Houston Consulate Closure Deterred China, But Not Before it Meddled With Vaccine Efforts: U.S. Intel Sources

The decision to close China’s diplomatic outpost in Houston appears to have deterred further meddling in America’s COVID-19 vaccine research – but not before the U.S. paid a price.

U.S. News and World Report
Date: July 31, 2020
By: Paul D. Shinkman, Senior Writer, National Security 

The Chinese flag flies at the Chinese consulate, July 22, 2020, in Houston, Texas.(MARK FELIX/AFP/GETTY IMAGES)

CHINA'S ESPIONAGE effort to recruit American scientists and steal U.S. medical research using its consulate in Houston succeeded in its partial goal of slowing down the U.S. ability to develop a COVID-19 vaccine, according to a previously undisclosed U.S. intelligence report, which also assesses that Beijing does not appear interested in escalating the incident – at least for now – after the Trump administration shuttered the diplomatic outpost last week.

The consulate in Houston had become a central hub for collecting and analyzing information on biomedical research that Chinese spies were stealing and procuring in a broader attempt to obtain federally funded research, according to a source familiar with the assessment who spoke with U.S. News on the condition of anonymity. The campaign to steal information not only benefited China's own attempts to develop a vaccine to the coronavirus, but it undermined U.S. efforts to reach that monumental breakthrough by potentially corrupting its existing data.    [FULL  STORY]