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Chinese economic spying 'intolerable': US lawmaker

07 october 2011, 12:47
A US lawmaker said on Tuesday that Chinese economic espionage, including cyber spying, has reached an "intolerable level" and called for the United States and its allies to confront Beijing, AFP reports.

"Beijing is waging a massive trade war on us all, and we should band together to pressure them to stop," Mike Rogers, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said during a hearing on cyber threats.

"I don't believe that there is a precedent in history for such a massive and sustained intelligence effort by a government to blatantly steal commercial data and intellectual property," Rogers said.

"China's economic espionage has reached an intolerable level and I believe that the United States and our allies in Europe and Asia have an obligation to confront Beijing and demand that they put a stop to this piracy," he said.

"Combined, the United States and our allies in Europe and Asia have significant diplomatic and economic leverage over China, and we should use this to our advantage to put an end to this scourge," he said.

Rogers, a Republican from Michigan, singled out China in his opening remarks to a hearing of the House Intelligence Committee on improving US cybersecurity.

Among those testifying to the committee was retired general Michael Hayden, a former director of the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Agency.

Hayden echoed Rogers in describing the scope of China's economic espionage activities.

"As a professional intelligence officer, I step back in awe at the breadth, depth, sophistication and persistence of the Chinese espionage effort against the United States of America," Hayden said.

Rogers said past espionage activities focused on foreign governments and militaries, "not on brazen and wide-scale theft of intellectual property from foreign commercial competitors."

"You don't have to look far these days to find a press report about another firm, like Google, whose networks have been penetrated by Chinese cyber espionage and have lost valuable corporate intellectual property," he said.

"And that’s just the tip of the iceberg," Rogers said. "There are more companies that have been hit that won’t talk about it in the press, for fear of provoking further Chinese attacks.

"Attributing this espionage isn't easy, but talk to any private sector cyber analyst, and they will tell you there is little doubt that this is a massive campaign being conducted by the Chinese government," he said.

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