Velcro, beards, bacon eater patches, and lots of guns. It was another typical affair at the SHOT show in Las Vegas yesterday. After cruising around and linking up with some friends at the Paris casino, our group of ten or so took some seats in one of the many lounges scattered around the floor, sandwiched between slot machines and gaudy handbag shops. I was just happy to be spending time with the SOFREP writers, including James Powell and our resident East Asia expert who writes as The Odyssean.
Several tables away, a young lady sat by herself, almost as if she was waiting for someone. Her, um, assets were literally impossible to miss. I will struggle through this entire article to not make inappropriate jokes about her endowments however, the picture speaks for itself. While we talked shop, perhaps a half dozen men approached this young woman, attempting to make conversation. One by one they were all shot down.
“She looks Korean,” one of our party commented.
“Nope,” I replied. “Chinese.”
She was showing off, but I doubted that she was a working woman. Rather, I figured she must be a member of the world’s second oldest profession.
Finally, one of the guys got up and somehow talked her into coming over sit down with us. Playing hard to get, she came over but didn’t want to sit down, acting shy and bashful. It wasn’t a very convincing act. Eventually she took a seat and I struck up a conversation. The name she gave us was Summer.
“So what brings you to Las Vegas?” I asked.
“Um,” she hesitated and looked away. “Holiday.”
“Oh, okay. Is this your first time in Vegas?”
“No, I usually come in January.”
Well, look at that. She comes to Vegas at the time of the SHOT show every year, America’s largest trade show for weapons and military equipment. As it turned out, she also came to Vegas to attend CES, the International Consumer Electronics Show. Shocking.
When she got up to use the bathroom, I turned to one of my buddies and said, “you know this girl meets the criteria for every motif for what we know about Chinese spies?” Chinese intelligence operations function very differently than the way organizations like the CIA and MI6 work. We train our spies in trade craft and deploy them around the world under official or non-official cover. They then try to compromise high ranking military officers and state officials, flipping them and turning them into intelligence assets.
China leverages their significant population of over one billion people as a weapon against the rest of the world. Mainland Chinese collect open source information and then report that information back to various state organs who than correlate it using library science and then distribute it to the various Chinese agencies which can make use of it. It is interesting to note, that in China information and intelligence are interchangeable terms. I wrote about Chinese intelligence methodology in a previous article. I may sound paranoid but if you know that the Chinese approach to intelligence gathering is not at all a mirror of Western intelligence services, it was quite clear who Summer was and what she represented.
My friend, who builds drones for a living, laughed and agreed about Summer. “You know, this is how the Europeans felt when Henry Ford started building cars,” he said.
The European prospective was once centered around highly skilled artisans who produce a few products a year. Meanwhile, America was producing on an industrial scale. Today, it is America that is being outdone as China produces a super-abundance. The Chinese government using their entire population to gather information is one aspect of that abundance.
Summer came back from the bathroom and sat back down next to me. Two ninety year old men were strolling by and literally stopped in their tracks as they spotted Summer. They looked with a thousand yard stare as if they were looking directly into the sun or maybe having a flashback to Guadalcanal.
“So you come to Vegas every January,” I said, picking up on our conversation and circling back around on some key information.
She made a face, hesitated, but didn’t answer. She was a amateur with no trade craft training. This is typical of Chinese espionage. They send out an English speaker to trade shows to rub up on industry CEO’s and listen to what they talk about, a form of industrial espionage. Summer clearly knew her audience, and dressed appropriately in order to target it.
It was getting late, and frankly, I was tired of Summer’s bullshit. I told her that me and some of the guys were taking off and going home.
“No, no, why are you going?” she asked. All of a sudden she became very flirty, trying to convince us to stay with the group. It was time to pop smoke. We left Summer with the other guys and hopped a cab home. Arriving back at our rental, James and I laughed about the entire incident.
“No way Madam Butterfly,” James who is a former CIA officer said. “You ain’t getting shit from me!”
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