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James Clapper, John McCain Express Doubt on US-China Cyber Cooperation

James Clapper
James Clapper

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper has indicated his skepticism on the effectiveness of the U.S.-China cyber cooperation agreement announced last week, Reuters reported Tuesday.

Andrea Shalal writes that while Clapper acknowledged the agreement to halt economic cyber espionage as a start to further cybersecurity, he urged the administration to verify if the deal’s conditions hold.

“Such malicious cyber activity will continue and probably accelerate until we establish and demonstrate the capability to deter malicious state-sponsored cyber activity,” Clapper said, according to the report.

Sen. John McCain
Sen. John McCain

He told the Senate Armed Services Committee that the agreement, which President Barack Obama sought with Chinese President Xi Jinping during the latter’s recent visit to the U.S., does not specify sanctions that deter violations.

Sean Lyngaas also reports on FCW that SASC has pointed to what it perceives as the agreement’s vagueness in terms of the commitments and penalties.

According to the report, SASC Chair John McCain (R-Ariz.) noted that the deal could be seen as a reward by enabling China to help establish international norms for cyber behavior.

“Put simply, the problem is a lack of deterrence,” the senator said.

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