When it comes to enforcing America’s national security laws, the Biden administration claims that it will stop at nothing to protect our democracy. The Department of Justice has embraced hyperaggressive prosecution theories, curtailed First Amendment rights and even breached the historical divide between law and politics — such measures are regrettable, but necessary when Democracy itself is on the line.
Despite all the tough talk, Biden’s DoJ just accepted a shockingly lenient plea deal for a military servicemember caught selling secrets to China.
Earlier this week, US Navy Petty Officer Wenheng Zhao pled guilty to conspiracy and bribery for providing highly sensitive military information to the Chinese government. Over two years, Zhao received roughly $15,000 in fourteen separate payments from a Chinese agent in exchange for details on American military security, training exercises and critical infrastructure. This included documents, photos and videos detailing the operation of Navy ships and an overseas military installation. The charges against Zhao carried a maximum possible sentence of twenty years in prison.
Back in 2019, former CIA officer Kevin Mallory was sentenced in the Eastern District of Virginia to twenty years’ imprisonment for selling national defense information to China in exchange for $25,000. In comparison, the Biden DoJ accepted a plea from Zhao that landed him twenty-seven months in prison and a $5,500 fine. A United States servicemember who violated his oath and put our nation in danger received a jail sentence that will have him freed in time for the 2026 Winter Olympics. Amazingly, Zhao’s fine amounted to only one third of the bribe payments he received for his crimes.
The case had all the hallmarks of the treachery Biden has attacked publicly, from the mishandling of classified documents to conspiring with a hostile foreign power to accepting overseas payments. So if the DoJ cannot secure an appropriate sentence for a traitor selling secrets to China, what exactly is it focusing on?
We know it takes the January 6 “insurrection” seriously. The DoJ hired hundreds of federal prosecutors for the purpose of bringing cases against the January 6 defendants. Over the past three years, more than 1,000 cases have been prosecuted and nearly 250 defendants have been sentenced, with the average jail sentence being forty-one months.
This is also the same DoJ which cannot be bothered to protect judges but throws the book at pro-life protesters. When demonstrators besieged the homes of Supreme Court Justices Kavanaugh and Roberts following the leaking of the Dobbs decision, Attorney General Merrick Garland refused to enforce the law that forbids protesting at the residence of a federal judge. But when it comes to protesters outside abortion clinics this DoJ holds nothing back.
In one instance, FBI agents were deployed to conduct an early morning raid on the Pennsylvania home of Mark Houck. Houck was a pro-life activist and father of eight whose scuffle in front of a clinic led to charges of violating the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act. A federal jury subsequently acquitted Houck on all counts.
In a Michigan case, eight protesters sitting and praying in front of an abortion clinic were arrested by police for a trespassing misdemeanor. Three years later, the DoJ indicted them on charges of conspiring to violate civil rights and violating the FACE Act. They are now awaiting trial and face potential prison sentences of up to eleven years.
Of course there is Hunter Biden, who received millions of dollars from Chinese and Ukrainian sources in exchange for access to “the Big Guy.” Not only did Special Counsel David Weiss drag out the investigation for five years, but when he did begrudgingly bring gun and tax charges he ignored any aspect of the case involving the President’s own involvement or Hunter’s overseas dealings. Most attorneys general would be ashamed of the miscarriage of justice that is the Zhao sentence. But clearly this DoJ has its attention focused elsewhere. For 200 years the wall between law and politics has prevented America from descending into banana republic territory. Congratulations, President Biden, you have successfully torn down that wall.