Biden Administration Tasked Undergrad Students with China Threat Report Ordered by Congress

The Biden Administration’s State Department assigned the task of completing a report on the threat of China to a group of six college students, leading to widespread backlash.

According to the Washington Free Beacon, such a report was mandated by Congress in a provision of the 2023 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), with a focus on the influence of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and its attempts to censor American citizens. The final report, submitted to Congress in early January, was written by six undergraduate students from James Madison University; the report includes a disclaimer on the cover letter stating that it “does not represent the views of the Executive Branch.”

Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) lashed out at the Biden State Department’s decision to hand such a sensitive national security matter to a group of unqualified college students, saying that “this report confirms, again, that the Biden administration is simply unserious about confronting the full range of threats posed by the CCP.”

“No doubt these students are talented, but this report is literally the opposite of adults being back in charge,” Cruz added, mocking one of Biden’s top campaign talking points in 2020. “The Chinese Communist Party spends billions on propaganda and censorship, with the goal of controlling what Americans see, hear, and ultimately think. These activities pose an acute national security risk to Americans.”

The State Department confirmed the report’s authorship by the six college students, emphasizing that no U.S. officials played a role in writing the report or otherwise instructing the students on what to say.

“The Department entered into an agreement with James Madison University to write the independent report through the Diplomacy Lab Project,” said a spokesman for the State Department. “And the Department did not select the specific authors nor exercise editorial authority over the report.”

The mandate by Congress in the NDAA specifically demanded that the Secretary of State “enter into an agreement with a qualified research entity that is independent of the Department of State to write a report on censorship and intimidation in the United States.”

All six of the students who wrote the report are seniors, set to graduate this spring. Although every one of them is studying either political science or international relations, only one is described as focusing on “coursework regarding China and its trade practices, the politics and economics of the European Union, and international trade law.”

In addition to providing a basic summary of how “American businesses are censored,” and other security offenses committed by China, the report offers vague policy proposals, including a “policy to support American business in China” and “positions against physical surveillance.”

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About Eric Lendrum

Eric Lendrum graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he was the Secretary of the College Republicans and the founding chairman of the school’s Young Americans for Freedom chapter. He has interned for Young America’s Foundation, the Heritage Foundation, and the White House, and has worked for numerous campaigns including the 2018 re-election of Congressman Devin Nunes (CA-22). He is currently a co-host of The Right Take podcast.

Photo: WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 15: Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) speaks on the fourth day of the Supreme Court confirmation hearing for nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill on October 15, 2020 in Washington, DC. With less than a month until the presidential election, President Donald Trump tapped Amy Coney Barrett to be his third Supreme Court nominee in just four years. If confirmed, Barrett would replace the late Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. (Photo by Samuel Corum/Getty Images)