In a recent media interaction, FBI Director Christopher Wray said China has an overly ambitious political and economic strategy. He added that its policies could prove a threat to U.S. security in the near future.
Mr. Wray declared that the greatest foreign threat to the United States is the country of China, adding that the nation’s recent escalation of tensions regarding the country of Taiwan is “more brazen” and “more damaging” than anything seen in recent history.
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The FBI Director made his remarks at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum in Simi Valley, California. Just days before the start of the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, Mr. Wray said that China poses a threat “to our economic security and to our freedoms: our freedom of speech, of conscience, our freedom to elect and be served by our representatives without foreign meddling, our freedom to prosper when we toil and invent.”
More brazen, more damaging than ever before
“I’ve spoken a lot about this threat since I became FBI director,” Mr. Wray continued. “But I want to focus on it here tonight because in many ways it’s reached a new level — more brazen, more damaging than ever before, and it’s vital, vital, that all of us focus on that threat together.”
The FBI Director pointed to the tendencies of President Xi Jinping’s government to steal “staggering” amounts of intelligence information from around the world, which leads to “deep, job-destroying damage across a wide range of industries — so much so that … we’re constantly opening new cases to counter their intelligence operations, about every 12 hours or so.”
One of China’s tactics, according to the Director, is to announce plans to build up a particular industry within their own nation, “like robotics, green energy production and vehicles, aerospace, biopharma, and so on,” and then proceed to “throw every tool in their arsenal at stealing that technology to succeed in those areas.” The FBI Director cited as one example the Chinese breach of the Microsoft Exchange email service back in 2021, which infected over 30,000 companies’ servers with ransomware, leading to the compromising of the private information of tens of thousands of American citizens.
China has been criticized, by the United States and other countries, for many years for such tactics as hacking and cyber warfare, intellectual property theft, and weakening the American economy by using borderline slave labor to produce their goods, thus reducing the price of Chinese goods so that goods made in America cannot compete. More recently, China has taken a more aggressive stance in tightening its grip on certain territories, such as Hong Kong and Taiwan; their actions toward the latter have led to intense speculation that China could invade the small island nation sometime in the near future.
Operation Fox Hunt
The FBI Director also said that the Chinese government is deploying a program named Fox Hunt. It is being used to target and influence former Chinese citizens living in other countries. Beijing allegedly uses Fox Hunt to intimidate and affect Chinese American students pursuing courses in U.S. universities. They target the family members of such students in their homeland. Wray added the saving grace is that along with the growing prowess of the Chinese government’s hacking wings, the capabilities and strategies of the FBI have become more effective. The agency is now using advanced intelligence services to spot and eradicate threats early.
Chinese government officials, as expected, have refuted all such accusations. The spokesman for the Chinese embassy in Washington said the U.S. government and its agencies are making groundless attacks and false claims about the Chinese cyberattacks. The FBI Director said in his statement that the threat from China is not exactly new. However, he added that with time, the intensity of such attacks is growing.