Thomas Zimmerman, who will serve as a Special Assistant to the President for Presidential Personnel under Joe Biden, formerly served as a visiting scholar at what the FBI has called a “front group for Chinese intelligence collection and overseas spy recruitment,” The National Pulse can reveal.
While at New York University’s Center on International Cooperation, Zimmerman also served as a fellow at the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, flagged by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for its close ties to the Chinese Communist Party’s top spy agency, the Ministry of State Security.
The Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences (SASS), which the FBI views as a “front group for Chinese intelligence collection and overseas spy recruitment,” was involved in a 2019 criminal case involving a retired Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) operative selling classified U.S. defense documents to China.
The operative, Kevin Mallory, was contacted by a SASS official via LinkedIn to begin the relationship that culminated in a 20-year prison sentence for Mallory.
The FBI has described the Chinese Communist Party as relying on SASS employees as “spotters and assessors” of potential Western spies. Ministry of State Security officers – described by the FBI as keen on “influencing the foreign policy of other countries” – have also “used SASS affiliation as cover identities,” according to the FBI.
Joe Biden’s inaugural committee has returned a donation from former senator Barbara Boxer, a California Democrat who registered as a foreign agent for Chinese surveillance firm Hikvision, Axios reported on Tuesday.
The Trump administration alleged in June that Hikivision is owned or controlled by the Chinese military. The Commerce Department blacklisted Hikivision in 2019 for its alleged involvement in China’s repression of Uyghurs in Xinjiang Province.
Hikivision cameras are reportedly used to surveil Uyghurs the Chinese government has imprisoned concentration camps. The company’s equipment is also used throughout the U.S., including on military bases, The Wall Street Journal reported in 2017.