Biden Personnel Chief Served at Chinese Communist Party Spy Group
'front group for Chinese intelligence collection'
Thomas Zimmerman, who will serve as a special assistant under Joe Biden, formerly served as a visiting scholar for a “front group for Chinese intelligence collection and overseas spy recruitment,” according to reports.
Zimmerman served as a fellow at the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences during his time at New York University’s Center on International Cooperation.
The Shanghai Academy was flagged by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for ties with he CCP's top spy agency, the Ministry of State Security.
The FBI described The Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences (SASS) as “front group for Chinese intelligence collection and overseas spy recruitment."
In 2019, The academy was involved in a criminal case involving a retired Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) caught selling classified U.S. defense documents to China.
Kevin Mallory was subject to investigation after it was revealed he was contacted by a SASS official via LinkedIn to begin the relationship.
Mallory was given a 20-year prison sentence following charges.
As Neon Nettle reported in 2019:
The case has been described as an "alarming trend" in the US intelligence community following similar incidents.
Kevin Mallory, 62, was convicted under the Espionage Act for trading classified US "defense information" to China's intelligence entities for $25,000.
Mallory conspired to sell the "defense information" during trips to Shanghai in March and April 2017.
The former spy had served in the US army before being recruited as a special agent for the State Department's security service.
Mallory then became a covert case officer for the Central Intelligence Agency.
According to the FBI, the Chinese Communist Party was relying on SASS employees as “spotters and assessors” of potential Western spies.
Ministry of State Security officers has also “used SASS affiliation as cover identities,” according to the FBI.
Zimmerman’s association with the think tank was described by a Homeland Security Today article “visiting scholar” focusing “on Afghanistan, Somalia, and Chinese regional policy.”
Zimmerman has also “hosted an academic salon” alongside Chinese Communist Party adviser Li Lifan on “topics concerning counter-terrorism in Afghanistan and Pakistan, security issues in Central Asia, and the US perspective on the One Belt One. Road initiative, and security issues in South Asia."
The Chinese Communist Party funds the SIAS and “provide[s] advisory services to the central government as well as local decision-makers” in China.
Zimmerman’s bio on the Biden-Harris Transition team site excludes any mention of his involvement with the Chinese think tank.