David Wise’s Tiger Trap is a short and interesting look at Chinese espionage against American targets. It mostly highlights cases from several years ago and includes a few details that had not previously appeared in media reports. The book left me worried about the competence of America’s counterintelligence efforts, especially in the FBI, and wondering how much more sophisticated the spying efforts are now compared with those during years discussed by Wise.
From the Publisher’s Weekly review:
Wise leads readers into the “the wilderness of mirrors that is counterintelligence” for this history of Chinese espionage against the U.S. He reveals how Chinese intelligence has used ethnic Chinese in the U.S. to penetrate American counterintelligence and steal American nuclear weapons data. While Wise explores a spectrum of Chinese spying efforts, from Sun-Tzu’s The Art of War to cyberspies, he homes in on two sensational cases, code-named Parlor Maid and Tiger Trap, that epitomize their tactics. Parlor Maid was the colorful Katrina Leung, a Chinese-American double agent who slept with her FBI handlers while stealing their secrets, and Tiger Trap refers to the FBI’s operation to expose China’s moles inside America’s nuclear weapons labs. Wise’s conclusion is sobering—”China’s spying on America is ongoing, current, and shows no sign of diminishing”—and his book is a fascinating history of Chinese espionage that should appeal to a diverse readership.
Readers interested in more information on this topic should check out The Jamestown Foundation’s July 1 article Taiwan Espionage Cases Highlight Changes in Chinese Intelligence Operations and Frontline’s 2004 special From China With Love.