A federal grand jury indicted a current U.S. Department of Homeland Security agent and a former agent in connection with an alleged Chinese Communist Party-orchestrated plan to stalk, harass, and observe critics of the Chinese government living in the U.S.
Craig Miller, who has worked for DHS for a decade-and-a-half, and Derrick Taylor, a former DHS agent now working as a private investigator, stand accused of accessing information about Chinese activists from a government database and providing that information to two individuals who used it to target victims.
Miller and Taylor were arrested in June; each faces a count of obstruction of justice. Taylor additionally faces a charge of lying to the FBI in connection with the probe.
Several other men were also indicted in the case – Fan “Frank” Liu, Matthew Ziburis and Qiang “Jason” Sun – all of whom allegedly carried out the “transnational repression scheme to target U.S. residents whose political views and actions are disfavored” by the CCP, said the Justice Department.
Sun remains at large, though Liu and Ziburis were arrested in March.
The assistant attorney general for national security, Matthew Olsen, said in a statement, “We will defend the rights of people in the United States to engage in free speech and political expression, including views the PRC [People’s Republic of China] government wants to silence. As charged, these individuals aided agents of a foreign government in seeking to suppress dissenting voices who have taken refuge here.”
The aim of the plot was, as has been the case in a number of recent cases, to discredit pro-democracy Chinese dissidents living in New York City, San Francisco, and Indiana.
Taylor was initially retained by an unnamed co-conspirator in the case, and then Miller was subsequently recruited by Taylor to become part of the operation. According to the indictment, “Liu, Ziburis and Sun used this information to target and harass the PRC dissidents, while acting on behalf of the PRC government.”
According to Voice of America, a spokesperson at the Chinese Embassy in Washington said, “I’m not aware of the specific situation. I would like to stress in principle that the Chinese side always asks overseas Chinese citizens to comply with the host country’s laws and regulations. We firmly oppose acts by the U.S. that groundlessly malign and smear China.”