POST-COLD WAR

2002

PRC Presidential Aircraft Bugged

 

Materials presented in chronological order.

Pomfret, John. "China Finds Bugs on Jet Equipped in U.S.: Devices Taken Off Presidential Plane Could Become Issue at Summit." Washington Post, 19 Jan. 2002, A1. [http://www. washingtonpost.com]

According to Chinese and Western sources, quoting Chinese military officers and aviation officials, Chinese military communications experts in October 2001 "discovered numerous high-tech listening devices planted inside" the Boeing 767-300ER meant to be China's presidential aircraft. "Chinese aviation officials and military officers have charged that U.S. intelligence agencies planted the bugs aboard the plane while it was being refitted in the United States, the sources said."

Rosenthal, Elisabeth. "China Changes Approach in Espionage Incident." New York Times, 27 Jan. 2002. [http://www.nytimes.com]

In contrast to the reaction in April 2001 when a U.S. spy plane collided with a Chinese jet, the Chinese have "barely made a peep after a new ... set of espionage revelations...: President Jiang Zemin's newly delivered Boeing 767 had been surreptitiously loaded with dozens of listening devices while its interior was being outfitted last year in San Antonio.... There are many pragmatic reasons for such a change, from China's hope that a more conciliatory tone would help promote its views on the divisive issue of Taiwan, to its desire to avoid the distraction of international crises as it is prepares to host the Olympics in 2008 and to meet obligations as a new member of World Trade Organization."

Risen, James, and Eric Lichtblau. "Spy Suspect May Have Told Chinese of Bugs, U.S. Says." New York Times, 15 Apr. 2003. [http://www.nytimes.com]

On 14 April 2003, government officials said that "[c]ounterintelligence officials fear that an F.B.I. informer in Los Angeles tipped off the Chinese government to a covert [U.S.] effort to plant listening devices aboard China's version of Air Force One... The National Security Agency,... working with the [FBI] and other intelligence organizations, led an operation to plant bugs in a Boeing 767 used by the president of China while it was in the United States for refitting, officials said. The listening devices were quickly discovered, and the Chinese government disclosed the incident early last year."

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