Exclusive: Trump launched CIA covert influence operation against China

Exclusive: Trump launched CIA covert influence operation against China Two years into office, President Donald Trump authorized the Central Intelligence Agency to launch a clandestine campaign on Chinese social media aimed at turning public opinion in China against its government
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March 18, 2024 16:05
Exclusive: Trump launched CIA covert influence operation against China

Two years into office, President Donald Trump authorized the Central Intelligence Agency to launch a clandestine campaign on Chinese social media aimed at turning public opinion in China against its government, according to former US officials with direct knowledge of the highly classified operation, Report informs referring to Reuters.

Three former officials told Reuters that the CIA created a small team of operatives who used bogus internet identities to spread negative narratives about Xi Jinping’s government while leaking disparaging intelligence to overseas news outlets. The effort, which began in 2019, has not been previously reported.

During the past decade, China has rapidly expanded its global footprint, forging military pacts, trade deals, and business partnerships with developing nations. The CIA team promoted allegations that members of the ruling Communist Party were hiding ill-gotten money overseas and slammed as corrupt and wasteful China’s Belt and Road Initiative, which provides financing for infrastructure projects in the developing world, the sources told Reuters.

Although the US officials declined to provide specific details of these operations, they said the disparaging narratives were based in fact despite being secretly released by intelligence operatives under false cover. The efforts within China were intended to foment paranoia among top leaders there, forcing its government to expend resources chasing intrusions into Beijing’s tightly controlled internet, two former officials said. “We wanted them chasing ghosts,” one of these former officials said.

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