While serving as chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., had a driver who was investigated for spying for the communist Chinese government.
Politico Magazine reported that the staffer with Feinstein's San Francisco office was suspected of providing political intelligence to his handlers, though none of the information was classified.
A former intelligence official told author Zach Dorfman that the suspected informant was "run" by officials based at the local Chinese Consulate, Politico said.
A source familiar with the incident confirmed to San Francisco Chronicle columnists Phillip Matier and Andrew Ross that the FBI alerted Feinstein about five years ago that her driver was being investigated for possible Chinese spying.
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Along with driving duties, the staffer was a gofer and a liaison to the Asian American community. He even attended Chinese Consulate functions for the senator.
The Chronicle's source said that during a trip to Asia to visit relatives, the staffer was connected to someone with the People's Republic of China’s Ministry of State Security.
The contact stayed in touch on subsequent visits.
The Feinstein staffer "didn’t even know what was happening — that he was being recruited."
"He just thought it was some friend."
The FBI interviewed the driver and concluded he had released nothing of substance.
Feinstein then forced him to retire, "and that was the end of it," the source said.
"None of her staff ever knew what was going on. They just kept it quiet."