- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Rep. Liz Cheney is urging the Justice Department to investigate potential Russian and Chinese influence operations at nongovernmental organizations focused on energy and environmental policy.

The Wyoming Republican wrote to Attorney General William P. Barr this month to request that he probe the political and legal activism of various environmental groups whose policy priorities neatly align with America’s adversaries.

“Environmental groups such as the Sierra Club and the National Resources Defense Council, whose anti-fracking agendas align with the Kremlin’s, are low-hanging fruit for Russian influence or support efforts in the United States,” Ms. Cheney wrote in the letter shared by her staff on Wednesday. “The Chinese Communist Party (CCP), like the Russian government, also engages in extensive influence operations. … Malign influence efforts by Russia or China, whether related to U.S. energy policy or politics, are a threat to this nation and must be combatted,” she added.

Ms. Cheney, House Republican Conference chair, cited the NRDC’s presence in China and work with CCP officials alongside their litigation against the U.S. Navy and their “dozens of lawsuits” against the Trump administration as cause for concern.

Such concerns are growing in Washington about malign foreign influence operations at nongovernmental organizations and think tanks.

FBI special agent Matthew O’Brien, a private sector coordinator in the Washington Field Office, previously told The Washington Times that the FBI discovered Chinese, Iranian and Russian adversaries attempting to breach think tanks’ networks, monitor their work, and watch their interaction with the U.S. government.

• Ryan Lovelace can be reached at rlovelace@washingtontimes.com.

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