Mina Chang figured out how to work the levers in Dallas and in the nation's capital, making connections with key figures and cultivating an online image, until her overblown credentials and claims crumbled under scrutiny.
Chang resigned last week from a senior State Department post after an NBC News investigation revealed she made misleading claims about her charity work and qualifications — including a fake Time magazine cover with her face on it.
Since Chang's resignation, former colleagues, social acquaintances and government officials have reached out to NBC News, providing more information that helps explain how Chang made it as far as she did.
After crafting a public image as a humanitarian "thought leader" with help from paid media and public relations consultants, she ingratiated herself with prominent Republicans in Dallas and former military officers, former colleagues said. She often asked those who performed work for her to sign nondisclosure agreements, the former associates said.