Former CIA Director Sounds Alarm On EV Plant

During a recent House Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party hearing, former CIA Director and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta expressed concerns about the potential for Chinese espionage at a proposed electric vehicle battery plant in Michigan. Panetta emphasized that China has a history of taking advantage of manufacturing units and establishments for intelligence purposes and economic gain that are counter to the interests of the United States.

Panetta’s warning is supported by former CIA Director and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who testified that the Gotion High-Tech facility in Michigan presented significant national security risks and should not be built. Pompeo highlighted the potential leverage China could gain from such plants, stating that they are hazardous to national security.

In October 2022, Gotion High-Tech and Democratic Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced a $2.4 billion investment in two production plants and supporting facilities in Mecosta County, Michigan. The project received $175 million in taxpayer funding from a Michigan Senate panel controlled by Democrats. Additionally, Gotion announced plans for a second plant in Illinois, with a total incentive package funded by state taxpayers amounting to $536 million.

Yet, these initiatives have met resistance from community members, ex-State Department officials, and Republicans, who contend that Gotion High-Tech’s operations in the U.S. represent a considerable threat to national security. The basis of their apprehension lies in Gotion’s corporate statutes, revealing an obligation to comply with the Communist Party of China’s constitution and its 2022 ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) report, which references the examination of Communist Party activities.

Moreover, a company acting on behalf of Gotion High-Tech’s subsidiary, Gotion Inc., filed under the Foreign Agents Registration Act, disclosing its engagement in purchasing real estate, applying for land rezoning, and participating in public rezoning hearings as a representative of Gotion.

Both Panetta and Pompeo stressed the need for vigilance and the use of intelligence capabilities to monitor and counter any activities that could harm the United States. They also cautioned against providing tax subsidies to companies like Gotion High-Tech, as it undermines national security.

Considering the testimony from these respected former government officials, state and local economic development officials in Michigan must take their concerns seriously and reconsider the Gotion project. Safeguarding national security should always be a top priority, and steps must be taken to prevent potential risks posed by foreign entities operating within the United States.