The threat to the West from the Chinese government is “more brazen” and damaging than ever before, according to FBI director Christopher Wray.
He accused Beijing of stealing American ideas and innovation and launching massive hacking operations.
His speech at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library amounted to a stinging rebuke of the Chinese government just days before Beijing is set to occupy the global stage by hosting the Winter Olympics.
It made clear that even as American foreign policy remains consumed by Russia-Ukraine tensions, the US continues to regard China as its biggest threat to long-term economic security.
“When we tally up what we see in our investigations, over 2,000 of which are focused on the Chinese government trying to steal our information or technology, there’s just no country that presents a broader threat to our ideas, innovation, and economic security than China,” Mr Wray said.
The FBI is opening new cases to counter Chinese intelligence operations every 12 hours or so, with Chinese government hackers stealing more personal and corporate data than all other countries combined, Mr Wray said.
“The harm from the Chinese government’s economic espionage isn’t just that its companies pull ahead based on illegally gotten technology. While they pull ahead, they push our companies and workers behind,” Mr Wray said.
“That harm — company failures, job losses — has been building for a decade to the crush we feel today. It’s harm felt across the country, by workers in a whole range of industries.”
Chinese government officials have repeatedly rejected accusations from the US government, with the spokesman for the embassy in Washington saying last July that Americans have “made groundless attacks” and malicious smears about Chinese cyber attacks. The statement described China as a “staunch defender of cybersecurity”.
The threat from China is hardly new, but it has also not abated over the last decade.
“I’ve spoken a lot about this threat since I became director in 2017″, Mr Wray said. “But I want to focus on it here tonight because it’s reached a new level – more brazen, more damaging, than ever before, and it’s vital – vital – that all of us focus on that threat together.”
PA media and AP.