House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) is keeping Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) on the House Intelligence Committee, despite reports swirling that he was seduced by a Chinese honeytrap spy in a bid to infiltrate the U.S political system.
“The American people elected a Democratic House Majority that would be relentless in our work to promote their security – both by defending their economic security here at home and our national security abroad,” Pelosi said in a statement.
“On the Intelligence Committee, these Members will be effective forces in keeping the American people safe, as we confront our nation’s adversaries, adapt to new threats, and work with our allies,” Pelosi added.
In January, Swalwell confirmed in a tweet that he was rejoining the House Committee on Homeland Security after Pelosi reappointed the California Democrat back to the sensitive committee where House members are responsible for the oversight of the U.S Department of Homeland Security and the nation’s security legislation.
“My committee memberships — along with my experience as a prosecutor and as the son and brother of law enforcement officers — will give me a unique opportunity to delve into one of America’s most serious national security threats,” Swalwell tweeted on January 15.
Swalwell’s appointment to both secretive committees follows a bombshell report late last year by Axios that revealed that the California lawmaker allegedly had a relationship with Christine Fang, an accused Chinese spy. Axios reported in December that the Chinese Honeytrap spy was an operative for China’s Ministry of State Security, the country’s top intelligence organization, and was targeting up-and-coming local politicians, including Swalwell. Fang reportedly helped fundraise for Swalwell’s 2014 campaign and even managed to install one intern in his office.
Swalwell was provided by the FBI a “defensive briefing” in 2015 that alerted him with counterintelligence concerns of Fang’s behavior and activities and said to have immediately cut off contact with the Chinese spy. He refused to discuss the type of romantic relationship he had with Fang, but profess he did not share any sensitive information with her before receiving the Defense Briefing.
Pelosi stood by Swalwell following the Axios report and the growing number of Republicans calling for the California Democrat to be removed out of security concerns.
“I don’t have any concerns about Mr. Swalwell. In terms of Mr. Swalwell, in the spring of 2015, the leadership of the House and the Committee were informed that overtures from a Chinese person were being made to Members of Congress. When that was made known to the Members of Congress, it was over. You know, that was the end of any communication with those people,” Pelosi told reporters back in December.
Most if not all of his GOP congressional members, including on the Intelligence Committee, were unaware of Swalwell’s ties to the Chinese Spy before the bombshell December report. Last month, the 14 Republicans on the House Homeland Security Committee wrote to FBI Director Christopher Wray requesting a briefing on Swalwell’s entanglement with Fang Fang.
“We must ensure the Committee can safeguard Top Secret information and make an informed decision regarding Rep. Swalwell’s future access to classified information,” the 14 GOP House lawmakers wrote in the letter.
Following Pelosi’s reappointment announcement, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) announced that he plans on introducing a resolution to remove Swalwell from the House Intelligence Committee.
“Pelosi just reappointed Eric Swalwell to the Intelligence Committee. Based on the briefing she and I received together, Swalwell should not be on the panel in charge of guarding our nation’s secrets,” McCarthy tweeted. “Next week, I will offer a resolution to remove him from the Intel Committee.”