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Report: China and Iran Use Private Detectives To Target Dissidents in America

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China and Iran are hiring private detectives in America to unwittingly monitor regime dissidents, says a New York Times report.

The Time revealed that New York private detective Michael McKeever had been hired by Iranian intelligence agents “in connection with an alleged plot to kidnap Masih Alinejad, a prominent Iranian-American journalist” who criticized violations of the human rights by Iran.

McKeever, who believed he was working for an international client to track down a debtor, watched Alinejad at her home until the FBI informed her that he was working for “bad people”.

“We were afraid that they would seek to snatch and grab her, bring her home and probably kill her,” said James E. Dennehy, FBI Bureau Chief in Newark, NJ. Time.

Such schemes have taken place across the country, according to the Time. While the FBI has confirmed that McKeever cooperated with authorities and is not charged with wrongdoing, other investigators, like retired NYPD Sergeant Michael McMahon, have landed in hot water for their role. in foreign intelligence operations.

McMahon was arrested in 2020 for participating in a Chinese-coordinated plot to hunt down a Chinese citizen living legally in New Jersey and attempt to pressure him to return to the country. While McMahon insists he had no idea his client was Chinese intelligence, federal prosecutors accuse him of being a central part of the scheme and knowing his client was the Chinese regime.

Bruce Hoffman, terrorism expert at the Council on Foreign Relations, told the Time private detectives offer foreign regimes the ability to easily and inexpensively conduct operations against dissidents while protecting intelligence agents from harm.

“That strikes me as low-cost, low-risk state terrorism in the 21st century,” Hoffman said.

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