Security Officials Warned Jared Kushner About Friendship With Wendi Deng Murdoch

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USA counter-intelligence officials warned president Donald Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner in early 2017 that Chinese-American businesswoman Wendi Deng Murdoch might be using their friendship to benefit Chinese government interests, The Wall Street Journal reported on Monday.

The China-funded project, a planned US$100 million (S$132 million) Chinese garden at the National Arboretum, was deemed a national security risk because it included a 21-metre-tall white tower that could potentially be used for surveillance, WSJ said.

The Chinese garden, which would have cost $100 million and would be located in the National Arboretum, would have included a 70-foot-tall tower that USA officials deemed a national security risk.

Kushner and Trump, both White House advisers, have had a close relationship with Murdoch for years, including during her marriage to Rupert Murdoch.

Murdoch's spokeswoman said she "has no knowledge of any Federal Bureau of Investigation concerns or other intelligence agency concerns relating to her or her associations", and "has absolutely no knowledge of any garden projects funded by the Chinese government".

Jared Kushner was warned of Wendi Deng Murdoch during a security briefing just before President Trump's inauguration.

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The outlet notes that no one has been accused of wrongdoing, but said officials gave the warning "to highlight to Mr. Kushner, who was new to government, the need to be careful in his dealings with people whose interests may not align with those of the U.S". "China relationship so as to help bring about a better resolution to the many issues the countries have". She married Rupert Murdoch in 1999 but the two divorced in 2013.

Murdoch, a USA citizen who has been close with Ivanka Trump and Kushner for years, claimed the Journal report was "full of groundless speculations" in a statement circulated by a representative for China's Embassy in Washington, D.C.

Speaking of speculations, the report also mentions the old rumor that Wendi Deng Murdoch had an affair with Tony Blair when she was still married to Rupert Murdoch.

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