The Department of Education (DoED) is conducting an investigation into foreign governments funding U.S. universities, and they have found that governments such as Russia, China and Qatar have given them a staggering $1.3 billion.
These are the preliminary findings in an ongoing investigation into six different universities, and Education Secretary Betsy Devos believes that much more money could be discovered before the investigation concludes.
“It is already a reporting requirement for schools to report all foreign contributions. From my perspective, it’s a simple requirement: Report all foreign money you get.” DeVos told the Washington Examiner.
“We’re going to continue to raise the flag on this, and we think, just given what we’ve seen scratching the surface, there’s a lot there that has gone undetected,” she added.
Devos believes that this is an urgent national security issue that must be addressed and resolved.
“We’re raising this issue and letting schools know that we’re going to be paying attention in ways that hasn’t happened before,” she said.
The universities under review include the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Texas A&M, Cornell, the University of Maryland, Georgetown, and Rutgers. Acting general counsel Reed Rubinstein called the initial findings very “disturbing” in a letter to the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, the Education Department.
The country that appears to be most involved in funding universities is China, which has been recently implicated in a plot that has planted moles throughout the U.S. bureaucracy and yielded a treasure trove of sensitive intel about their chief geopolitical rival.
“One university received research funding from a Chinese multinational conglomerate to develop new algorithms and advance biometric security techniques for crowd surveillance capabilities,” Rubinstein said.
Investigators have discovered that five of the six universities they are studying had contact with Huawei, the telecommunications giant based in China that deemed a national security threat. One university even had multiple contacts with the Chinese Communist Party’s Central Committee while another university took gifts from a foundation “suspected of acting as a propaganda and influence front.”
While China may be the worst offender, the investigation also found that Russia and Qatar have been conducting similar operations to influence U.S. universities with foreign cash. One university had a relationship with Kaspersky Lab, a cybersecurity company with suspected ties to Russian intelligence that the Trump administration has banned from being a federal contractor.
Rubinstein points to court documents indicating that Qatar donations are conducted for the explicit purpose of peddling influence, and secrecy is often tied to any agreement.
“Apparently, similar provisions are often part of foreign money agreements,” Rubinstein wrote. “Unfortunately, the Department cannot confirm whether donors and recipients use such provisions to justify nonreporting and nondisclosure of foreign source donations to the U.S. government and the American taxpayers.”
The investigation has also uncovered that “one university accepted funds from the arts of a foreign government to create an ‘academic’ center expressly for the dissemination of propaganda and to conduct other ‘soft power’ information activities,” although the specific country was not named.
“The evidence we have reviewed to date tracks congressional findings that American colleges and universes have provided unprecedented access to foreign governments, corporations, and persons without adequate oversight,” Rubinstein said.
Sens. Rob Portman (R-OH) and Tom Carper (D-DE) are aware of the problem and has released a bipartisan 109-page report stating that foreign countries “seek to exploit America’s openness to advance their own national interests” and “the most aggressive of them has been China.” They point to China’s Thousand Talents Program as particularly pernicious and dangerous to U.S. interests.
“China unfairly uses the American research and expertise it obtains for its own economic and military gain,” they said.
“These failures continue to undermine the integrity of the American research enterprise and endanger our national security,” the subcommittee’s senators said.
Sinaloa Cartel Suspects Arrested at Border for Carrying $3.5 Million in Cash and Massive Amounts of Cocaine and Fentanyl
Drug Cartels Will Have a Field Day During a Biden Administration
On November 24, 2020, the Justice Department published a press release on how three Mexican citizens suspected of trafficking enormous quantities of illegal drugs for the Sinaloa Cartel received charges in federal court. This case is likely the biggest seizure of ammunition, cash, and narcotics in the district.
Jesus Burgos Arias, Juan Alatorre Venegas, and Jose Yee Perez were arrested on November 20, 2020. This arrest was the product of a joint investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration, Homeland Security Investigations, the San Diego Sheriff’s Department, San Diego Police Department, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of California, that set its sights on individuals connected to the Sinaloa Cartel.
During these arrests, agents confiscated roughly $3.5 million in cash, 685 kilograms of cocaine, 24 kilograms of fentanyl, and about 20,000 rounds of .50 caliber ammunition and hundreds of body armor vests at a truck yard in Otay Mesa.
In a complaint filed in federal court, the defendants received a drug trafficking conspiracy charge. The defendants were transferred from the San Diego Central Jail to federal custody and made their first appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Barbara L. Major.
“This historic seizure and prosecution is a clear indication of the success of our joint investigative efforts,” declared U.S. Attorney Robert Brewer. “To eradicate this threat to San Diego and our partners in the Republic of Mexico, we will continue to aggressively attack the Sinaloa Cartel’s drug smuggling, money laundering, and arms smuggling operations – depriving them of their illegal merchandise, their profits, and a safe haven.” Brewer gave praise to prosecutor Matthew J. Sutton and the federal and local agents and officers for their diligence in this case.
“Thanks to the collaborative work with our state and federal law enforcement partners, we are able to announce this blow to the Mexican Cartels operating in San Diego,” remarked DEA Special Agent in Charge John W. Callery. “We are further encouraged that we were able to separate them from their dangerous .50 caliber ammunition and over $3 million in drug proceeds that they have gained through selling death here in our community and throughout the US.”
“This seizure is significant not just because of its size, but because it demonstrates the direct correlation between narcotics, illicit money, and guns that drives violence in our communities and destroys lives,” stated Homeland Security Investigation (HSI) Special Agent in Charge Cardell T. Morant. “HSI will continue to work with our law enforcement partners and prosecutors to aggressively pursue the Sinaloa Cartel and other transnational criminal organizations.”
“The Sheriff’s Department is committed in working with our justice partners throughout the region to combat the dangerous drugs and violence associated with narcotic trafficking,” commented San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore. “Sheriff’s deputies see the destruction and damage that illegal drugs cause every day. We are proud of what this case has accomplished, and the continued work being done to hold these criminals accountable.”
The Southern District of California led an investigation over the past five years that resulted in the aforementioned case being brought forward. The overall investigation has brought charges against over 125 people and has greatly affected the global operations of the Sinaloa Cartel.
The investigation started in late 2011 when authorities busted a small-scale drug distribution cell in National City and Chula Vista. After substantial investigation, law enforcement discovered that the Sinaloa Cartel was involved and the case morphed into a massive investigation that crossed state and national lines. The broader case led to dozens of arrests and seizures of 1,397 kilograms of methamphetamine, 2,214 kilograms of cocaine, 17.2 tons of marijuana, 95.84 kilograms of heroin, and $27,892,706 in drug-related funds.
With the Biden administration coming into power, similar cases will abound as it becomes clear that border security will become an afterthought during a Biden presidency.
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