U.S. intelligence leaders said Tuesday they believe China currently poses the most dangerous and complex counterintelligence threat to the nation.
“As I look at the landscape today and over the course of my career ... the Chinese counterintelligence threat is more deep, more diverse, more vexing, more challenging, more comprehensive and more concerning than any counterintelligence threat I can think of,” FBI Director Christopher Wray told the Senate Intelligence Committee.
Wray and other intelligence leaders pointed to China, alongside Russia, as a top threat to the United States.
A threat assessment by the intelligence community also released Tuesday found that China “presents a persistent cyber espionage threat and a growing attack threat to our core military and critical infrastructure systems.”
“China remains the most active strategic competitor responsible for cyber espionage against the US Government, corporations, and allies,” the report states, adding that the country also “has the ability to launch cyber attacks that cause localized, temporary disruptive effects on critical infrastructure” in the U.S.
The report also found that Chinese intelligence services “will exploit the openness of American society, especially academia and the scientific community, using a variety of means.”
Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats told senators on Tuesday that over the past 1 1/2 decades, “China had a remarkable rise in capabilities that are stunning.”
“A lot of that was achieved, a significant amount of that was achieved by stealing information from our companies, by inserting Chinese in certain of our labs or bringing back technological stolen properties, which China engaged,” he said.
The remarks come one day after federal prosecutors unveiled charges against Chinese telecommunications firm Huawei, which officials have alleged acts as an arm of the Chinese government. China and Huawei have both refuted the claim.