Background Investigations

Clearance Applicant Indicted for Hiding Foreign Citizenship and Contacts

The Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) released a statement last week on the indictment of a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) federal employee, Yifei Chu, for falsifying his clearance application. He did not provide the required information regarding his Taiwanese military contacts and he had kept dual citizenship with Taiwan, even though he had indicated in a sworn statement he had renounced his Taiwanese citizenship and destroyed his passport. He had worked on a U.S. Navy project that required access to information classified at the Secret level.

The FBI latched on to him in 2020 when Chu applied for a U.S. Navy detail position at the U.S. Embassy in Singapore that required him to fill out the SF-86 for his clearance. On the form and during the background investigation interview, he failed to disclose extensive Taiwanese military contacts and his consulting position with their Navy, as well as foreign properties and financial accounts. The FBI initiated surveillance on him and recorded him being questioned by a Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agent about his trip to Tapei, where Chu informed the CBP agent he was using his Taiwanese passport to leave the U.S. because he held dual citizenship with Taiwan.

Although the indictment does not elaborate on whether Chu was granted eligibility for access to classified information, it is safe to say that he won’t be submitting any type of appeal to the Defense Office of Hearing and Appeals from jail. The FBI has had their hands full as of late working to identify and arrest intelligence agents, mostly from the People’s Republic of China.