DNI John Ratcliffe: China Is Using Blackmail, Covert Influence to Target Members of Congress

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Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe on Thursday told CBS News reporter Catherine Herridge that the communist Chinese government is using blackmail, bribery, and covert operations to target lawmakers on Capitol Hill as part of a broad effort to influence policymaking.

A partial transcript is as follows:

CATHERINE HERRIDGE: You wrote a piece for the Wall Street Journal and you say China is targeting members of Congress with six times the frequency of Russia and 12 times of Iran. What is behind Beijing’s aggressive approach?

DNI JOHN RATCLIFFE: They want laws and policies out of the United States that are favorable to China and what they are really trying to do is through blackmail, bribery, overt and covert operations, trying to make sure only laws that are favorable to China are passed.

HERRIDGE: What you been to Capitol Hill [sic] and have you briefed this threat information to lawmakers?

DNI RATCLIFFE: I was so troubled by what I saw from the position of director of national intelligence that I briefed both the House and the Senate Intelligence Committees on this information, which they found surprising and troubling.

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