Sen. Marco Rubio, Florida Republican, on Wednesday said the Chinese Consulate in Houston is basically a front for a massive spy operation after the State Department ordered the consulate to close.
“So this consulate is basically a front. … It’s kind of [the] central node of a massive spy operation — commercial espionage, defense espionage — also influence agents to try to influence Congress,” Mr. Rubio, the acting chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, said on Fox Business Network.
Mr. Rubio said the closure was “long overdue.”
The State Department said the move was necessary to protect U.S. intellectual property and private information.
China condemned the move and hinted that there could be retaliation.
Mr. Rubio predicted that China would close one of the U.S. facilities in China as a response.
The Justice Department on Tuesday announced charges against Chinese hackers suspected of trying to steal information from private companies on a potential coronavirus vaccine.