Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says China's New York consulate is a spy hub and warns more arrests could be made after Tibetan-born NYPD cop was charged with being a Chinese 'intelligence asset'
- Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the Trump administration was keeping tabs on Chinese diplomats in the United States
- He said China's New York consulate in Manhattan was a major spy hub
- It comes just days after NYPD officer Baimadajie Angwang, a naturalized US citizen from Tibet, was charged with being a spy for China
- A criminal complaint says he secretly worked for unnamed handlers from the Chinese Consulate in New York
- China has said the allegations are a 'pure fabrication'
Pompeo told the New York Post on Thursday that the Trump administration was keeping tabs on Chinese diplomats in the United States and there could potentially be more arrests.
'They're engaged in activities where they're crossing the line from normal diplomacy to the kinds of things that would be more akin to what spies are doing,' Pompeo said.
'Remember, not only do we have Chinese consulates here, but there's a UN facility, too.
'So if we're talking about New York, we not only have the Chinese Consulate in New York - that is the bilateral consulate - they also have a large contingent of Chinese diplomats here for United Nations work.'
His comments came just days after NYPD officer Baimadajie Angwang, a naturalized US citizen from Tibet, was charged with being an 'intelligence asset' for the Chinese government.
Angwang allegedly agreed to spy on US supporters of the Tibetan independence movement since 2018 as an agent for China in its effort to suppress the movement, according to a criminal complaint filed in Brooklyn federal court on Monday.
It says he secretly worked for unnamed handlers from the Chinese Consulate in New York.
China has said the allegations are a 'pure fabrication'.
When asked if there were any other cases like the one involving Angwang, Pompeo told the Post: 'Absolutely'.
'As you've seen, not just the case with the NYPD officer this past week, we've seen multiple cases being prosecuted by the Department of Justice and we're confident that they will continue to pursue this and I would expect that there will be more to follow,' he said.
There was no allegation that Angwang compromised national security or New York Police Department operations.
Still, he was considered 'the definition of an insider threat,' William Sweeney, head of the FBI's New York office, said.
Court papers say Angwang's job as a spy for China was to 'locate potential intelligence sources' and 'identify potential threats to the (People's Republic of China) in the New York metropolitan area.'
He also was expected to provide consulate officials 'access to senior NYPD officials through invitations to official NYPD events,' they add.
Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said the indictment against Angwang was full of hedging terms such as 'seems' and 'possibly,' giving the appearance that prosecutors were straining to make their case.
Angwang has been suspended from the NYPD's 111th precinct in Queens. The 33-year-old also serves in the US Army Reserve where he holds the rank of staff sergeant. He's stationed at Fort Dix, New Jersey in an Airborne Civil Affairs battalion.
Angwang raised suspicions of his alleged illegal activity while at a party attended by Rep Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in February 2019.
A photo shared by Ocasio-Cortez at the time, shows her sitting next to Angwang and a woman holding a child at a table inside a Woodside, Queens community center.
'Losar Tashi Delek! Spent this morning with our NY-14 Tibetan community to celebrate Lunar New Year,' the congresswoman wrote.
'This little one and I were playing with giving each other Tibetan white scarves, or Khatas, which are auspicious tokens given to honor others on holidays and special occasions. We had so much fun!'
It is not clear what sparked the suspicion.