Economic Espionage on Steroids

Erika Johnsen
Posted: Nov 03, 2011 3:43 PM

While Congress continues to stew over the economic and financial malpractice of the Chinese Communist Party and what to do about it, the U.S. has released an intelligenc report that accuses the Chinese of being the world's "most active and persistent" perpetrators of economic espionage, and grouped China with Russia as "the most aggressive collectors" of the United States' information and technology. The WSJ breaks it down:

The bulk of this spying is carried out in cyberspace, where vast volumes of data can be stolen in seconds, according to U.S. intelligence officials. The spying campaigns have reached a crescendo, they said, as U.S. government and business operations have grown extraordinarily reliant on communication technology.

"Cyber has become the great game-changer," said a senior intelligence official. "Our research and development is under attack."

Economic cyber espionage is targeting key components of the U.S. economy: information technology, military technology, and clean energy and medical technology.

The threat will accelerate in the coming years and presents "a growing and persistent threat" to U.S. economic security, according to the intelligence report, which reflects the views of 14 U.S. intelligence agencies. ...

The Chinese and Russian governments routinely deny any involvement in such activities. The senior U.S. intelligence official declined to cite evidence of Chinese involvement or say whether the U.S. had presented evidence to the Chinese government. The U.S. does have evidence, he said, "We didn't pull this out of the air." The U.S. government doesn't have calculations of the economic losses due to cyber economic espionage. A senior U.S. intelligence official cited estimates of $50 billion in losses in 2009 due to lost intellectual property and counterfeiting, through all means of theft, including cyber break-ins.

During a hearing on the U.S.-China economic relationship before the House Ways and Means Committee last week, testimony included an estimate of at least 48 billion dollars per year in losses to U.S. businesses due to intellectual property theft. China perfidiously denies that their government has any involvement in such piracy and pretends to be taking measures to crack down, which is of course hogwash. Their dishonesty is not only a serious barrier to free enterprise and international friendship, but a threat to our national security - China is too chummy with countries like Iran and North Korea for comfort.