In the days since news broke that a Chinese spy helped raise campaign funds for Democratic Congressman Eric Swalwell and used sex to get close to other politicians, many people are having fun making the same obvious “The Spy Who Shagged Me” joke. But there’s a better comparison: J.J. Abrams‘ “Alias.”
- Axios reported that a Chinese woman named Fang Fang (who went by the name “Christine Fang”) is a suspected intelligence operative who posed as a student in order to connect with American politicians
- “Christine Fang” was heavily involved in San Francisco Bay-area politics since 2011, and she helped raise money for politicians including California Democratic Congressman Eric Swalwell
- Swalwell is a Democratic congressman from California who ran for president in the 2020 Democratic primary. He also serves as a member of the House Intelligence Committee
- Fang reportedly engaged in sexual relationships with multiple politicians, including at least two mid-western mayors. The FBI reportedly recorded the alleged spy engaging in a sexual encounter with an Ohio mayor in a car. Fang left the country in 2015
- Swalwell said that his association with Fang ended when he was alerted to Fang’s activities by the FBI. Thus far, Swalwell has not denied that he had a sexual relationship with Fang. When his staff was directly asked if the Congressman, who is married, had engaged in a sexual relationship with Fang, his staff reportedly said they could not comment as it might reveal classified information
- This isn’t the first time a foreign adversary has used a honeypot to get close to power. Anna Chapman was famously outed as part of a Russian spy ring in 2010
- An alleged Chinese spy infiltrated California Democratic Senator Diane Feinstein’s office
- The Ministry of State Security is China’s main spy agency
Life imitates art
Movies and television often draw inspiration from real life. But sometimes, it seems the other way around. This story has already been told, as an “Alias” subplot.
J.J. Abrams’ “Alias” tells the story of a graduate student named Sydney Bristow (played by Jennifer Garner) who is also an undercover agent for a secret government intelligence agency called SD-6. At the start of the series, Sydney believes she is working on behalf of the U.S. government, but then in the first episode, she learns that she and all other low-level agents have been lied to: she is actually working for a rogue spy agency that is an enemy of the state. Upon learning this, Sydney becomes a double agent for the real CIA on a mission to take SD-6 down from the inside.
There’s also a subplot involving her parents. Unbeknownst to Sydney, her father Jack Bristow has been a double agent for the U.S. government working to take SD-6 down the whole time. Sydney soon learns that her mother (who Sydney incorrectly believed died when she was six years old) was actually a Russian spy who posed as a graduate student in order to seduce Jack when he was a young CIA agent, so that she could steal secrets. Sydney’s mother used Jack and daughter Sydney as cover, and later faked her own death in order to escape when her cover was blown.
The story involving Sydney’s mother isn’t as far-fetched as that sounds, apparently.
“Alias” also had another subplot that involved collecting mysterious artifacts from a Renaissance inventor named Milo Rambaldi whose work was centuries ahead of his time. This subplot and the race to collect artifacts drives much of the action but it ultimately leads to… nothing but disappointment.
When it first aired on ABC in 2001, J.J. Abram’s “Alias” was arguably the best television program ever made up to that point in time. But in classic J.J. Abrams style, he set up fantastic mysteries without ever providing a satisfactory explanation (which is lazy as a writer. It’s easy to come up with a compelling mystery if you don’t saddle yourself with the burden of ever providing answers).
If you didn’t watch the show when it first came out, don’t bother watching it now. The first season ended almost every episode on a cliffhanger, and every new puzzle piece made the mystery deepen. But the show started to decline in season three before seriously going off the rails in seasons four and five. ABC executives apparently decided that the long-running story arc was too complex for viewers to follow, so they took a serialized show and turned it into “Law and Order” style episodic stories, wherein much of the conflict starts and resolves within the span of a single episode.
This was before television executives understood that audiences crave complex shows with long-running plot lines (as demonstrated by the later popularity of shows like LOST and Game of Thrones). It’s a tragedy that they took such an interesting premise and let the show completely fall apart. But again, you’ve got to also put some of the blame at the feet of Abrams, who has a tendency of setting up interesting premises only to jump ship to go work on other projects.
Seriously. Do yourself a favor. Do not get invested in this program. The Rambaldi mysteries are never resolved in a satisfactory way.
Meanwhile, it turns out that federal prosecutors are investigating Hunter Biden’s finances, foreign ties, and possible money laundering. The investigation has been going on since 2018.
Let that sink in. The investigation has been going on since 2018, yet it stayed quiet through the 2020 presidential election.
When the New York Post broke the story about possibly incriminating emails found on former Vice President Joe Biden’s son’s laptop before the election, much of the mainstream media chose to not cover the story. Twitter worked to actively suppress the story by preventing people from sharing the link. Rather than reporting on the substance of the allegations, many outlets ran stories claiming that it was likely Russian disinformation, despite statements from Hunter Biden’s former business associate, and the fact that Biden never denied the authenticity of the emails.