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Bugs On Jiang Zemin's 767-300ER  
User currently offlineBkkair From Thailand, joined Aug 2001, 409 posts, RR: 0
Posted (14 years 4 months 1 week 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 5828 times:

China Finds Bugs on Jet Refitted in U.S.

By John Pomfret
Washington Post Foreign Service
Saturday, January 19, 2002; page A1

BEIJING, Jan. 18 – Somewhere on a military airfield north of Beijing, China's presidential aircraft, a new Boeing 767-300ER with all the trimmings, sits unused with parts of its innards torn out.

Last October, days before its planned maiden voyage, Chinese military communications experts discovered numerous high-tech listening devices planted inside the plane, according to Chinese and Western sources, who said they had been told of this by Chinese military officers and aviation officials. The plane was grounded and has not been flown since it was delivered.

Chinese aviation officials and military officers have charged that U.S. intelligence agencies planted the bugs aboard the plane while it was being refitted in the United States, the sources said. The U.S. Embassy declined to comment on the allegations. Analysts said the devices were highly sophisticated.

A CIA spokesman, Bill Harlow, declined to comment on the report, saying, "We never comment on allegations like these, as a matter of policy."

The story behind the immobile Boeing jet offers a tantalizing glimpse of modern spycraft. A Chinese source, with close ties to China's military intelligence services, said members of the Third Department of the General Staff Department of the People's Liberation Army discovered the devices. The Third Department deals in signals intelligence.

The Chinese source said that, to date, 27 listening devices had been found, including devices in the presidential bathroom and in the headboard of the presidential bed.

A Western executive and a Western diplomat said they had been told by Chinese aviation sources that the devices were highly sophisticated. The diplomat said they "had to be triggered by a satellite communication. In that sense, they were very advanced."

U.S. sources have said the controversy over the plane is emerging as an issue in the summit meeting between President Bush and President Jiang Zemin scheduled for Feb. 21 in Beijing. Chinese analysts said the incident confirms their fears that the United States is an untrustworthy partner and continues to treat China as an enemy.

After the listening devices were discovered, Western sources said, 20 Chinese air force officers and two officials from China Air Supply Import & Export Corp., which was involved in negotiations for the jet, were detained. Chinese sources said they were being investigated for negligence and for corruption – the American firms were paid about $10 million for the refitting job but China doled out $30 million.

In addition, a senior air force officer is under a form of house arrest for his role in the affair. The officer has previously purchased planes for government officials through the auspices of China United Airlines, owned by the Chinese air force, which also had a piece of the transaction in question. A top officer of the Bodyguards Bureau of the General Staff Department of the People's Liberation Army, has also been criticized for tolerating the lax security, the sources said.

The China Air Supply Import & Export Corp. and China United Airlines declined to comment on the situation.

It is unclear how the episode could affect Boeing, which in September signed a $2 billion deal to sell planes to China.

More broadly, Western diplomats said they believed Washington and Beijing would weather the dispute. "This kind of thing is to be expected," said a Chinese security expert, who noted that relations between Washington and Moscow were not seriously disrupted by disclosures in the 1980s that the Soviets had bugged the new U.S. Embassy. The expert added, "Even if our relations were excellent, we would still spy on each other."

China purchased the Boeing 767-300ER in June 2000 for $120 million, a Chinese source said. An executive at Delta Airlines said the Chinese were so eager to obtain a top-of-the-line 767 that Delta allowed China to assume its contractual responsibilities for one plane about to come off Boeing's assembly line in Seattle.

China's state-run media, which dubbed the plane Air Force One, reported the sale in August of that year. Several reports, including one that appeared in the Guangzhou Daily, a mass circulation newspaper in that southern metropolis, said the plane had already been brought to China for refitting.

In fact, the plane had been sent to the San Antonio International Airport for refitting by several aircraft maintenance firms, including Dee Howard Aircraft Maintenance Lp, Gore Design Completions Ltd., Rockwell Collins Inc. and Avitra Aviation Services Ltd., a Singapore firm, according to companies that worked on the contract. The job was worth less than $10 million, an industry source said, and work continued during a very tense period in U.S.-Chinese relations following the April 1, 2001, collision between a U.S. reconnaissance aircraft and a Chinese jet off the coast of southern China.

In a report about the refitting work published last September, the San Antonio Express-News quoted Earl Parker, a project manager for Avitra, as saying the plane was not a "plain Jane, like [U.S.] Air Force One." Parker told the newspaper the plane was refitted to accommodate about 100 people in beige leather chairs that could be converted into beds. Larger, one-hour oxygen canisters replaced the 20-minute type used on most aircraft. And the new presidential suite consisted of a bedroom, sitting room and a bath with a shower. The firms also added a 48-inch television set, satellite communications, anti-missile defense systems and advanced avionics.

Chinese security guards provided round-the-clock security for the plane while it was being refitted, the newspaper said.

How the listening devices got on board the plane is a mystery. Phil O'Connor, a vice president at Dee Howard Aircraft Maintenance of San Antonio, said today was the first time he he had heard of the allegations.

Robert Sanchez, chief operations officer at Gore Design Completions, also of San Antonio, said he did not believe the allegations.

"We had an excellent relationship with every Chinese official who worked on this project," he said. "We're not in the business of doing things like this." A Rockwell Collins spokeswoman said the company would have no comment.

Work was completed on the plane in August and it was flown to China on Aug. 10, stopping in Honolulu. A group of American workers and their families accompanied the plane as guests of the Chinese government, Sanchez said.

"The Chinese were very happy with the aircraft and with the work we did. They took the workers to the Great Wall and showed them around," said Sanchez. "Why would any of these corporations or workers consider that, if they knew anything about this?"

Western diplomats and executives learned of the case in mid-October when Chinese officials they normally did business with did not appear for meetings. Chinese friends and colleagues informed them that the officials had been arrested, they said.

The arrests occurred in China about the time that Jiang was supposed to take his maiden voyage in the jet to attend the summit of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in Shanghai. Jiang flew to the meeting on another airplane.

Sanchez said Chinese government officials have not contacted his firm about the problems. He also said that Chinese aviation officials said they wanted Gore to work on three additional VIP aircraft.

"We're technical, not political," Sanchez said. "This incident is not going to hurt the U.S. government; it's not going to hurt the government of China. It's only going to hurt the firms. "

For years, China has worried that Western governments, using Western companies, would use high-tech products to compromise China's security. China spent millions of dollars protecting the new headquarters of the Foreign Affairs Ministry from listening devices that could potentially be mounted in office buildings nearby, a Chinese security source said.

Last year, the People's Daily, the official Communist Party newspaper, carried an editorial in which it SAID the import of high-tech products from the West constituted a security risk because Western governments would place secret codes or technical Trojan horses inside the products to collect intelligence.

Staff writer Thomas E. Ricks in Washington contributed to this report.

46 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
User currently offlineTwa902fly From United States of America, joined Dec 1999, 3203 posts, RR: 4
Reply 1, posted (14 years 4 months 1 week 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 5643 times:

Wow that is freaking crazy. If it is true, then there goes China's trust of the United States. That would suck, to have a powerful relationship ruined because of an airplane. I hope China doesn't thing Boeing is against China as well...


life wasn't worth the balance, or the crumpled paper it was written on
User currently offlineFlyinghighboy From Australia, joined Aug 2001, 749 posts, RR: 1
Reply 2, posted (14 years 4 months 1 week 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 5634 times:

Does the US really underestimate their Chinese counterpart that much?

User currently offlineJiml1126 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 3, posted (14 years 4 months 1 week 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 5631 times:

Because most American Republicans think China is a threat to them.

User currently offlineCPDC10-30 From United States of America, joined Feb 2000, 4992 posts, RR: 22
Reply 4, posted (14 years 4 months 1 week 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 5613 times:

Well, I'm not that surprised the least. That is the risk you run when you are buying from a rival.

User currently offlineFlyinghighboy From Australia, joined Aug 2001, 749 posts, RR: 1
Reply 5, posted (14 years 4 months 1 week 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 5601 times:

I know they see China as a threat but really, putting bugs on a plane and expecting that they won't find it at all.

User currently offlineBobcat From United States of America, joined Jun 2007, 0 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (14 years 4 months 1 week 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 5597 times:

Remember what the French intelligence
service did not too long ago?(think it was
lat 80s or early/mid-90s) They bugged
seats on American AND French
commercial airliners... mostly
first/business class seats. It was alleged
that they recorded sensitive conversations
of American business executives. The
material was turned over to the French
firms that had business dealings with
these American companies. Espionage
is not limited to military intelligence...
On the other hand, those American
businessmen were idiots also...

Back to the China story... they DO
execute people for corruption, let alone
espionage. There's no hard proof that
the CIA had anything to do it. It could
also have been carried out by the
Russians, Japanese, Taiwanese, and
possibly even people within the Chinese
governmet itself... In any case, I think
it was a dumb idea, since the bugs
would have been found one way or
another... If the bugs are as advanced,
sophisticated as the news reports says,
then I think the Chinese intelligence
service should consider them a bonus.
What better way to improve their
counterintelligence efforts by allowing
them to reverse-engineer those bugs?

Just my $.02 worth

User currently offlineKUGN From United States of America, joined Jul 2000, 615 posts, RR: 6
Reply 7, posted (14 years 4 months 1 week 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 5586 times:

Jim, we could also say that it was the Dems who gave away those bugs as freebies...

User currently offlineRyu2 From Taiwan, joined Aug 2002, 512 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (14 years 4 months 1 week 4 days 11 hours ago) and read 5571 times:

Maybe China will buy an Airbus for the presidential plane (Europe and especially France has always been more friendlier to China than the US, even during the best of times) Or maybe even a Ilyushin or Tupolev -- they bought a bunch of MiG 29s and Su-30s, so why stop there?  Smile

Food for thought...

User currently offlineCfalk From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 9, posted (14 years 4 months 1 week 4 days 11 hours ago) and read 5553 times:

I am amazed that so many of you are shocked by all of this! Big deal. Actually, I'm pretty sure that the Chinese would have felt pretty insulted if the U.S. had NOT tried to bug the plane. This kind of thing has been going on for a hundred years - ever since the invention of the microphone.

Anybody remember the U.S. Embassy the Soviets built in the 80's? It was filled with thousands of bugs, so many that the CIA did not feel it was possible to clean them all out. I don't think the building was ever used by the U.S. (someone confirm pls)

This is no big deal - business as usual.


User currently offlineSingapore_Air From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2000, 13756 posts, RR: 18
Reply 10, posted (14 years 4 months 1 week 4 days 10 hours ago) and read 5537 times:

Waaaaaaaaa! I wanted to be the first on this scoop!

Oh well

I don't find it surprising, but it is disturbing for their relationship. As Cfalk says, they probably feel flatterred and angry at the same time.

Oh well, nice plane. SHame the insides are torn out!

Anyone can fly, only the best Soar.
User currently offlineHkgspotter1 From Hong Kong, joined Nov 2005, 0 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (14 years 4 months 1 week 4 days 8 hours ago) and read 5510 times:

Its well known that the Americans listen in on Europe. Then take the ideas to give to American companies.

NO surprise.

User currently offlineTeva From France, joined Jan 2001, 1881 posts, RR: 15
Reply 12, posted (14 years 4 months 1 week 4 days 8 hours ago) and read 5499 times:

Special thanks to the US government to help Europe to sell more Airbus to China in the future...  Big thumbs up

Ecoute les orgues, Elles jouent pour toi...C'est le requiem pour un con
User currently offlineHkg_clk From Hong Kong, joined Jan 2001, 999 posts, RR: 2
Reply 13, posted (14 years 4 months 1 week 4 days 7 hours ago) and read 5478 times:

Could this whole thing be fake????

See my homepage for a comprehensive guide to spotting and photography at HKG
User currently offlineBoeingnut From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 14, posted (14 years 4 months 1 week 4 days 3 hours ago) and read 5437 times:

Yeah, this is big, but not THAT big. There have been a lot larger things on the China-US scope than this, and they have all passed after a few weeks and were soon forgotten.

As was said earlier, spying is VERY common on the highest levels of international relations. Building a jet for Jiang, they had to know that this was going to happen. Maybe Jiang was safer riding around on Air China 744s everywhere that he wanted to go.

This will NOT alienate Boeing from China. Far too much money going on there. Thats the same reason that the US and China have not had major problems recently (June 6, 1989 excluded). They have products we want, they sell them, they earn major money, they want to spend part of that major money on the guys who they earned it from to keep them happy, so they buy the Boeings from the US.

Heck, the US didn't get mad when Mao hit on Ford's daughter on one of his trips to Beijing. Read the Kissinger Transcripts by William Burr. Life goes on.

My .02


User currently offlineF-WWKH From Taiwan, joined Jun 1999, 326 posts, RR: 0
Reply 15, posted (14 years 4 months 1 week 4 days 3 hours ago) and read 5439 times:

As expected some brainwashed come up with some 'smart' ideas, chinese bugging themselves [lol]. I don't say this has not been an ongoing thing that went both ways but it is just outright embarassing for the US. And the chinese are smart, don't comment. Way to go, Uncle Sam!

User currently offlineRayChuang From United States of America, joined Jun 2000, 8361 posts, RR: 4
Reply 16, posted (14 years 4 months 1 week 4 days 2 hours ago) and read 5397 times:

Now I want to see if the Chinese government will take any number of A340-200's now being parked to be converted to a government plane.  Smile

User currently offlineHoffa From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 17, posted (14 years 4 months 1 week 4 days 2 hours ago) and read 5395 times:

Its no different from Airbus delivering each plane with frogmeat dripping from the overhead bins.

User currently offlineM27 From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 314 posts, RR: 0
Reply 18, posted (14 years 4 months 1 week 4 days 1 hour ago) and read 5383 times:

Hey, while your throwing all this crap around, when you don't have any Idea what happened, consider that maybe EADS had the bugs planted (if there were any) in order to promote sales to china. could even be Taiwan, heck, it could be just about anyone for thousands of reasons. It even seems like these "bugs" were meant to be found. Bobcat, I think you said it very well.

Hkgspotter1, I didn't know that it was well known that american compaines spy on European compaines and take their ideas. Tell me some of the people who know this. Who told you, Foregard or Leahy?

Some of you people are just blowing smoke to try to make The US look bad, which is normal and to be expected, because IT IS WELL KNOWN (quoting one of the previous posters) that some do this.

If a trade rift developed between China and the US, who would stand to profit the most? I guess I'm just naive, but I give the CIA more credit to do their job more correctly than it would appear this one was done.

Thank you all, I just had some smoke I wanted to blow also!

User currently offlineHoffa From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 19, posted (14 years 4 months 1 week 4 days 1 hour ago) and read 5376 times:

Trade rifts and wars do not start over minor diplomatic incidents.

If the CIA guys are smart, they will have used European or Russian bugging devices that are untraceable thus making it impossible to tell "whodunit".

User currently offlineM27 From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 314 posts, RR: 0
Reply 20, posted (14 years 4 months 1 week 4 days 1 hour ago) and read 5362 times:

I do apologize for spelling Mr. Forgeard's name incorrectly in the previous post. That was not intenional but just a goof up that I didn't catch.

User currently offlineJoni From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 21, posted (14 years 4 months 1 week 4 days ago) and read 5352 times:

I find it difficult to believe there's any truth in these reports. Bugging business class seats or embassies is done, but a head of state is quite another matter.

If it were true and I were China, I'd demand sizeable reparations in court. Eavesdropping is illegal, and if true this is a very flagrant case.

User currently offlineLt-AWACS From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 22, posted (14 years 4 months 1 week 4 days ago) and read 5333 times:


yes the US ripped down the Embassy we were building in Moscow and started over due to the bugs the Soviets put in.

User currently offlineTripleseven From United States of America, joined Jul 2000, 118 posts, RR: 0
Reply 23, posted (14 years 4 months 1 week 4 days ago) and read 5332 times:

If it's true, I don't see the big deal. Let's face it folks, the major governments are spying on everyone else every day. Bugs are placed, agents inserted, and information is obtained. The US can't deny the CIA is active in most places around the world, and the other spy agencies are doing similiar. I do think it took, um, excuse the expression, "balls", to place the bugs if it happened. I read an interesting article recently concerning Isreal. The US is "on thier side" and they have agents in the States spying. Seems even "friendly" governments infiltrate other countries. So, maybe the US is doing what they can to spy on the China and vice versa. And the world turns.............

User currently offlineBoeing in Pdx From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 24, posted (14 years 4 months 1 week 4 days ago) and read 5331 times:

from what i have heard Europe is full of soft money whores! looking to make a quick buck on anything to anyone. how much llonger is it going to be before france is going to sell there nukes to Iraq.

25 Cfalk : Ha! Do you really think that China would not do it in a half second if they had the opportunity. Don't be so naive - the Chinese sure as hell are not.
26 Lautir : Boeing in Pdx: "looking to make a quick buck on anything to anyone" That´s the contemporary way to do business... Think of the fact that money isn´t
27 Covert : im sure its true, although in cases like this they usually inflate it a little bit. china is a formidable foe to the united states.
28 Post contains images H. Simpson : Shame on America
29 Cfalk : You mean shame on America for not having done the job properly, of course. Then again, maybe they left a few obvious bugs for the Chinese to find, the
30 Irow : 1) there was something about republicans and china, I'd like to point out that the plane was delivered in August of 2000, when the Democrats had the W
31 Post contains links Flashmeister : The San Antonio Express-News also ran an article on today's front page regarding this potential scandal... it can be viewed at http://news.mysanantoni
32 CPDC10-30 : Cfalk has it right on, this should have been expected.
33 Hoffa : Yeah right as if the US Embassy in Beijing (or Paris for that matter) isn't bugged also.
34 Joni : I find it surpsing that some people think along the lines "this is what is to be expected". If you take your money to your bank and the bank steals h
35 Post contains images CPDC10-30 : Say for example China wants to sell the CIA software. Do you really think it would be completely secure without any backdoor access? I don't think so.
36 Cmsgop : Pics of the 767-300 anyoneBueller?
37 Hoffa : Any country that has 50 Chinese ICBM's pointed at it with another 100 to come online before 2015 would be foolish not to do its homework on the enemy.
38 Magyar : Hoffa wrote: >> Any country that has 50 Chinese ICBM's pointed at it with another 100 to come online before 2015 would be foolish not to do its homewo
39 Cfalk : Poor, sweet, innocent Joni. Tom Clancy accurately defined International Relations as "Nations fucking one another". It has always been a game of gathe
40 A380 : It will be surprising if the CIA didn't seize this golden chance!
41 TP313 : No matter how anyone tries to spin this, it is a stupid blunder: 1- The name of the game is NOT being caught. 2- Everybody does it, yes it is true, bu
42 Post contains images 9V-SVE : Then Jiang Zemin can talk fake.
43 L-188 : Guys this is politics. The Chinese are looking for something to get their peoples ire up. Remember Bush is going there next month.
44 Joni : CPDC10-30, Yes, and in fact critical or security-related software is often sold with some level of source-level transparency to guarantee it is as ad
45 Rkmcswain : Maybe the US Govt should have just paid Boeing (and others) whatever profit they made on this plane, and told China to "go build your own aircraft". D
46 Patches : Anybody have a picture of the friggin Plane?
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