The report was recently published by Strider Technologies, a strategic intelligence firm based out of Salt Lake City. The firm reported the systemic effort by the Chinese government to place Chinese scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, where America first developed nuclear weapons. Many of the scientists were later lured back to China to help make advances in such technologies as deep-earth-penetrating warheads, hypersonic missiles, quiet submarines and drones.
The Los Alamos lab is one of the largest scientific and technological institutions in the world. Its scientists conduct a ton of research for the military and other aspects of American national security. These scientists also do a lot of research on space exploration, nuclear fusion, nanotechnology and supercomputing. (Related: Russia, China make stunning advances in anti-satellite drone swarms, laser weapons to win space war.)
According to Strider, the 162 scientists were hired by the CCP over the last 35 years and many of them went on to do high-level military research. At least one scientist who now works for Beijing previously held Top Secret security clearance for the Department of Energy.
The scientists were paid as much as $1 million through their participation in "talent programs" organized by the CCP. These programs were designed to recruit Chinese scientists working overseas to return to China.
Greg Levesque, the co-founder of Strider and lead author of the report, noted that the talent transfer program "poses a direct threat to U.S. national security."
"China is playing a game that we are not prepared for, and we need to really begin to mobilize," he added.
Strider is only the latest firm to sound the alarm over the dangers of these brain drain programs. Current and former U.S. intelligence officials alike said the Strider report shows how the Chinese government has been using talent transfer programs to acquire crucial technology to help build up its military capabilities.
Of the 113 Los Alamos postdoctoral researchers and permanent staff members who now work for the CCP, more than 79 percent of them were selected to participate in talent programs. These researchers are now contributing directly to the advancement of the CCP's weapons technologies, including the development of jet engines, warheads, unmanned vehicles, stealth submarines and the CCP's hypersonics program.
One such researcher is Chen Shiyi, currently the president of the Southern University of Science and Technology in Guangdong, China. Chen was a postdoctoral researcher at Los Alamos from 1987 to 1990 and returned to work for the Chinese government in 2005.
Through Chen and the network of returning researchers he was able to cultivate, at least 25 other people have gone on to work advancing Chinese military technology. This includes Zhao Yusheng, who worked on researching deep-earth penetrating warheads in the U.S. government with a $19.8 million taxpayer-funded grant. Zhao is now affiliated with the Chinese Academy of Engineering Physics, which is the CCP's primary organization for conducting research on nuclear and other weapons.
"No one can say this is not a national security issue," remarked Bill Evanina, who worked as a top counterintelligence official for the federal government from 2014 to 2021. "Because from hypersonics to acoustical capabilities and to warheads, we are perpetrating the ability for adversaries to utilize weapons against us. And that is hard for any American to swallow."
Watch this episode of "Evolutionary Energy Arts" going into detail about the CCP infiltration at the Los Alamos lab.