Jared Kushner received a warning from U.S. counterintelligence officials last year that his friendship with Chinese-American businesswoman Wendi Deng Murdoch could be used by the Chinese government to its advantage.
Citing officials privy to the issue, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday that there were concerns that Murdoch, a U.S. citizen and ex-wife of News Corp. founder Rupert Murdoch, could seek to push the interests of the Chinese government. Incidentally, News Corp. owns the Wall Street Journal.
One particular concern was a $100 million China-funded garden project at the National Arboretum in Washington, D.C., which has reportedly been declared a national security risk due to a tall tower that can potentially be used for surveillance.
According to the report, the officials noted that such warnings are not particularly unusual. Kushner, the senior advisor to his father-in-law, President Donald Trump, was given the warning to make sure that he is advised of people who may potentially be promoting interests against the U.S.
A representative for Murdoch said that she “has no knowledge of any FBI concerns or other intelligence agency concerns relating to her or her associations.” She also denied any knowledge of such garden projects funded by the Chinese government.
Asked about Deng during a briefing on Tuesday, a Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman said that “certain people in the US should stop creating problems when none exists.”
Kushner and Ivanka Trump confirmed the interaction with the officials via a spokesperson, describing it as a “routine senior staff security briefing.” The statement pointed out that none of the people mentioned have been accused of any wrongdoing.
It was not reported why Murdoch was apparently singled out in their warning to Kushner or why she was suspected of working for the Chinese government in the first place. It is also worth noting that there have been a number of Chinese Americans in the past who have been falsely accused of working for China.