power at issue that its operations have been penetrated and monitored by U.S. intelligence agencies. That’s why intelligence agents, even if they stumble upon provable criminal activity, hate prosecutions: Once the FISA hand is tipped, the foreign power takes steps to shut down whatever activities may have been compromised.
To be clear, a FISA warrant would not have been issued, enabling surveillance that yielded evidence against a top CEFC official, unless the FISA court found probable cause of clandestine activity on behalf of a foreign power. We don’t know exactly how many CEFC officials were under surveillance, or who they were, but it emerged at Ho’s trial that the FBI had been monitoring CEFC since at least 2016. Government surveillance resulted in key corruption evidence against Ho, who worked directly for Ye. Indeed, the Times noted that, within days of Ho’s arrest, Ye was interviewed by the FBI.
Not only do we not know "exactly how many CEFC officials were under [FISA] surveillance," but we also don't know their full range of US and other Western contacts, their agents, the influential persons whom CEFC was cultivating.
To avoid the discovery requirements that would force the US Government (DoJ and the FBI) to reveal to foreign governments the full scope of their knowledge of foreign intelligence operations against the US, the US Government may seek to tailor retaliatory actions--prosecutions, sanctions of various sorts--in ways that avoid disclosure requirements. They may even, as McCarthy expressly notes, prefer to avoid such actions in the interest of further intelligence gathering against foreign threats, calculating that--knowledge being power--more knowledge is preferable to the relatively temporary gratification of indictments and prosecution.
These are the tradeoffs that are part of the cost of living in a constitutional republic.