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Is The FBI Covering For Chinese Attacks On Our Electoral System?
Over the weekend in Arizona at an event sponsored by True the Vote Catherine Engelbrecht and Gregg Phillips presented some explosive new information. They advised that True the Vote had uncovered evidence suggesting a U.S.-based firm might be working with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and providing access to sensitive election-related data. More importantly, perhaps, Engelbrecht and Phillips reported that the FBI was now pressuring True the Vote to back off on their investigation and suggesting that organization might end up being targeted for having acquired this information on a potential national security threat.
Once upon a time, I would likely have found those allegations incredible. Not anymore.
The company at the heart of this controversy is Konnech, which is based in Michigan. It bills itself as providing software solutions for election managers.
“At Konnech, election logistics software is all we do….From Konnech’s first-client partnership with the City of Detroit to the 32 clients we currently work with in North America, our Founder and President, Eugene Yu, has implemented a client-centered approach. We listen to what you need in a system and will configure and customize our products to that you receive the exact solution you need.”
One of the products Konnech has created is called PollChief. It bills itself as an election management system. According to Engelbrecht and Phillips, PollChief helps jurisdictions enroll and manage election workers. In the process, it requires the input of a tremendous amount of data about these election workers and their duties. All of that information is then collected and stored by Konnech.
Per the information provided by Engelbrecht and Phillips, all of that information is then stored on three servers which physically reside in China. As China is a Communist nation under the control of a totalitarian government, that means all of that data is accessible to and controlled by the Chinese Communist Party. PollChief is described in promotional literature as “a data warehouse that organizes communications and logistical details for polling places/precincts, workers, assets/drayage, and help desk.”
It sucks up data and stores it.
True the Vote reported all this to the FBI many, many months ago. An investigation was apparently opened by counterintelligence agents at the FBI’s Detroit field office, who recognized immediately that there were potentially enormous national security implications to having the CCP in possession of the information collected by Konnech. At some point, however, FBI headquarters got involved, interest in the investigation waned and ultimately Phillips and Engelbrecht say they were threatened by the FBI, which now seemed more interested in how they had acquired the information than protecting our elections from foreign influence and control.
Konnech is owned by a gentleman named Eugene Yu. Information on the internet appears to show that Yu was born in Korea but is a Chinese national. He has been in the United States for many years, and to date, AND Magazine has not acquired any derogatory information on Yu. One of his employees, however, is a different matter.
The guy who built and it appears runs PollChief is a fellow named Wang Xiang. Wang is apparently a Chinese national. Prior to coming to Konnech, Wang was a member of the Chinese Students and Scholars Association (CSSA) at the University of New Mexico. In fact, Wang ran the website for that organization.
The CSSA is very bad news.
The CSSA is part of what is known as the Chinese United Front. This is a whole of government effort on the part of Beijing to subvert American institutions and further China’s goal of becoming the dominant power on the planet. This is not conjecture. Multiple independent reports by private institutions and the United States government have reached this conclusion over the course of many years.
“According to the United States-China Economic and Security Review Commission (USCC), “China uses what it calls ‘United Front’ work to co-opt and neutralize sources of potential opposition to the policies and authority of its ruling Chinese Communist Party.” The CCP delegates this mission to its United Front Work Department, which, according to the USCC, has extensive foreign influence. The United Front Work Department conducts “overseas Chinese work” in which it employs Chinese organizations and individuals to advocate for Chinese governmental interests. According to the USCC, this is done in a manner that is hard to trace directly to the CCP, so that accusations of misconduct can be dismissed as racial prejudice.”
“Of the United Front Work-affiliated organizations mentioned by the USCC, Chinese Students and Scholars Associations (CSSAs) pose what is arguably the greatest threat to American colleges.”
“CSSAs’ connections to the Chinese government often involve financial ties. Foreign Policy’s report found that CSSAs frequently take money directly from Chinese embassies and consulates, though the monetary trail can be difficult to trace at many universities. Three CSSA members told Foreign Policy that, “in some cases, the consulate deposits the money directly into the personal account of the CSSA treasurer or other officer, rather than the official CSSA account.” This prevents universities from monitoring the financial activities of these organizations.”
“In addition to funding, ties indicating supervision of CSSAs by the Chinese Embassy or consulates have also been documented – raising serious concerns about the organizations’ operational independence. The nature of the ties appears to involve direct subordination and political direction rather than mere affiliation or cooperation. For example, in a promotional video from 2017, the president of the George Washington University CSSA explicitly says the CSSA is “directed by the Chinese Embassy” and “works with” the embassy. Cao Yaxue, founder and editor of ChinaChange.org (a civil society activist website), asserted that all CSSAs are funded by the Chinese government. Chen Yonglin claims most CSSAs are “installed by the Chinese government” and noted that the constitution of the Southwestern CSSA—a coalition comprising 26 CSSAs in California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Hawaii, according to its website — says the Chinese Consulate in Los Angeles must approve all Southwestern CSSA presidential candidates”
In short, the guy who it appears is at the heart of the problem uncovered by True the Vote, came to his current position from an organization that is controlled, directed, and funded by the Chinese Communist Party and directly connected to Chinese intelligence. That would seem to be a very big deal considering the sensitivity of the information PollChief collects and the fact that is reportedly being piped directly back to Communist China. One wonders then why the FBI would not recognize that fact and act decisively to prevent this from continuing.
Are we looking at incompetence and bureaucratic inertia or something worse? Is the FBI covering for Chinese attacks on our electoral system?