Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) warned that secret climate meetings between US Department of Energy officials and companies controlled by the Chinese Communist Party could compromise taxpayer-funded research in a letter to Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm.

The missive slams slams Granholm for the “misguided interactions,” which were only made public after they were uncovered by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, on which Barrasso serves as ranking member.

“DOE is openly inviting the compromise of our nation’s taxpayer-funded research, development, and technical expertise,” he wrote.

“This is a dangerous gamble with our future economic and national security that must end immediately.”

The letter outlines four of the sit-downs that have occurred with leaders in the People’s Republic of China (PRC) since last October, which “went beyond mere diplomatic courtesies” and were “shielded from the American public’s scrutiny, with coverage found exclusively within Chinese media outlets.”

On Oct. 11, the Energy Department’s China office director, Stephanie Duran, met with China Construction Technology Company president Sun Ying in Beijing to “deepen cooperation” on “clean energy and carbon emission reduction” between the company and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, a DOE facility managed by the University of California.

Barrasso said the collaboration “reveals a severe miscalculation” of the actual intentions of the state-owned Chinese company, despite claims that it merely wants to reduce carbon emissions.

Chao Ding, a researcher at the Bay Area US lab, traveled five days after that meeting to visit Zhengzhou University in China, where he made suggestions to the school’s dean, Wu Xuehong about the construction of a new research facility.

​​“Whether known or unknown to Mr. Ding, Wu Xuehong is an enthusiastic member of the CCP and sworn member of the college’s support arm of the United Front Work Department (UFWD),” Barrasso noted.

“It is almost certain that [China] is targeting a significant number of DOE experts for their specialized knowledge and technological insights,” he added.

Even Chinese scholars have remarked on the foreign influence campaign, he said.

One month after the research meet-up, DOE’s deputy assistant secretary for carbon management, Noah Deich, sat down with then-Chinese vice minister of science and technology, Zhang Guangjun, in Beijing.

They discussed “relevant science and technology issues,” according to a report in a Chinese outlet.

Zhang had previously served at the Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics, which has co-opted US research and adapted it for the Chinese military, according to a July 2020 report from Stanford University’s conservative Hoover Institution.

Additionally, Deputy Secretary David Turk met virtually with Chinese government officials on Jan. 12, 2024, to help launch a joint “Working Group on Enhancing Climate Action in the 2020s,” which the State Department disclosed but the Energy Department did not.

The goal of the group is to share information about reducing carbon emissions and to work on joint projects to that end, according to the State Department.

In a Feb. 2 hearing before the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, Turk said the Energy Department had adopted an “eyes-wide-open” strategy to counter the Chinese threat to US tech development.

But Barrasso slammed Turk for making that claim.

“Despite what Biden Administration officials believe, it is increasingly clear that the CCP’s true intent is not to walk hand-in-hand with the United States towards environmental stewardship,” he warned of President Xi Jinping’s true intentions.

“The PRC has brazenly wielded its climate ‘cooperation’ as a tool to insidiously increase its soft power in the West while maintaining an autocratic, dictatorial regime at home,” he said.

“The CCP will undoubtedly siphon even more of America’s technological and intellectual bounty under the guise of good-faith collaboration, just as it has been doing for decades.”

Barrasso has demanded that Granholm provide a complete list of all Energy Department visits to China since President Biden took office, as well as any agreements reached as a part of those trips.

He also asked for details about national security or counterintelligence briefings that may accompany the travels to China and whether there is an authorization process put in place for the official meetings.

The Post has reached out to reps at the Energy Department for comment.

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