An official from the Obama-Biden administration lobbied for a Chinese tech firm collaborating with the regime’s military and executing state-backed surveillance operations against Uyghurs.
Susan Lagana, whose LinkedIn profile also reveals her stint as North Carolina’s Communications Director for Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign, signed Hikvision as a lobbying client in 2019. The arrangement, which was recently extended to expire on December 31st, 2021, counted Lagana as a signatory on the documents outlining the initial agreement.
In exchange for a monthly retainer of $25,000, Lagana’s lobbying firm would “advise” the manufacturer and supplier of video surveillance equipment on the following matters, according to Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA) filings:
“Public affairs and policy issues, Strategic planning and guidance, Media relations, Issues management, Internal and external communications, Coordinate outside consultants, Message development, Media monitoring, Media Engagement, Fact Sheets, Messages, and Q&As.”
Lagana signed the company less than a year after departing the Obama administration, where she served as Director of Communications for the U.S. Navy, an attorney a the Office of Personnel Management, and the Director of Public Affairs at the Department of Transporation.
Beyond its deep ties to the Chinese Communist Party given its status as a state-owned company, Hikvision has also been identified by the U.S. Department of Defense as a proxy of the regime’s military. Many fear the data recorded by the company’s surveillance equipment could easily end up in the hands of the Chinese Communist Party.
What’s more, Hikvision has been “linked to Uyghur abuses,” according to Reuters, which describes the company as the “world’s largest purveyor of video surveillance systems and vendor to Xinjiang police agencies.”