Jay Davis, Livermore
I have read with a mixture of humor and despair the many letters you have recently published attacking Congressman Eric Swalwell - nothing is as sad as reading the thoughts of those who know nothing about the subject on which they write so passionately.
For decades, I held national security and intelligence clearances. As a working scientist, I traveled during the Cold War unescorted in the Soviet Union, East Germany, and Latvia. Later, as an arms control inspector and director of a defense agency, I traveled in Russia, Ukraine, Poland, and Iraq. In those environments, I was occasionally inappropriately accosted by young women making ambiguous offers and by men looking for “unique technical collaborative opportunities.”
The solution in all these cases is simple: disengage politely and move on.
It beggars the imagination that any member of Congress has not had the same briefings and training that we had at the laboratory and the Department of Defense. Certainly, those on the House Intelligence Committee who are obvious targets, would likely get the graduate course.
Congressman Swalwell, as a former prosecutor, surely got honors in his class on this subject. Some of his peers across the aisle in the House refuse such briefings, I presume from fear of ‘deep state’ manipulation. Their ignorance frequently shows in the lack of sophistication in discussion of these issues and risks.
In this particular case, the young woman in question, despite appearing as a student, was almost certainly appropriately identified. The path was then run back up to her controller, the right questions asked, and she speedily returned to China, exactly the desired result. The object is not to bray to the media to create a partisan political issue, but to let the other side know that we noticed, we acted, and that we are watching.
I believe ‘The Swalwell Incident’ counts as a success. The Congressman’s silence and lack of defensiveness are proof of that.