In August 2015, an electrical engineering student in Chicago sent an email to a Chinese national titled “Midterm test questions.”
More than two years later, the email would turn up in an FBI probe in the Southern District of Ohio involving a suspected Chinese intelligence officer who authorities believed was trying to acquire technical information from a defense contractor.
Investigators took note. They identified the email’s writer as Ji Chaoqun, a Chinese student who would go on to enlist in the US Army Reserve. His email, they say, had nothing to do with exams.