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Tags: five eyes | intelligence | china | espionage

'Five Eyes' Intel: China 'Defining Threat of This Era'

By    |   Monday, 23 October 2023 10:55 AM EDT

FBI Director Christopher Wray and the intelligence directors of the United States’ English-speaking allies — known as the “Five Eyes” — sounded the alarm about the threat of Chinese espionage in a recent interview with CBS News’ “60 Minutes.”

In their first public appearance together on Wednesday, the leaders of the intelligence-sharing alliance met in Palo Alto, California, to discuss “the defining threat of this era” and make the point that artificial intelligence, biology, and computing secrets are being stolen by China as part of a global espionage campaign.

“The People's Republic of China represents the defining threat of this generation, this era,” Wray told “60 Minutes.” “There is no country that presents a broader, more comprehensive threat to our ideas, our innovation, our economic security, and, ultimately, our national security.

“We have seen efforts by the Chinese government, directly or indirectly, trying to steal intellectual property, trade secrets, personal data all across the country,” he continued. “We're talking everything from Fortune 100 companies, all to smaller startups. We're talking about agriculture, biotech, healthcare, robotics, aviation, academic research. We probably have somewhere in the order of 2,000 active investigations that are just related to the Chinese government's effort to steal information.”

Mike Burgess, of Australia, acknowledged that the countries included in the Five Eyes alliance all spy and said “all governments have a need to be covertly informed” because “all countries seek strategic advantage.”

“But the behavior we're talking about here goes well beyond traditional espionage,” Burgess said. “This scale of the theft is unprecedented in human history. And that's why we're calling it out.”

According to “60 Minutes,” the intelligence leaders last week warned 15 top Silicon Valley executives and Stanford University in private meetings about the threat China poses.  

Ken McCallum, director general of the United Kingdom's MI5, said the espionage is “not just about government secrets or military secrets” or even “just about critical infrastructure."

“It's about academic research in our universities,” he said. “It's about promising startup companies. People, in short, who probably don't think national security is about them.”

“We see the theft happening in a range of ways,” McCallum said. “One is that we see employees within those companies being manipulated. Often, in the first instance, they are not aware of what is happening.

"We have seen, for example, the use of professional networking sites to reach out in sort of masked, disguised ways to people in the U.K., either who have security clearance or who are working in interesting areas of technology. We've now seen over 20,000 examples of that kind of disguised approach to people in the U.K. who have information that the Chinese state wishes to get its hands on.”

Wray said the Chinese espionage program is a threat to the way of life of democratic countries.

“It is a threat to our way of life in a number of ways,” he said. “The first is that when people talk about stealing innovation or intellectual property, that's not just a Wall Street problem. That's a Main Street problem.

"That means American jobs, American families, American livelihoods — and the same thing for every one of our five countries — are directly impacted by that theft. It's not some abstract concept. It has flesh and blood, kitchen-table consequences.

The FBI director gave the example of a U.S. wind turbine company that lost its competitive advantage after China stole its technology secrets. It ultimately had to lay off nearly 700 workers when its sales collapsed.

The director of Canada’s intelligence service, David Vigneault, told “60 Minutes” that in his country the People’s Republic of China (PRC) has tried to build industrial sites that are really intended for espionage operations.

“We have seen in the past, acquisition of land, acquisition of different companies [and] when you start to dig a little bit further, you realize that there is another intent,” Vigneault said. “And we have seen and blocked attempts by the PRC to acquire locations near sensitive, strategic assets of the country where we knew that the ultimate purpose was for spying operations.”

Wray said Chinese businesses have also attempted to “acquire businesses, land, infrastructure, what have you, in the United States in a way that presents national security concerns.”

We welcome business with China, visitors from China, academic exchange,” he said. “What we don't welcome is cheating, and theft, and repression.”

When contacted for comment by “60 Minutes,” China representatives said, “We firmly oppose the groundless allegations and smears toward China.”

Nicole Wells

Nicole Wells, a Newsmax general assignment reporter covers news, politics, and culture. She is a National Newspaper Association award-winning journalist.

© 2024 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

FBI Director Christopher Wray and the intelligence directors of the United States' English-speaking allies — known as the "Five Eyes" — sounded the alarm about the threat of Chinese espionage in a recent interview with CBS News' "60 Minutes." In their first public...
five eyes, intelligence, china, espionage
Monday, 23 October 2023 10:55 AM
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