In a strange decision that will undoubtedly cause many questions to surface, the Justice Department will file no charges against a woman who has admitted to selling sensitive information about American individuals to a Chinese intelligence agent. This woman, Xiaoming Gao, worked for the Office of Language Services from June 2010 to February 2014 as a translator, giving her access to a social circle that includes many high-powered government officials.
Gao’s actions were uncovered by an FBI probe spearheaded by special agent Timothy S. Pappa, one that aimed to investigate suspicious activities on her part. Pappa filed an affidavit with the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland in November of last year, revealing that Gao received “thousands of dollars to provide information on U.S. persons and a U.S. government employee.”
The government employee in question worked for the State Department designing embassies and held a top-secret clearance that gave him access to privileged government secrets. This man let Gao live with him without paying rent, although the full extent of their relationship is not disclosed in the affidavit. When he was first questioned by the FBI, the State Department employee claimed that he kept his relationship with Gao separate from his work, but he then changed his story after additional probing.
Gao also gathered information about another American who planned to travel abroad with a person from Tibet. Upon the latter’s return to Tibet, he was allegedly detained by Chinese officials and one of his family members was arrested. Gao allegedly fed the knowledge she accumulated to a man known only as “Teacher Zhao,” meeting him in hotels in China over a period of several years in order to transmit the information secretly.
Despite all of the conclusive evidence surrounding Gao’s traitorous actions, the U.S. attorney’s office responsible for the case let Gao walk without charges, which finally allowed the case to be brought to the public’s eye. This decision has raised eyebrows throughout government circles, with former Justice Department employee Thomas Dupree telling Fox News that “it’s not clear to me… how a prosecution of this person could possibly have compromised U.S. intelligence gathering.”
Between the FBI and the State Department, the two organizations most closely linked to the case as it stands, neither seems eager to field questions about Zhao’s case. News outlets report that the FBI has been referring any questions along to the State Department, but in a recent statement, State Department spokewoman Marie Harf insisted that “I’m referring you back to [the FBI].”