United States Intelligence leaders have warned the Congress on Tuesday that China poses a great security threat to the country by either stealing or purchasing sensitive American technology.
During an annual committee dinner with the Senate Intelligence Committee, Daniel Coats, Director of National Intelligence (DNI) warned of widespread Chinese cyber infiltration. He said that, “The Chinese are pervasive on this,” Coats said, “And we’ve seen it happen throughout both the public and the private sector.”
Chinese companies that are linked to the Beijing government are stealing the corporate secrets and classified designs of American tech and defense companies. The prepared statement sent to the committee by Coats, singled out China for covert and overt efforts to obtain “proprietary technology and early-stage ideas through cyber-enabled means.”
Other means used by the Chinese includes the abusive use of semi-legitimate, legal transfers and relationships “to gain access to research fields, experts, and key enabling industrial processes that could, over time, erode America’s long-term competitive advantages,” Coats explained.
FBI Director Christopher Wray recently testified that Chinese intelligence activities and technology acquisition are aspects of what he termed “the China threat.”
“We’ve tried very hard to be more out and about in the private sector, in terms of providing what are almost like defensive briefings, so that some of the U.S. telecommunications companies, among other technology industry members, can recognize the threats that are coming their way,” Wray said.
“The reality is that the Chinese have turned more and more to more creative avenues, using nontraditional collectors, which I think we in the intelligence community recognize, but I think the private sector is not used to spotting,” Wray said.
“China has weaponized investment in an attempt to vacuum up our advanced technologies and simultaneously undermine our defense industrial base,” said Cornyn, who is the Senate Majority Whip, the second highest-ranking Republican in the chamber.
“As it acquires U.S. firms, and technology, and intellectual property, as well as the know-how to put it to use, the risk is that the Chinese government, which has its tentacles not just in state-owned Chinese companies, but also in so-called private Chinese firms, that it will get its hands on these capabilities and use them against us.”
“The biggest issue of our time, in my view and, I think, in the view of most of the members of this committee and I would venture to guess, most of the members of this panel, is China and the risk they pose,” Rubio said.
“I’m not sure in the 240-some-odd-year history of this nation we’ve ever faced a competitor and potential adversary of this scale, scope, and capacity.”
Rubio said China is “carrying out a well-orchestrated, well-executed, very patient long-term strategy to replace the United States as the most powerful and influential nation on earth.”
“The tools they use are everything from hacking into companies and critical infrastructure and defense contractors to using our immigration system against us, to even our universities,” Rubio said.
Coats responded “there’s no question that what you have just articulated is what’s happening with China.”