all 83 comments

[–]usatoday[S] 92 points93 points  (28 children)

From USA TODAY's Tom Vanden Brook, reporting from Anchorage:

Chinese citizens posing as tourists but suspected of being spies have made several attempts in recent years to gain access to military facilities in this vast state studded with sensitive bases, according to U.S. officials.

In one incident, a vehicle with Chinese citizens blew past a security checkpoint at Fort Wainwright in Fairbanks, several soldiers told USA TODAY. The vehicle was eventually stopped, and a search found a drone inside the vehicle. The occupants claimed they were tourists who had gotten lost.

Many of the encounters have been chalked up to innocent mistakes by foreign visitors intent on viewing the Northern Lights and other attractions in Alaska, officials say. Other attempts to enter U.S. military bases, however, seem to be probes to learn about U.S. military capabilities in Alaska, according to multiple soldiers familiar with the incidents but who were not authorized to speak publicly about them.

Not everyone who appear to be tourists in Alaska, are, in fact tourists, one Army officer said. Instead, they are foreign spies.

Details about the incidents remain mostly classified. However, military briefings and publicly available information lay out why the Chinese government would be interested in Alaska where some of the Pentagon's most sophisticated military capabilities and high-end war games reside.

Read more.

[–]serenityfalconfly 96 points97 points  (14 children)

Have you seen the fences to Fort Wainwright? Security doesn’t seem to be high on their list of priorities.

[–]ak_doug 95 points96 points  (4 children)

At least they have fences now. twenty years ago I was riding my bike in the woods and accidently "infiltrated" their base. The men with the machine guns were polite as they escorted me to the gate...

[–]EpiicPenguin 23 points24 points  (3 children)

reddit API access ended today, and with it the reddit app i use Apollo, i am removing all my comments, the internet is both temporary and eternal. -- mass edited with redact.dev

[–]ak_doug 18 points19 points  (1 child)

No comment.

(actually I have no idea)

[–][deleted] 14 points15 points  (0 children)

(FBI shows up at house in 7 minutes)

[–]MissCaseyLooks like a tourist 5 points6 points  (0 children)

Yes, allegedly.

[–]AdministrativeJob820 17 points18 points  (8 children)

You mean the one almost completely flat on the ground along Richardson? It’s ridiculous.

[–]serenityfalconfly 6 points7 points  (3 children)

It is. With rising tensions and this story, I would think the base commander would train the troops in defensive positions perhaps give the engineers some training on perimeter fence construction.

[–]TananaBarefootRunner 7 points8 points  (2 children)

It's called frost heaving. They built it on a swamp that it's extremely unstable ground. They would (and I definitely think they should) have to fix the fence pretty much every year. Or build a dike and put a fence on top of that 🤔 which sounds like a corps thing to do.

[–]serenityfalconfly 2 points3 points  (1 child)

Be great practice for them. And years later they can drive by and tell their kids they built it good enough to keep out the spies.

[–]LinIsStrong 1 point2 points  (3 children)

Dude that’s Greely. Wainwright is in Fairbanks.

[–]Cakegeek 6 points7 points  (1 child)

Parts of the Wainwright fence along the Richardson between Fairbanks and NP are flattened.

[–]LinIsStrong 3 points4 points  (0 children)

Augh you’re right they mean the parts of the fence that lie flat on the ground. I was thinking the flats past Delta, not flattened fences. My bad.

[–]AdministrativeJob820 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I most definitely live on wainwright.

[–]EpiicPenguin 23 points24 points  (9 children)

reddit API access ended today, and with it the reddit app i use Apollo, i am removing all my comments, the internet is both temporary and eternal. -- mass edited with redact.dev

[–]aqva002 9 points10 points  (1 child)

Yeah they gotta be pretty “ignorant” to not notice a guard checkpoint and the scary road blockade.

[–]DendragapusO -5 points-4 points  (0 children)

not ignorant, sly.

[–]Akmapper 4 points5 points  (0 children)

The whole things seems super sketch.. if you’ve spent any time on Main Post at Ft Wainwright you know that it would be easy enough to drive to the (public) Birch Hill ski area and launch a drone up for a great view of the entire cantonment area. Something not adding up

[–]4540mya 3 points4 points  (4 children)

Yeah just driving through a checkpoint has no chance of working. I'm extremely skeptical. So they had a drone, not uncommon.

[–][deleted]  (1 child)


    [–]GumboDiplomacy 4 points5 points  (0 children)

    This is a common tactic and is referred to as a dry run. There's plausible deniability by the perpetrator but they gain all sorts of knowledge, as well as potentially breeding an attitude of apathy. It happened a few times while I was deployed in non-combat zones.

    [–]Glacierwolf55 1 point2 points  (1 child)

    The base had a big sign, "No Drone Zone"

    [–]4540mya 6 points7 points  (0 children)

    Just skeptical that they were spies. Not that they were idiots.

    [–]DendragapusO -5 points-4 points  (0 children)

    there was a news story about this about 15 years back, in which the chinese government encourages ALL chinese tourists to western countries to try & take photos of military/security installations while travelling. It was considered a patriotic duty to try & do this. Also, u cannot get a traval visa out of China unless u have shown u r loyal to Chinese government.

    Kind of genus if u think about it, a million potential set of eyes in the country of a foreign adversary as very little risk diplomatically or even to the tourist "oh, i didnt realize, i am just a tourist w/a camera". It just takes one "tourist" to be successful at recording sensitive data. Kind of like the balloons, low tech, inexpensive, reward/risk ratio extremely high

    [–]trillgamesh_0 8 points9 points  (2 children)

    this sucks but also sounds like a report that racists will use to call all Asian visitors spies

    [–]DendragapusO -5 points-4 points  (1 child)

    u sound like a traitor

    [–]ski_for_joy 5 points6 points  (0 children)

    U sound like a little bitch

    [–]Capable_Prune7842 27 points28 points  (1 child)

    I have an isportman pass. I enjoy bird hunting on military land. They own such vast tracks of land that there's no way they could ever patrol everything. Same goes for the pipeline.

    [–]Educational_Sweet751 10 points11 points  (0 children)

    I love hunting military land, or just walking/driving around since 90% of it is basically an unofficial wildlife refuge with well maintained dirt roads

    [–]ogmoss 25 points26 points  (3 children)

    What a dumb article that literally told us nothing…. Who gets paid to write this crap?

    [–]JackTheSpaceBoy 15 points16 points  (1 child)

    They get paid because writing literally anything negative about China gets massive attention. Even the most "intellectual" people I know believe anything they hear about China without questioning it. It doesn't matter how crazy or nonsensical it sounds.

    Do I personally know if this story is legitimate? No. But I certainly am at least skeptical. It's wild how everyone in this thread is so confident they for sure know what's going on based off a sensational speculative article.

    [–]mirageek 2 points3 points  (0 children)

    This is how most media works right now tbh. If something will get lots of clicks, which if its sensational it will, then people are encouraged to write more things like it and news sources will continue to do this. I don't think there is a US based news source that doesn't engage in this.

    Like I will read NPR probably more than any other news source, but once they had a story stating they wanted to cover the mental health crisis in the US and wanted people to write in their experiences of thoughts. I wrote them saying I think news outlets are partially to blame, including themselves. News is written like clickbait and as sensational as possible, catering to what people WANT to read (or what creates the largest reaction) as opposed to contextualizing or reporting thing with nuance. Because people share things in social media they can get up in arms about, its hard to have nuanced conversation about things not in person. And that if they are concerned with the mental health crisis they would not feed into that.

    [–]arcticlynx_ak 1 point2 points  (0 children)

    AI probably these days.

    [–]bleeding-starlight 8 points9 points  (0 children)

    Am I the only one who thought this read like a headline from Fallout?

    [–]LinIsStrong 3 points4 points  (0 children)

    Easy enough to xc ski there from Birch Hill Rec Area. I did that by accident and found myself on a US Army Base. The folks working the groomers were cool with the middle aged lady skiing on military property but I was def uncomfortable and turned right around.

    [–]Garbage-Striking 9 points10 points  (1 child)

    Just go on grindr and go hook up with someone on base. I’ve had guys leave base, pick me up, and then drive onto base before.

    [–]observeANDquestion 3 points4 points  (0 children)

    Username checks out

    [–]wascilly_wabbit 2 points3 points  (0 children)

    They've had more luck with balloons

    [–]fuck_face_ferret 33 points34 points  (11 children)

    At some point maybe the West will realize security is more important than Chinese tourist $ and significantly restrict visas for Chinese visitors.

    [–]A_Furious_MindTRAFFIC IS BEARS 27 points28 points  (8 children)

    Why? It doesn't look like they're being successful. Come Chinese spies! Enjoy our local cuisine! Buy some souvenirs!

    [–]Impressive-Name3146 3 points4 points  (0 children)

    K, maybe I’m the ass hat here but if they were spies why wouldn’t they just cross the river on the back side of base to get access? So many people do it during the winter and I’m sure the summer isn’t that hard. Just sayin, if they wanted to get on base there are many easier ways then driving through the check points

    [–]rhyth7 1 point2 points  (0 children)

    I thought this happened like last year or the year before. So this is kinda old. The incident with the 'tourists'.

    [–]appleman666 1 point2 points  (0 children)

    Lol as if they need to do that 😂 what a crock of nonsense

    [–]jmp59 0 points1 point  (0 children)

    This should be a top national priority

    [–]Dry-Fold-9664 -1 points0 points  (0 children)

    I sometimes forget that civilians are this dumb. 1. Obviously the CCP is constantly collecting in military assets in this state through a variety of various means. To think otherwise means you have literally zero idea of what you’re talking about. 2. The civilian population of alaska is irrelevant to any kind of future conflict with China (other than possible casualties in a very unlikely nuclear attack). Its literally an impossible scenario and if you don’t understand why then it’s pointless to explain to you because you are too far removed from the conversation where it doesn’t really even matter if you understand or not.

    [–]MoBambaNYC 0 points1 point  (0 children)

    I know for a fact there are low visibility Chinese spies in downtown anchorage at this very moment.

    [–]Jedmeltdown 0 points1 point  (0 children)

    I just have to giggle with all this espionage intrigue these silly countries make up

    Just think: Austin Powers