GOP House 'informant' indicted - Chinese Agent

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Age: 66
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11 Jul 2023, 9:51 pm

Gal Luft, 57, was charged with acting as an unregistered agent for the Chinese government, trafficking weapons and lying to federal agents.

Federal prosecutors in New York City have indicted a co-director of a Maryland-based think tank on a host of charges stemming from what they allege was his unregistered advocacy of Chinese causes while he was trying to sell weapons on behalf of a Chinese company to a number of foreign countries.

Gal Luft, a dual Israeli and American citizen and a co-director of the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security, was also charged with violating Iranian sanctions and making false statements to federal agents, according to the November indictment, which was unsealed Monday.

Luft, 57, is a fugitive, prosecutors said. He was arrested on the charges in Cyprus in February but fled after having posted bail.

In recent months, Luft has made headlines by alleging in so-far unsubstantiated public statements promoted by House Republicans that the Biden family received payments from Chinese nationals tied to Chinese intelligence and that Hunter Biden, the president's son, had a mole inside the FBI.

"He is very credible," House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer, R-Ky., told Newsmax last week.

Comer stood by that characterization in remarks to reporters Tuesday, while adding that he has never spoken to Luft.

Luft didn't respond to a request for comment.

Prosecutors allege he has been engaged in "multiple international criminal schemes" spanning several years.

"He subverted foreign agent registration laws in the United States to seek to promote Chinese policies by acting through a former high-ranking U.S. Government official; he acted as a broker in deals for dangerous weapons and Iranian oil; and he told multiple lies about his crimes to law enforcement," said Damian Williams, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York.

The indictment alleges he struck a $350,000-a-year deal with the head of a non-governmental organization affiliated with a Chinese energy company in 2015 to promote Chinese causes.

Luft was later tasked with working to "recruit" and "educate" a "former high-ranking U.S. Government official" to make public statements that were in China's interest for a fee, the indictment says. The official became "an adviser to the then President-elect," Donald Trump, in 2016, the indictment says.

The indictment, which identifies the former official only as "Individual-1," refers to pro-China articles written by James Woolsey.

Woolsey was the director of the CIA from 1993 to 1995 under President Bill Clinton, and he joined the Trump campaign as a senior adviser before the 2016 election and had a stint on the Trump transition team, public reporting shows.

A representative for Woolsey had no immediate comment.

Luft also "conspired with others and attempted to broker illicit arms transactions with, among others, certain Chinese individuals an certain Chinese individuals and entities" and foreign countries, including Libya, the United Arab Emirates and Kenya, prosecutors alleged.

The deals took place from 2014 to 2017, with munitions that included bombs, rockets and grenade launchers, the indictment says.

Luft also allegedly worked on a plan for China to buy Iranian oil, despite U.S. sanctions against Iran. The indictment says he instructed a co-conspirator to identify the oil as coming from Brazil, not Iran.

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