Diane Feinstein's Ties to China Go WAY Deeper than Recent Spy found in her Employ

I sometimes say that in my last life maybe I was Chinese.”—Sen. Dianne Feinstein

As media, intelligence agency, and political scrutiny of foreign meddling is seemingly at its apex, a story with big national security implications involving a high-ranking senator with access to America’s most sensitive intelligence information has been hiding in plain sight.

The story involves China and the senior U.S. senator from California, and former chair of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Democrat Dianne Feinstein. It was buried eight paragraphs into a recent Politico exposé on foreign efforts to infiltrate Silicon Valley, as a passing example of political espionage:

Former intelligence officials…[said] Chinese intelligence once recruited a staff member at a California office of U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein, and the source reported back to China about local politics. (A spokesperson for Feinstein said the office doesn’t comment on personnel matters or investigations, but noted that no Feinstein staffer in California has ever had a security clearance.)

ccording to four former intelligence officials, in the 2000s, a staffer in Senator Dianne Feinstein’s San Francisco field office was reporting back to the MSS [China’s Ministry of State Security, its intelligence and security apparatus]. While this person, who was a liaison to the local Chinese community, was fired, charges were never filed against him. (One former official reasoned this was because the staffer was providing political intelligence and not classified information—making prosecution far more difficult.) The suspected informant was ‘run’ by officials based at China’s San Francisco Consulate, said another former intelligence official. The spy’s handler ‘probably got an award back in China’ for his work, noted this former official, dryly.

This anecdote provides significantly more questions than answers. For starters: Who was the spy? For how long was the spy under surveillance? What information about “local politics” was the spy passing back to China? Just how close was the spy to the senator? Did law enforcement officials sweep vehicles and other areas for listening devices? Was there an investigation into whether others in the senator’s circle may have been coordinating with Beijing?

Did the senator expose herself to potential blackmail, or the public to danger through leakage of sensitive, highly classified information? Is firing really the proper punishment for providing political intelligence to a foreign power?

The Details Right Now Are Few and Blurry

We now know only the most basic of additional details about what occurred in Feinstein’s office. Five years ago, the FBI approached the senator to apprise her that a San Francisco-based staffer was being investigated under suspicion of spying for China. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Feinstein’s hometown paper, this staffer, who had worked with Feinstein for almost 20 years, drove her around in San Francisco and “served as gofer in her San Francisco office and as a liaison to the Asian American community, even attending Chinese Consulate functions for the senator.”

An unnamed source added that a Chinese MSS official first approached the staffer during a visit to Asia several years prior. Given his proximity to Feinstein, we have no idea what information he could have gleaned in her employ. We do have a presumed identity. The Daily Caller discovered that a Feinstein staffer named Russell Lowe, listed on the senator’s payroll as an “office director” as of 2013 before he was let go, matches the description of the Chinese asset.

It appears Lowe continues to operate freely in the United States. A year after he was removed from Feinstein’s staff, Lowe spoke at a conference on Chinese investment in California. In October 2017 he visited a South Korean publication’s office with former Rep. Mike Honda (D-CA), indicating he still had access to political figures.

Lowe presently serves as secretary general of the Education for Social Justice Foundation, which seeks to “educate the public on unresolved historical conflicts, human rights, and crimes against humanity.” The Chinese government likely views its present focus favorably: Japanese abuses during the World War II era via its “comfort women” system whereby 200,000 girls from 13 or more Asian countries were forced into sexual slavery. Lowe discusses the nonprofit’s work here.

It took a tweet from President Trump implying hypocrisy, given Feinstein’s role investigating “Russian collusion” as a member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, while a Chinese spy had infiltrated her own office, to force the senator to address the issue.

Feinstein’s account conflicts with what has been reported regarding the recruitment and activities of the Chinese spy. She conveniently omits that her office employed this individual for almost 20 years in a close capacity, while he represented the senator in interactions with Chinese officials.

A Short History of Dianne Feinstein’s Love for China

For the last 40 years, no politician in America has arguably maintained a deeper, more longstanding and friendlier relationship with China, at the highest levels of its ruling Communist Party, than Feinstein. It dates back to the opening of U.S.-Chinese diplomatic relations in 1979.


Shortly thereafter, Feinstein, then mayor of San Francisco, established a “sister city” relationship with Shanghai, one of the earliest and most robust such relationships in U.S.-China history. Soon after, Feinstein led a mayoral delegation to China joined by her husband, investor Richard Blum, a trip they took together many times over the ensuing years as the relationship between both Feinsteins and China grew.

During the 1980s, as mayor of San Francisco, Feinstein developed a close friendship with Shanghai Mayor Jiang Zemin. This substantially enhanced Feinstein’s foreign policy profile, and created an important linkage to the U.S. government for China’s Communist Party (CCP).

Just as Feinstein rose to a prominent position in foreign affairs and national security in the U.S. Senate, first on the Foreign Relations Committee and later as chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Jiang rose to the top of Chinese leadership, serving as chairman of the Central Military Commission, general secretary of the CCP, and president of the People’s Republic of China (PRC). Under Jiang’s leadership, the PRC initiated a brutal crackdown against practitioners of Falun Gong, including mass imprisonments, beatings, torture, rape, organ harvesting, and murder, and engaging in alleged human rights atrocities against Tibetans. Feinstein never renounced her friendship with Jiang, in spite of these acts.

Feinstein and Jiang reportedly visited each other regularly in the 1980s, with Jiang once spending Thanksgiving in San Francisco with Feinstein and her husband. Jiang supposedly danced with Feinstein during one such visit, which surely must have been a propaganda coup for the CCP a la Ted Kennedy and the Soviets.

It Turned Out to Be a Lucrative Relationship

In 1986, Feinstein and Jiang designated several corporate entities for fostering commercial relations, one named Shanghai Pacific Partners. Feinstein’s husband served as a director. His financial position was relatively small, less than $500,000 on one project, the only such position in China the Feinstein family held when Feinstein entered the Senate in 1992.


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