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The indictments of Chinese People’s Liberation Army officers by the United States for stealing industrial secrets suggests that there is more to the story. Normally federal prosecutors do not present an indictment to a grand jury until the investigation is complete and there is enough evidence to begin a prosecution. A prosecution is based on evidence, direct testimony from human beings and exhibits like photographs, recordings, documents, copies of emails, etc. Evidence against five men working in a highly secure office building in Shanghai would have to be based either on one or more really great eyewitnesses or an some explicit tape recordings. Presentation of the evidence will involve public disclosure of the methods used to gather the evidence. Does the United States really want to do that?

My hunch is that this is a publicity stunt, that the Obama administration just wants to make noise about the activities of this PLA unit in Shanghai. The Justice Department, the National Security Agency and the CIA are not interested in revealing their secrets in a courtroom and to the Chinese.

What the Chinese ought to do is send the junior guy to the U.S. to surrender and to insist on a speedy trial, supposedly 70 days. As a part of discovery the defendant can look at all the evidence and demand to know where it came from. Oops.

I suspect this indictment will go into the file and none of the men will ever see the inside of a U.S. courtroom. 

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