China is using a whole-of-society approach to steal its way to become a military power, and the U.S. government needs to better defend against such an espionage campaign, said a retired CIA officer.
“U.S. security officials estimate that the Chinese steal between $300 billion and $600 billion a year in U.S. intellectual property, research and development, information and technology,” David Sauer told The Epoch Times’ sister media NTD in an interview on Oct 29.
The United States has not been the only target. Sauer said China’s espionage campaign has also targeted the European Union, South Korea, and Japan, and the campaign began around 2000 to 2001.
“They’re [China] stealing that information and then integrating into their economy and their state-owned enterprises, [and] into their military. Some of their military systems look like a carbon copy of U.S. military systems,” he added.
“So it really saves them [China] a lot of time, sweat, and tears in trying to develop that technology.”
Sauer served as chief of station and deputy chief of station in multiple overseas command positions in East Asia and South Asia before his retirement.
The Chinese regime targets individuals—who can be either students, academics, or business people—and wants their cooperation to obtain certain technologies that Beijing wants to get its hands on, Sauer said.
“Now those people, I bet most of them don’t want to cooperate, they think it’s a little risky, and that they might get caught and ruin their life, or their ability to function in the United States,” he added.
“But they really don’t have a choice. They’re dealing with an authoritarian regime. And they’ll risk their future by saying no. So they don’t.”
Christopher Wray, who has been the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) since August 2017, said last year that the bureau opened one new Chinese counterintelligence investigation about every 10 hours. He also said that the bureau had over 2,000 counter-intelligence investigations related to China at that time.
One recent FBI investigation involved Zhang Xiaoming, a former civilian professor at the Air War College at Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama, who pleaded guilty to making false statements to a federal agent regarding his ties with a Chinese municipal official.
According to the Department of Justice, Zhang developed a relationship with the official during one of his trips to China in 2012. Later he became aware that the official was attempting to use him to gain access to sensitive information in his possession.
On Oct. 22, the National Counterintelligence and Security Center (NCSC) launched an outreach campaign to warn U.S. organizations in five different sectors—artificial intelligence, autonomous systems, bioeconomy, quantum information science and technology, and semiconductors—about how they could be targets of foreign counterintelligence operations.
“To help achieve its strategic goals, the PRC [People’s Republic of China] employs a wide variety of legal, quasi-legal, and illegal methods to acquire technology and know-how from the United States and other nations,” according to a factsheet (pdf).
These methods included academic collaboration, co-opting insiders, joint ventures, talent recruitment programs, and science and technology investments.
“The reality is that China’s using our technology and innovation to build its rise and to build a military that can defeat ours,” Sauer said.
From The Epoch Times