Author: Jeffrey Cimmino
December 12, 2018
Sen. Ben Sasse (R., Neb.) warned that the United States “can’t sleep” on Chinese spying. The Nebraska senator made the remarks after a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the threat of China’s non-traditional espionage efforts on Thursday.
“Too many folks in Washington cling to an imaginary distinction between Chinese businesses and the Chinese Communist Party,” Sasse said. “This is much, much bigger than corporate ‘cheating’ or old-school spy-vs-spy tactics. China wants to win a fight before it starts by leveraging every tool at Chairman Xi’s disposal – sometimes that means using the state and sometimes that means using Chinese citizens and businesses. We can’t sleep on this threat. The Assistant Director for Counterintelligence at the FBI gets this and is trying to bring urgency to the challenge.”
During the hearing, Sasse questioned Bill Priestap, assistant director of the FBI Counterintelligence Division, about how China thinks of its citizens who live abroad, such as students and corporate executives.
“In my opinion, they think of them as being beholden to them. They think of them just simply as an extension of their power, of their nation,” Priestap said.
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