We knew that some of the foreign Chinese-language students here were shady – but who knew they were actually being recruited as spies… for the Chinese government… against the United States?! A 28-year-old Michigan man named Glen Duffie Shriver admitted that he was recruited by the Chinese for spy work while studying at East China Normal University right here in Shanghai.
The almost ridiculous tale has a couple of Chinese handlers approaching Shriver with $70,000 to possibly steal secrets from the CIA. From the Detroit Free Press:
Shriver is a former international relations student at Grand Valley State University and spent time in 2002-03 studying at East China Normal University in Shanghai.
After graduating from Grand Valley in 2004, he returned to Shanghai and answered an ad seeking someone to write a political paper.
Prosecutors said he was contacted by a woman who paid him $120 for the paper he wrote. Later, she introduced him to two men identified as Wu and Tang. All three were Chinese intelligence officers, prosecutors said.
Eventually, the four hatched a scheme for Shriver to get a job at the U.S. State Department or CIA and pass classified information to the Chinese, prosecutors said.
Unfortunately, it turns out Shriver wasn’t exactly aces in school. He failed the exam to become a State Department Foreign Services officer twice in 2005 and 2006. This didn’t stop his handlers from paying him $30,000 however… or him from getting another $40,000 from them when he applied again in 2007. Huh, sounds more like he’s scamming the Chinese than spying for them to me.
The Chinese embassy has responded, not surprisingly, by saying they’ve never heard of him and of course would not do things like having spies against the U.S. in the first place. According to Reuters:
A spokesman for the Chinese embassy in Washington said that his government “never engages itself in activities that’ll harm other countries’ national interests, and it’s sincere in developing Sino-U.S. relations of mutual benefit.”
“Any attempts to defame China with fabricated allegations will prove futile,” the spokesman, Wang Baodong, said in a written statement.
Shriver could have faced up to 10 years in prison, but will likely get less now that he’s cooperating with investigators. He joins a growing list of hapless international spies that are less Raymond Shaw and more the idiots from Home Alone 3.