US and Chinese presidents both have problems with ‘bedbugs’

New York City is abuzz today with the gossip that President Obama will nix staying at Park Avenue’s swank Waldorf-Astoria Hotel for fear the presidential suite might be riddled with Chinese bugs — the electronic and not the bedbug variety. Obama is in the Big Apple for a Democratic fundraiser and to see a Broadway show.

It seems such security worries have been building since China’s Anbang Insurance Group bought the historic 47-story tower last year for $1.95 billion. Coupled with that are strong suspicions that Chinese hackers were behind the recent breach that stole personal data on millions of current and former federal employees from the Office of Personnel Management. US officials have also been told to steer clear of the Waldorf.

Electronic listening device

Electronic listening device

Asia Unhedged thinks this is one of the downsides when Chinese buy real estate in New York these days. We would also avoid staying at the Waldorf if we were President Obama.

However, before America’s sense of moral outrage bubbles over anew, we ask you to consider the following  Jan. 20, 2002 story that appeared in the Telegraph:

“China finds spy bugs in Jiang’s Boeing jet

CHINA claims to have found almost 30 surveillance bugs, including one in the headboard of the presidential bed, on a Boeing 767 that had just been delivered from America to serve as President Jiang Zemin’s official aircraft.

The aircraft has been sitting on a military airstrip north of Beijing, unused with much of its upholstery and many of its fittings ripped out, since October when Chinese test pilots detected a strange and unfamiliar whine emanating from its body.

A search of the twin-engined aircraft, which was manufactured and fitted out in America, yielded 27 devices, according to Chinese officials, hidden in its seats, lavatory and panelling.

Beijing believes that the bugs were planted by the Central Intelligence Agency while the aircraft was undergoing conversion work in San Antonio, Texas.

The CIA refused to respond to the report. Bill Harlow, the spy agency’s spokesman, said: “We never comment on allegations like these, as a matter of policy.” The White House used almost identical words, saying: “We never discuss these types of allegations.”

The story also ran in major US news media and then disappeared from the headlines without a follow up.



Categories: Asia Unhedged, China

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  • ModernChinese

    What a nonsense – another American clumsy scheme to sabotage the Chinese thriving business as usual.

    Anyone in the world that does not “inhale” heavily ought to know by now that the most obnoxious, most malicious, and most dangerous spies are no other than the Americans. This fact is well known to the world ever since CIA started plots to overthrow every government on planet who is not to their liking.

    Mr. Edward Snowden – the former US worker forthe US spy agency NSA – has driven the last nail to the coffin of the US intelligent network by exposing all NSA’s illegal activities around the world: from bugging many world leaders like presidents of France, Brazil, German Chancellor…to the hacking of Chinese banking/educational/commercial institutions…anything and anyone the US wants to.

    We should recall how the US spy agency planted the listening devices on the 747 Boeing plane which China ordered for president Jiang ZeMin in 1980s as the Chinese Presidential plane. This
    just shows the blatant disregard of the basic decent integrity/respect for the customers of the US business by the US government.

    Here is the modi operandi of the US government and all its agencies: We all know that the US (or all Western governments) have been committing immoral crimes all the time, all over the world. But whenever one or many of their crimes are about to be exposed, they falsely, loudly and publicly “accuse” other people/government of committing the same crimes.

    Cases in point: the Western governments led by US are constantly accuse many of African leaders of “genocidal crimes” against their people(sic). Who has been committing more genocide in Africa than the Western governments and the white devils?

    The US is so accustomed to accusing Chinese government of cyber-espionage, but Mr. Snowden revelation just exposes the US massive cyber subversive activities, not only against China, but
    against EVERYBODY in the world!

    The US government drums up the “security risk” of the Chinese private company Huawei operating in US, but it is the US companies like Google, Cisco, Goldman Sage.. that constantly seek ways to sabotage the Chinese economic, financial, security system in order to bring chaos to China!?

    There is a saying in Asia:” The robber always goes to bed with knife/gun” – meaning
    the robber is always afraid of being robbed because of the insecurity they feel as results of their brutal crimes.

    Mr. Obama is NO exception to the US robbery mentality: trying to avert the condemnation
    from public for his immoral misdeeds by “accusing” Chinese of allegedly doing the things that his government has been doing on the massive scale!

    Mr. Obama, this out-dated ploy won’t work any more. It is boring and discredited long, long ago.

  • Zhuubaajie

    We do live in interesting times. With the advent of IOT (internet of everything), every single appliance (down to something as simple as a light bulb) could be an internet linked listening device – or worse yet, a video capture device. HOW do you know that the LED bulb you put on end table lamp is not a bug? There simply is no way to verify.

  • Qiaobao

    January 20, 2002? I remember reading about this; it was in a Chinese magazine, and I thought the whole world would know. But apparently “it disappeared from the headlines without a follow-up”, until today in Asia Times.
    Good work, Asia Times! In the land of the blind, one-eye is king