An online school based just four miles from the Pentagon has been the subject of multiple federal investigations about its leadership’s ties to the Chinese military and concerns that U.S. military personnel records were compromised.
The University of Management and Technology (UMT), a taxpayer-funded school that opened in Rosslyn, Virginia in 1998, touts a satellite campus in Beijing and is “especially proud of our students stationed in US military bases around the globe.”
Issues surrounding the school’s leadership, however, prompted concern from the FBI, the Justice Department, the Pentagon, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) beginning in 2012, possibly as early as 2009.
In December, 2012, the FBI raided the school’s campus as well as the northern Virginia home of university President Yanping Chen Frame and J. Davidson Frame, her husband and the school’s academic dean.
An investigation by Fox News confirmed the raid was connected to a highly sensitive counter-intelligence case known as a “200d.”
Chen immigrated to the United States on a non-immigrant visa with her daughter in 1987, with the Chinese government funding her research at George Washington University, where she received a Ph.D. in Public Policy.
Since the FBI raid, UMT has received over $6 million from Defense Department tuition assistance programs, as well as from the post-9/11 GI bill administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs.
A memorandum of understanding (MOU) was signed in 2014 allowing UMT to collect millions in taxpayer-funded aid through 2019, despite the raid and counter-intelligence investigation.
Photographs obtained by Fox News appear to show a younger Chen in a military uniform belong to the People’s Liberation Army; a more recent picture shows Chen holding the uniform while her husband salutes her.
“This is a P.L.A. officers uniform – active duty – from between 1987 and 2007,” said Dennis Blasko, an expert on the Chinese military who graduated from West Point and served as a military attaché in China. “And from the epaulettes, we can see this – three stars and two red stripes would be a full colonel.”
“If somebody was wearing that uniform, I would say that there’s a very great likelihood that they were in the People’s Liberation Army.”
Stephen Rhoads, a whistleblower who worked at UMT recruiting veterans, noted Chen was upfront about her service in the Chinese military.
An investigation of her immigration application, however, indicated she hid her personal ties to the PLA, as well as those of her father: General Chen Bin, a former chair of COSTIND (the Commission for Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense).
COSTIND, the Chinese equivalent of DARPA, was tasked with setting policy for defense procurement as well as managing the Chinese space program. The Chinese National Nuclear Corporation, which overseas China’s civilian and military nuclear programs, was also administered by COSTIND.
Prior to the raid in 2012, Chen’s daughter Lele Wang told the FBI “contractors in the UMT Beijing office have [administrator] privileges” to access the school’s database containing information on its students.
Rhoads claimed active duty military personnel and veterans recruited by UMT provided their military history when they enrolled, noting Chen had a particular interest in recruits who were stationed at Ohio’s Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.
“It got uploaded into an O-drive, they called it … their personal military bio, you know, where they were trained, how they were trained, how long, that could be remotely accessed,” he said.
Wright-Patterson Air Force Base is the site numerous units tied to scientific research, including: the National Air and Space Intelligence Center, tasked with analyzing intelligence on foreign air and space forces; the Air Force Research Laboratory, which is responsible for the Air Force’s entire budget allocated for scientific and technological research; and Air Force Material Command, which is responsible for researching, testing and maintaining the Air Force’s weapons systems.
“She wanted me to go out to these remote reserve and National Guard centers, you know … in small-town America and start gettin’ U.S. soldiers from those centers,” Rhoads said. “Get their information, basically. Who’s out there in the woods? How many units we got?”
The case was referred to Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia James Gillis, but a disagreement with the FBI prevented the investigation from proceeding.
The Emergency Election Sale is now live! Get 30% to 60% off our most popular products today!