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Tipsheet

FBI Director Reveals the One Threat to US That Has 'Blown Him Away'

AP Photo/Evan Vucci

FBI Director Christopher Wray told NBC News he has been “blown away” by the level of Chinese spying in the United States, noting that the agency now opens an average of two counterintelligence investigations per day to counter the threat.

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The FBI currently has more than 2,000 cases underway.

“There is no country that presents a broader, more severe threat to our innovation, our ideas and our economic security than China does,” he said.

In a speech Monday at the Reagan Library in California, Wray warned that China’s economic espionage has reached a new level, “more brazen, more damaging than ever before.”

The Chinese government has repeatedly insisted that it doesn’t steal U.S. business secrets. But the FBI has accused Chinese spies of targeting a wide range of U.S. innovations — including Covid vaccines, computer chips, nuclear power plants, wind turbines and smartphones, for example.

Last November a Chinese intelligence officer, Xu Yanjun, was convicted of trying to steal closely guarded technology developed by GE aviation for making jet engine fan blades from composite materials. Investigators said he helped hackers in China get access to company computers and tried to persuade a GE engineer to travel to China.

GE alerted the FBI, and the engineer was given altered documents to let the scheme play out so investigators could build a criminal case. He faces a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison. (NBC)

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"The scale of their hacking program, and the amount of personal and corporate data that their hackers have stolen, is greater than every other country combined,” Wray told NBC. 

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