A U.S. lawmaker and a former director of the Central Intelligence Agency on Tuesday called for U.S. government officials to put more pressure on their Chinese counterparts to stop a cyber-espionage campaign that has targeted U.S. companies.
Rep. Mike Rogers, (R-Mich.), chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, indicated that espionage sponsored by the Chinese government has resulted in “brazen and wide-scale theft of intellectual property of foreign commercial competitors.”
Although espionage targeting nations’ classified information has been common in the past, the Chinese government has been targeting private businesses, indicated Rogers.
“I don’t believe that there is a precedent in history for such a massive and sustained intelligence effort by a government to blatantly steal commercial data and intellectual property,” he said during a committee hearing.
“China’s economic espionage has reached an intolerable level and I believe that the United States and our allies in Europe and Asia have an obligation to confront Beijing and demand that they put a stop to this piracy,” said Rogers.
Michael Hayden, former director of the U.S. National Security Agency and the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, and others voiced their disbelief and agreed with Rogers in the need to put an end to it.
“As a professional intelligence officer, I step back in awe of the breadth, the depth, the sophistication, the persistence of the Chinese espionage effort against the United States of America,” said Hayden.
Congress has been called upon to give the National Security Agency more power to stop cyberattcks. A representative of the Chinese embassy in Washington, D.C., denied Rogers’ allegations of China leading the attacks.