GOP lawmaker calls on FBI to provide more info on former Feinstein staffer

GOP lawmaker calls on FBI to provide more info on former Feinstein staffer
© Anna Moneymaker

A GOP lawmaker is calling for the FBI to provide more details on a former staffer removed from Sen. Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinGrassley: Kavanaugh classmate didn't contact Senate panel Trump court pick sparks frustration for refusing to answer questions This week: Congress returns for first time since mass shootings MORE's (D-Calif.) home-state office after authorities discovered he was allegedly being recruited to be a Chinese spy.

In a letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray on Tuesday, Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.) called reports that Feinstein employed the aide years ago "very alarming" given her role as former chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee. 

"It has recently come to light that U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein, the former chair of the Senate Committee on Intelligence, employed a staff member who was using his position to secretly report information to the Ministry of State Security in China," Banks wrote.

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"Given the type of information Senator Feinstein had access to and China’s position as a top foreign adversary of the United States, this revelation is very alarming."

Banks said while the FBI did inform the California Democrat about the threat five years ago, there are still questions that remain unanswered. 

He requested the name of the staffer in question, the nature of the information sent to China, how long the staffer was under surveillance and whether any other employees were under surveillance in her office. 

"Critical to this effort is protecting sensitive intelligence information from foreign adversaries," he wrote. "It is imperative that those with access to this information exercise extreme diligence in guarding material that, if exposed, would present a danger to the national security of the United States."

According to a Politico Magazine story last month, former intelligence officials said a staff member at Feinstein's San Francisco field office was recruited by Chinese intelligence to report back to China about local politics. 

The San Francisco Chronicle reported earlier this month that the FBI showed up at Feinstein's office in Washington, D.C., about five years ago to alert the senator, then serving as chair of the Intelligence Committee, that the aide was being investigated for possible Chinese spying.

A source told the Chronicle that the unidentified aide drove Feinstein around when she was in the state and he worked in her San Francisco office as well as a liaison in the Asian-American community.

Feinstein issued a statement earlier this month acknowledging that she was approached by the FBI and that the staffer had been removed from her office.

“Five years ago the FBI informed me it had concerns that an administrative member of my California staff was potentially being sought out by the Chinese government to provide information,” Feinstein said in a statement reported by Fox News. “He was not a mole or a spy, but someone who a foreign intelligence service thought it could recruit.”

“He never had access to classified or sensitive information or legislative matters,” Feinstein said. “The FBI never informed me of any compromise of national security information.”