The really important fact about Erik Prince that is not mentioned in The New York Times reporting that he has been using retired US and British spies, presumably human intelligence offers (HUMINTers), to teach James O’Keefe’s Project Veritas employees to be more effective is not that Prince founded and used to run Blackwater, nor that he’s Secretary of Education Betsy DeVoss’s brother, nor that he’s very close with the President and others in the administration and the reelection campaign. The really important fact is that Erik Prince’s Frontier Services Group, the company of military contractors that he runs, is owned by DVN Holdings, which would ultimately make Prince its chairman. DVN Holdings is owned by Hong Kong investor Johnson Ko Chun and the Chinese International Trust Investment Corporation (Citic), which is a People’s Republic of China (PRC) owned investment fund. Johnson Ko Chun is also on the board of directors of Cambridge Analytica’s spin off Emerdata Ltd along with Rebekah Mercer, her sister Jennifer, as well as former senior officials from Cambridge Analytica. Emerdata is also still tied to the former Cambridge Analytica’s parent firm SCL Group.
The important fact that everyone keeps missing is that Erik Prince’s operations are funded by the People’s Republic of China. He is now their asset. If he is involved with O’Keefe’s merry band of political ratfuckers, then he is only involved so long as Xi and the PRC want him to be. The same goes for Emerdata. And anything else that Prince involves himself with. Despite having a long history of looting his own companies and skimming from his investors and backers, such as the Crown Prince of the United Arab Emirates, Prince’s financial backing from the PRC state owned Chinese International Trust Investment Corporation means that he works for the PRC and does so only as long as he advances their interests.
Xi and the PRC conduct their influence operations – from weaponizing diplomatic, information, economic, financial, intelligence, and legal power – as a form of 21st Century warfare very differently than Putin and the Russians do. Xi’s and the PRC are subtle and precise, where Putin and the Russians are brutish and imprecise. The role of Prince’s Frontier Service’s Group in advancing Xi’s One Belt, One Road initiative, which is definitely NOT in the United State’s strategic interests, is evidence of who is in charge in this relationship. Xi and the PRC call the shots. And while they might give Prince a lot of rope to conduct business in his usual dodgy manner, it should never forget that they are the hands on the end of that rope. If Prince is paying former intelligence officers to train Project Veritas employees who will then interfere in domestic politics in the US, then he is doing it because it suits not just his or his sister’s or the President’s purposes. He is doing it because it suits Xi’s and the PRC’s purposes. Who his paymasters are and how they exert control over their assets is the really important piece of information that everyone reporting on Prince’s connection to Project Veritas and commenting on the reporting is missing.