DELRAY BEACH (CBS12) —

Thousands of Florida residents and corporations are at risk if a reported deal granting China fishing rights in Bahamian waters—miles off the coast of Florida– becomes a reality.

Lisa Ruth spent more than a dozen years as an intelligence analyst for the CIA. She worries about a report that Chinese and Bahamian governments are in talks to split fishing rights in waters east of Florida.

she says Chinese fishing boats are already spying on the us.

“They’re already doing it. No question about it. But it’s like we’re handing them a blank check in some ways. This makes it so much easier,and they can pick up so much more.”

The proposed deal–so close to the Sunshine State–makes Florida businesses and even residents particularly vulnerable to Chinese intelligence agencies.

Ruth said, “Their fishing boats are equipped with equipment—a lot of extra equipment the Chinese government puts on. We already know they put these on fishing boats. They record everything they hear, and they send it back.”

Everything from phone calls to electronic signals from computers with state secrets, business secrets, and personal secrets. Each year, the U-S loses half a trillion in industrial espionage mostly to China’s intelligence agency, meaning the deal could make a bad situation even worse.

Ruth said, “They want to know what their competitors are doing–anything that they can possibly gain from it.”

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