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"I think this is something everyone should be aware of," Shea told FOX Business' Maria Bartiromo during an interview. "Not just NYPD, but any business should be aware of. This is a real threat."
Shea's comments came several days after federal prosecutors charged a New York City police officer, who is also a U.S. Army reservist, with acting as an illegal agent of China since 2018.
Baimadajie Angwang, a naturalized U.S. citizen from Tibet, worked since 2018 as an agent for the People’s Republic of China in its effort to suppress the movement, according to a criminal complaint filed in Brooklyn federal court. It says that he secretly worked for unnamed handlers from the Chinese consulate in New York.
There was no allegation that Angwang compromised national security or New York Police Department operations. Still, he was considered “the definition of an insider threat,” William Sweeney, head of the FBI’s New York office, said in a statement.
Along with being a NYPD officer, Angwang is a staff sergeant in the U.S. Army Reserve who was given security clearance by the Department of Defense, according to court papers that accuse him of lying during a background check that got him that status.
Angwang’s job as a spy for China was to “locate potential intelligence sources” and “identify potential threats to the PRC in the New York metropolitan area,” court papers say. He also was expected to provide consulate officials “access to senior NYPD officials through invitations to official NYPD events,” they add.
The commissioner said he could not get into the specifics of the case because it's an ongoing investigation, but warned it's something the country should take "extremely seriously."
"To not be worried about that, I wouldn't be doing my job," he said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report