In an expanding investigation into an alleged plot to track and harass Chinese dissidents in the United States, US prosecutors on Thursday announced charges against a government agent and private investigator.
Indictments were filed in federal court in Brooklyn against Derrick Taylor and Craig Miller, both of whom had worked for the Department of Homeland Security for 15 years.
The two allegedly conspired to get information from a private federal law enforcement database, according to the prosecution.
Who are Craig Miller and Derrick Taylor?
Miller, 48, of Hastings, Minnesota, and Taylor, 60, of Irvine, California, are two of the most recent defendants to be charged in a thorough investigation into what American officials have described as the Chinese government’s increasingly aggressive efforts to locate, threaten, and silence pro-democracy activists abroad.
The defendants will be officially charged at a later time. It wasn’t known if they had legal counsel who could respond to the accusations.
According to a statement from U.S. Attorney Breon Peace, his office “will always work closely with our law enforcement partners to root out corrupt officials in all levels of government and will prosecute those who act on behalf of a hostile foreign state to target the free speech of U.S. residents on American soil.”
Miller is a DHS deportation officer at a Minnesota office. On Thursday, a message was sent with the organization requesting a response.
According to court documents, a Chinese agent recruited Taylor to gather sensitive and private information about a number of Chinese dissidents residing in the US. According to the documents, the data contained passport photographs, flight information, and immigration data.
Miller is one of the two DHS agents that Taylor reportedly enlisted to provide him access to the restricted database’s records. According to criminal documents, the two lied to cover it up when the FBI approached them about the breach.
While being questioned by the FBI, Miller also deleted texts from Taylor’s phone, and Taylor gave a fellow conspirator the order to hide information from the authorities, according to the filings.