U.S. officials warned Jared Kushner earlier this year that his friendship with Wendi Deng Murdoch could be used as a conduit by the Chinese government, The Wall Street Journal reported on Monday.
Unnamed sources told the outlet that counterintelligence officials had warned Kushner that Murdoch, a Chinese-American businesswoman who was married to News Corp. founder Rupert Murdoch, could leverage her close relationship with Kushner and his wife, Ivanka Trump, to push the interests of the Chinese government.
The Wall Street Journal is owned by News Corp.
Among U.S. officials’ reported concerns was a proposed garden in Washington, D.C., funded by the Chinese government. The $100 million project has reportedly been declared a national security risk due to a tall tower that’s part of the design, which intelligence officials worry could be used for surveillance.
Murdoch’s spokesman told the Journal that she “has absolutely no knowledge of any garden projects funded by the Chinese government.”
The outlet notes that no one has been accused of wrongdoing, but said officials gave the warning “to highlight to Mr. Kushner, who was new to government, the need to be careful in his dealings with people whose interests may not align with those of the U.S.”
The meeting was described as a “routine senior staff security briefing.”
It’s unclear what, if any, reason officials had to single Murdoch out in their warning to Kushner or why they suspect her interests are not aligned with those of the United States. There is a long history of Chinese-Americans being falsely accused of working for China.
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