Tuesday, July 11, 2023

US Think Tank Chief Charged with Acting as Foreign Agent for China

Here is more from Reuters:

The leader of a U.S. think tank has been charged with acting as an unregistered agent of China, as well as seeking to broker the sale of weapons and Iranian oil, federal prosecutors in Manhattan said on Monday.

Gal Luft, a citizen of the United States and Israel, is accused of recruiting and paying a former high-ranking U.S. government official on behalf of principals based in China in 2016, without registering as a foreign agent as required by law.

Prosecutors did not identify the former official, but said he was working as an adviser to the then president-elect Donald Trump at the time. Luft is accused of pushing the adviser to support policies favorable to China, including by drafting comments in the adviser's name published in a Chinese newspaper.

Luft is co-director of the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security, which describes itself as a Washington, D.C.-based think tank focused on energy, security and economic trends.


Luft was arrested in early 2023 in Cyprus but fled after being released on bail while awaiting extradition.

According to the most recent US tax records, the Maryland-based Institute for Analysis of Global Security (IAGS), founded in 2002, had total revenue of around $14,000 in 2021 and total assets of around $220,000.

As Jurist has noted, one of IAGS's major projects is the US Energy Security Council (USESC), which was co-founded by Reagan-era National Security Advisor Robert McFarlane and former CIA Director James Woolsey.  Luft served as senior adviser to USESC.

One of the officials whom Luft is accused of covertly attempting to "recruit and pay, on behalf of principals based in China" is reportedly Mr. Woolsey, who was an adviser to then President-elect Donald Trump.

USESC's members include myriad former high-ranking officials in the US government.

Jurist has also pointed out that on a fundraising page posted to his Twitter account, Gal Luft called the charges a "witch hunt."  He is looking to raise $100,000, and so far has raised close to $8,000.

The eight-count indictment can be read here.