U.S. officials report that Chinese individuals, sometimes posing as tourists, have gained unauthorized access to military bases and sensitive sites in the United States, raising concerns of potential espionage. These individuals, referred to as “gate-crashers,” have attempted to enter U.S. military installations without proper authorization, often in remote areas where tourism is minimal. Their actions appear designed to test security practices at these sites and may involve individuals who report back to the Chinese government.
This trend has become more concerning amid increasing tensions between the U.S. and China. The incidents highlight fears that Beijing is employing nontraditional methods to gather intelligence on U.S. soil. While some trespassing cases are benign, involving individuals who claim to be lost or following navigation apps, others have raised suspicions, including instances of individuals attempting to access on-base facilities by claiming to have hotel reservations.
This issue has led to discussions in Congress about potential legislation to address the problem, given that most trespassing laws are state and local, rather than federal. It remains a challenge for U.S. authorities to address low-level Chinese intelligence collection activities, particularly because those caught often face minimal consequences.