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Butler County, Ohio, jail via AP

The first Chinese government intelligence officer ever to be extradited to the United States to stand trial was sentenced today in federal court in Cincinnati.

Yanjun Xu, 42, was sentenced to 20 years in prison. According to court documents, Xu targeted American aviation companies, recruited employees to travel to China, and solicited their proprietary information, all on behalf of the government of the People’s Republic of China (PRC).

“As proven at trial, the defendant, a Chinese government intelligence officer, used a range of techniques to attempt to steal technology and proprietary information from companies based in both the U.S. and abroad,” said Attorney General Merrick B. Garland. “Today’s sentence demonstrates the seriousness of those crimes and the Justice Department’s determination to investigate and prosecute efforts by the Chinese government, or any foreign power, to threaten our economic and national security.”

“This case sends a clear message: we will hold accountable anyone attempting to steal American trade secrets,” said U.S. Attorney Kenneth L. Parker for the Southern District of Ohio. “Xu conspired to steal American science and technology. Thanks to the diligent work of the FBI, GE Aviation and our trial team, he’ll spend decades in federal prison.”

“This case is just the latest example of the Chinese government’s continued attacks on American economic security – and, by extension, our national security,” said FBI Director Christopher Wray. “The Chinese government tasked an officer of its spy service to steal U.S. trade secrets so it could advance its own commercial and military aviation efforts, at the expense of an American company. This brazen action shows that the Chinese government will stop at nothing to put our companies out of business to the detriment of U.S. workers. As long as the Chinese government continues to break our laws and threaten American industry and institutions, the FBI will work with its partners across the globe to bring those responsible to justice.”

On Nov. 5, 2021, a federal jury in Cincinnati convicted Xu on all counts: conspiracy to commit economic espionage, conspiracy to commit trade secret theft, attempted economic espionage and attempted trade secret theft.

Xu was a career intelligence officer, beginning in 2003 and rising to the rank of deputy division director at the Chinese Ministry of State Security (MSS), the intelligence and security agency for China.

According to court documents and trial testimony, beginning in at least December 2013, Xu targeted specific companies in the United States and abroad that are recognized as leaders in the field of aviation.

Xu used aliases, front companies and universities to deceive aviation employees and solicit information. He identified individuals who worked for the companies and recruited them to travel to China, often initially under the guise that they were traveling to give a presentation at a university. Xu and others paid the individuals stipends on top of covering travel costs.

The scheme was executed with full coordination between the MSS and China’s aviation entities. Xu worked with others in the MSS to hack or copy computers in hotel rooms while the aviation employees – his “guests” – were taken to dinner by the MSS.

Xu also openly talked about efforts to obtain U.S. military information in addition to commercial aviation trade secrets.

Attempted GE Aviation trade secret theft

Xu attempted to steal technology related to GE Aviation’s exclusive composite aircraft engine fan module – which no other company in the world has been able to duplicate – to benefit the Chinese state.

In March 2017, a GE Aviation employee in Cincinnati was solicited to give a report at a university in China. The employee traveled to China two months later to present at the university and was introduced to Xu. Xu and others paid the employee’s travel expenses and a stipend.

After the trip to China, the FBI took over communications with Xu, posing as the employee.

In January 2018, Xu requested “system specification, design process” information from the employee and – with the cooperation of GE Aviation, who was working with the FBI – the employee emailed a two-page document from the company that included a label that warned about the disclosure of proprietary information.

In February 2018, Xu began discussing with the employee the possibility of meeting in Europe during one of the employee’s business trips and asked the employee to send a copy of the file directory for his company-issued computer.

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Xu traveled to Belgium with cash and pictures of the employee on April 1, 2018. He was scheduled to meet with the employee and was arrested at that time.

The Department of Justice’s Office of International Affairs secured Xu’s extradition to the United States, with valuable assistance provided by the government of Belgium, as well as the Belgian Federal Police.

Handling of MSS spy in Chicago

In September 2022, a federal jury in Chicago convicted an individual (Ji Chaoqun) for working on behalf of the MSS under the direction of Xu.

Xu served as Ji’s MSS handler while Ji, a Chinese citizen, lived and studied in Chicago. Xu officially registered Ji as a formal MSS overseas agent in January 2014 and directed Ji to collect biographical information on people to potentially recruit to work with them.

Xu provided Ji with the names of at least nine individuals in America to attempt to recruit. Ji obtained and provided Xu with more detailed background reports on the individuals. Ji also received training on how to speak to the FBI if approached at his school.

In May 2016, Ji joined the U.S. Army through a program that allowed legal aliens with vital skills like Chinese fluency. Ji told Xu and the MSS that he had successfully infiltrated the U.S. military as an MSS officer. His plan was to obtain citizenship quickly and obtain a top-secret security clearance.

Ji reported to an undercover FBI agent that he had access to all military bases with his military ID and volunteered, without prompting, to take pictures of aircraft carriers for the MSS.

The crimes committed by Ji were done on behalf of the MSS, through Xu Yanjun.

“Xu’s handling and placement of a spy within the United States to obtain information regarding aviation technology and employees is yet another facet of Xu’s egregious crimes towards the United States and further justifies the significant sentence of imprisonment he received today,” said U.S. Attorney Parker.

The MSS hacking of a French aerospace manufacturer

The evidence at trial showed Xu recruited insiders within a French aircraft engine manufacturer’s facility in China who were willing to spy on Xu’s behalf. Xu and his assets targeted a French employee of the company that often traveled to the facility in China for work. In 2013, Xu directed one of his assets within the company to plant malware on the French employee’s work computer, with the ultimate goal of being able to infiltrate the company’s network in France. The evidence at trial also showed Xu’s integral role in the installation of the malware, his instructions to destroy the malware, and Xu’s monitoring of the success and cover-up of the operation.

The FBI investigated the case. The Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs and the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices for the Northern District of Illinois and the District of Arizona provided valuable assistance.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy S. Mangan and Deputy Criminal Chief Emily N. Glatfelter for the Southern District of Ohio and Trial Attorney Matthew J. McKenzie of the National Security Division’s Counterintelligence and Export Control Section represented the United States in this case.


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19-Year-Old Won’t Be Allowed To Attend Father’s Execution, Judge Rules

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A 19-year-old in St. Louis has expressed her dismay after a judge denied her wish to watch her father die by lethal injection. The decision aligns with a Missouri law that prohibits anyone under 21 from witnessing an execution.

Kevin Johnson is scheduled to be executed on Tuesday for the 2005 killing of Officer William McEntee in Kirkwood, Missouri. Johnson’s attorneys have current appeals awaiting as they attempt to stop the execution.

The American Civil Liberties Union had submitted an emergency motion with the court in Kansas City. This came after Johnson’s daughter, Khorry Ramey, stated that she wanted to attend the execution. The ACLU argued that the age requirement had no affect on safety and witnessing the execution is Ramey’s constitutional right.

However, on Friday, Judge Brian C. Wimes determined that Ramey’s constitutional rights wouldn’t be violated by law.

“It’s excruciating to know that I’m about to lose my dad all over again when the state of Missouri kills him. Yet, I can’t be present for his death simply because of my age,” Ramey noted in a statement.

“…my dad is the most important person in my life. He has been there for me my whole life even though he’s been incarcerated.”

The judge was aware that the law may cause emotional damage for Ramey. However, he determined that was just one part of the court’s findings, and the law was constitutional.

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Ramey is hoping that Gov. Michael Parson will grant her dad clemency. Johnson’s attorneys have been attempting to stop his execution. They have admitted his guilt but believe that racism was involved in the decision to be put him to death. Johnson is Black, and McEntee was white.

Johnson’s lawyers also say that a mental illness and the fact that he was 19 at the time should have been factors in the decision. In 2005, the Supreme Court prohibited the execution of individuals younger than 18 at the time of the offense. Thus, more courts have moved away from giving teens the death penalty.

“The surviving victims of Johnson’s crimes have waited long enough for justice. Every day longer that they must wait is a day they are denied the chance to finally make peace with their loss,” a state petition read.



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Woman Dies After Test Drive At Car Dealership Results In Fatal Crash

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On Saturday, a deadly accident occurred during a test drive at a Nissan car dealership in Winter Haven, Florida.

Authorities say that Clifford Worme, 86, was test driving a Nissan Rogue at the Hill Nissan car dealership. 76-year-old Jean Worme and a sales representative were in the vehicle, as well.

As they were returning the car, Clifford Worme made a turn to go back into the dealership. He did so right in front of a Nissan Murano, authorities say.

Jean Worme died, and Clifford Worme sustained minor injuries. The driver of the Murano and the salesperson were unharmed.

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Everyone involved in the incident had on a seatbelt.

An investigation is continuing.



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Missouri AG to depose Fauci in social media lawsuit

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Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, listens during a briefing about the coronavirus in the James Brady Press Briefing Room, Friday, March 27, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt and Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry will depose Dr. Anthony Fauci in their lawsuit against the federal government for allegedly colluding with social media companies to censor speech.

“Tomorrow, along with my colleague from Louisiana, my Office and I will depose Dr. Anthony Fauci in our lawsuit against the Biden Administration for allegedly colluding with social media companies to censor freedom of speech,” said Attorney General Schmitt. “Since we filed our landmark lawsuit, we have uncovered documents and discovery that show clear coordination between the Biden Administration and social media companies on censoring speech, but we’re not done yet. We plan to get answers on behalf of the American people. Stay tuned.”

“We all deserve to know how involved Dr. Fauci was in the censorship of the American people during the COVID pandemic; tomorrow, I hope to find out. And I will continue fighting for the truth as it relates to Big Government colluding with Big Tech to stifle free speech,” said Attorney General Landry.

Missouri and Louisiana filed this lawsuit in May of 2022 and have since received discovery showing that the federal government and the Biden Administration have worked with social media companies to censor speech on topics like COVID-19 and other issues.

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A federal court granted Missouri and Louisiana’s request for depositions of top Biden Administration officials on October 21, 2022.

Additionally, a magistrate judge in Virginia rejected former White House press secretary Jen Psaki’s attempt to quash a subpoena in this case and transferred that dispute back to Louisiana.


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