- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 28, 2011

When Vice President Joseph R. Biden met a group of five Chinese “think tank” experts in Beijing on Aug. 20, the meeting at the U.S. Embassy was billed in his official schedule as simply a round-table discussion with academics.

But a recent CIA report reveals the vice president was one of a long list of current and former U.S. and foreign officials who exchanged information with Cui Liru, one of the five experts identified as a longtime Ministry of State Security (MSS) intelligence officer working undercover as the head of China’s most important intelligence-analysis group.

Mr. Cui is head of the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, known as CICIR (pronounced “kicker”). CICIR has a long history of supplying information to the CIA through agency-paid U.S. consultants who are dispatched yearly to CICIR’s offices in Beijing for discussions, according to U.S. officials.

Some of CICIR’s disinformation designed to influence U.S. policies is said to have shown up in some agency intelligence products, according to officials familiar with the reports.

CICIR experts also were quoted frequently in leaked U.S. Embassy cables reporting from China as “academics.” Not all of the more than 100 cables mentioning the group, however, identify the institute as “MSS-affiliated.”

**FILE** U.S. Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. (left), U.S. Ambassador to China Gary Locke (second from left) and Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi (right) talk after Biden's arrival at the Capital International Airport in Beijing on Aug. 17, 2011. (Associated Press)
**FILE** U.S. Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. (left), U.S. Ambassador to ... more >

A spokesmen for Mr. Biden and Wang Baodong, a Chinese Embassy spokesman, did not respond to email requests for comment.

Report shows intel link

The new report by the Open Source Center at CIA headquarters states that CICIR is so close to the ruling Chinese Communist Party that it is reported to be the Eighth Bureau of the Ministry of State Security, the notorious Chinese equivalent to the Soviet KGB political police and intelligence service.

CICIR has provided intelligence collection support to the MSS and the Foreign Affairs Leading Group (FALG), the [Communist Party of China’s] top foreign-policy body,” the Aug. 25 report says.

The intelligence organ played a major role in providing analysis for communist leaders on the Arab Spring uprisings in the Middle East since late 2010 and also recently set up a “terrorism research” center.

However, most of CICIR’s work involves spying on the United States and providing analysis, some of it secret. Charts in the report show that about 60 percent of CICIR’s research and publication efforts involve the United States.

In addition to publishing two journals and numerous books, the institute also publishes two “restricted-access” reports for Chinese civilian and military leaders.

Topics include U.S. policy on Taiwan, Obama administration cybersecurity strategy and U.S. changes in military deployments in the Persian Gulf.

The 34-page report includes a listing, gathered from CICIR’s website, of numerous current and former officials and with whom they met. Most included meetings with Mr. Cui.

A brief biography in the report states that Mr. Cui has been CICIR president since 2005. A notable previous assignment included a stint in New York as first secretary at China’s United Nations mission, a position that specialists on China say is normally reserved for MSS officers.

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