Although it seems like cyber-crime gets all the news headlines these days, national and corporate intelligence agencies around the globe still often use old-fashioned cloak and dagger techniques to get the job done. That said, blackmail has long been one of the most effective ways to turn an intelligence target, and agencies have no compunctions about taking advantage of a target’s predilections for drugs, sex or even gambling to blackmail then into cooperation.
According to a recent report from the Investigative Reporting Program at the University of California, Berkeley, and published by The Guardian, U.S. intelligence agencies were staking out several major casinos in Macau to try and entrap Chinese officials. The “highly confidential” report outlining the possible CIA operation in Macau was researched and written private investigator in 2010. The document remained a secret for almost five years until it was recently discovered by IRP.
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More on CIA operation in Macau Casinos
The report was uncovered when it became public as a part of a lawsuit. It was entered into the record by Sands China Limited, the Macau branch of Sheldon Adelson’s casino empire, as part of an ongoing lawsuit filed by Steven Jacobs (former head of Sands Macau casinos) who is suing for wrongful dismissal.
Based on the report, China strongly suspected CIA and FBI operatives were using Macau casinos owned by Adelson to try and trap and blackmail Chinese officials.
The report noted: “A reliable source has reported that central Chinese government officials firmly believe that Sands has permitted CIA/FBI agents to operate from within its facilities. These agents apparently ‘monitor mainland government officials’ who gamble in the casinos.”
Then continued to say: “According to China’s internal Central Government agency, some US$2 billion is annually gambled away by serving Chinese government officials visiting Macao.”
Not surprisingly, Chinese authorities are most worried about Chinese nationals who regularly lost a lot of money gambling, potentially making them a target for foreign intelligence blackmail schemes.
The Guardian notes that Sands China apparently ordered the report from the PI over worries that the leadership of ex-Portuguese colony was increasingly unfriendly in its interactions with gambling industry and Sands casinos in specific.