- Drew Angerer/Getty Images
- US intelligence last year warned Jared Kushner, the senior adviser to President Donald Trump, that his close friend Wendi Deng Murdoch could be a Chinese spy, The Wall Street Journal reported Monday.
- The US regularly briefs new administrations on possible foreign agents they associate with, and China’s business interactions with the US are often examined as possible national security threats.
- Michael Wolff, the author of an explosive but questionable tell-all on the Trump administration, said Murdoch had been rumored to be a spy for years.
US intelligence officials apparently once warned Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, that one of his close friends could be a Chinese agent.
The friend, Wendi Deng Murdoch, a Chinese-American who kept her surname after being married to the media mogul Rupert Murdoch for 14 years, is a prominent businesswoman.
According to The Wall Street Journal, Kushner was warned early last year that Murdoch could be using her friendship with him and his wife, Ivanka Trump, to “further the interests of the Chinese government.”
Murdoch, The Journal said, was previously believed to have lobbied for a planned $100 million Chinese garden at the National Arboretum in Washington, DC. The project, according to The Journal, was eventually blocked because officials feared a planned 70-foot tower could be used for surveillance.
The US intelligence community regularly briefs new administrations on possible ties to foreign agents, and the US frequently views Chinese investments into US companies and infrastructure with suspicion.
China, a political adversary to the US and a rising world power, stands accused by the US of forcing foreign firms to hand over technology and of protectionist practices that disproportionately favor Chinese companies.
Kushner, Ivanka Trump, and Murdoch have been friends for years and regularly appear in one another’s social-media posts. Murdoch posted this image of her and Ivanka Trump in January 2017:
A representative for Kushner said the couple had “been friends with Rupert and Wendi Murdoch for a decade before coming to Washington and their relationship is neither political nor about China.”
But Michael Wolff, the author of an explosive and sometimes questionable tell-all about Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and early presidency, tweeted a different response to the story.
“Since their divorce, Murdoch has been telling anybody who would listen that Wendi is a Chinese spy–and had been throughout the marriage,” Wolff wrote.
A spokesman for Murdoch told The Journal that she “has no knowledge of any FBI concerns or other intelligence agency concerns relating to her or her associations.”