The N.I.H. and the F.B.I. have begun a vast effort to root out scientists who they say are stealing biomedical research for other countries from institutions across the United States. Almost all of the incidents they uncovered and that are under investigation involve scientists of Chinese descent, including naturalized American citizens, allegedly stealing for China.
The FBI has repeatedly warned U.S. universities about visiting researchers stealing intellectual property on behalf of China. That's according to emails reviewed by the Associated Press, which paint a picture of a nationwide effort to convince colleges to be on guard against intellectual property theft. The emails underscore the extent of U.S. concerns that universities, as recruiters of foreign talent and incubators of cutting-edge research, are particularly vulnerable targets.
The theft of US technology by Chinese companies, many state-backed, is among the key drivers of the trade war between the two nations that is roiling the global economy. In 2018, the US Department of Justice launched a major effort to prevent China from illicitly obtaining US technology. In July, FBI director Christopher Wray said his agency had more than 1,000 open investigations into Chinese intellectual-property theft.
The Financial Times on Wednesday reported that the Pentagon is compiling a list of companies with links to the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) or Chinese intelligence services in order to protect U.S. military secrets and secure America’s supply of military equipment.
A new film by former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon is sounding the alarm over China's encroachment into the high-tech industry. Slated for release in September, Claws of the Red Dragon spotlights the relationship between telecommunications giant Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd. and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and People's Liberation Army (PLA).
Espionage and counterespionage have been essential tools of statecraft for centuries, of course, and U.S. and Chinese intelligence agencies have been battling one another for decades. But what these recent cases suggest is that the intelligence war is escalating--that China has increased both the scope and the sophistication of its efforts to steal secrets from the U.S.
For a period of time, the overseas communist empire had been America’s geopolitical partner. Yet then a string of incidents suggested that maybe the partnership wasn’t so friendly after all; numerous spies were discovered in our midst, responsible for stealing some of America’s most precious strategic secrets. Moreover, a string of American witnesses came forward to offer firsthand accounts of espionage penetrations, and the dangers they posed.
Former University of California professor Yi-Chi Shih has been found guilty on 18 federal charges for funneling American military technology to China. The 64-year-old electrical engineer has been found guilty of handing stolen U.S. military technology to the Chinese government. Now he faces several lifetimes’ worth of time in a federal prison. Shih’s co-defendant, Kiet Ahn Mai, already pleaded guilty to smuggling charges in December 2018.
When most Americans think of espionage, we think of debonair foreign spies sneaking around military compounds--or bespectacled hackers hammering away at keyboards to steal top-secret information from foreign adversaries. But there is an entire world of espionage happening right under our noses--at American colleges and universities.
America was late to the game--and is now paying the price because China, the world’s second largest and powerful economy behind the U.S., was able to take advantage by stealing secrets from some of the nation’s most critical businesses, including the U.S. government. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is worried that the communist-led country has stolen defense secrets and used them to technologically advance their own defense systems, in both capacity and intent.