Senate Republican conference chairman John Barrasso is demanding President Biden’s Energy Department end its artificial intelligence research collaborations with Chinese state-linked individuals, according to a copy of a letter he sent to the agency on Monday.

Barrasso, 71, slammed Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm for her department’s “recklessly foolish” engagement with people and entities tied to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), particularly given Beijing’s use of available US research “in the global AI race.”

“DOE must implement a robust vetting process for those wishing to access and work with DOE-created AI foundation models,” Barrasso said in his letter. “It is crucial that those friendly to the CCP do not gain access.”

Barrasso cited a March 21 report from the National Science Foundation that cast doubt on “the benefits of collaborations” with Chinese research organizations, given efforts by Beijing “to preferentially direct fundamental research toward military needs, and its decision to restrict the flow of information out of the country.”

Earlier this month, a Chinese national was federally indicted for stealing confidential files about Google’s artificial intelligence technology while working as a software engineer at the company.

FBI Director Christopher Wray said the charges were “the latest illustration of the lengths affiliates of companies based in the People’s Republic of China are willing to go to steal American innovation,” which could have “devastating economic and national security consequences.”

The Energy Department’s Office of Inspector General in its fiscal year 2025 budget request also drew attention to the lack of funding for oversight of the department’s “high risk areas,” including intellectual property theft and its “expanding artificial intelligence program.”

The Wyoming senator has criticized other US taxpayer-funded work with China on climate issues and called Granholm’s attention to “significant concerns” about “the state of counterintelligence within DOE and its National Laboratories.”

At least four of the Energy Department meetings on climate since October were only reported in Chinese media outlets — and one occurred with a known member of the United Front Work Department, the CCP’s main foreign influence arm.

Barrasso said he has not received a response from Granholm to a March 4 letter asking about the meetings and that reps for the Energy Department were making an “outlandish claim” that it “will enhance America’s national security.”

“I remain particularly troubled by the abrupt reassignment of DOE’s Director of Intelligence and Counterintelligence,” he also wrote in his letter, adding that he had yet to hear back from the department following a Nov. 21 inquiry about the circumstances that led to Steven Black’s removal from the role.

“By failing to provide adequate responses to the questions in our November 21st letter, DOE has dramatically slowed our efforts to gather information and fulfill our oversight duties,” he said. “This is wholly unacceptable.”

Barrasso has asked Granholm to clarify her department’s strategy to the challenges posed by the AI race with China and other security risks posed by ongoing research collaborations by April 8.

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

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