As the deadline for the closing of the Chinese consulate in Houston approached on Friday afternoon, employees hauled out bags of supplies and heaved them into a van.
Then, shortly after 4 p.m., a locksmith forced his way inside using power tools and a crowbar, and the U.S. State Department took over.
“We announced the closure of the Chinese consulate in Houston because it was a hub of spying and intellectual property theft,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo declared in a speech last week.
(The State Department sent The Intercept a boilerplate statement but declined to answer questions or make officials available for an interview.)
The New York Times obtained a seven-page document last week that purportedly outlined several FBI investigations connected to the Houston consulate.