On Wednesday, State Department spox Morgan Ortagus told Fox News that both parties are guilty of “not seeing the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) for who they really are” over the past four decades. That would implicate presidents from Reagan to Obama.
“The big difference now is that the American media is now covering it (Chinese espionage in America and Chinese foreign adventurism)…” said Ortagus. “They’ve [China has] been doing this for quite some time. The big difference is that this administration is not ignoring it. We are shining a light on it. They continue to erode the freedom and autonomy of Hong Kong and we’re standing up to that… What we’re trying to do is to look at the Chinese Communist Party and Chairman Xi for who they really are.”
Ortagus opined, “When you download one of these apps (like TikTok)…we are concerned that American citizens’ private data gets into the hands of the Chinese Communist Party…we lost many people’s security clearance information to the CCP. We know they have the ability to do it.” She was citing a 2014 U.S. Office of Personnel Management hack that gained Chinese Intelligence access to 21 million American government personnel records.
In related news, FBI Director Christopher Wray said on Tuesday at a Hudson Institute event that Chinese identity and economic thefts against the U.S. amount to “one of the largest transfers of wealth in human history.”
“FBI Director Christopher Wray on Tuesday warned of ongoing Chinese counterintelligence threats to American companies and health care groups, saying that Chinese espionage cases had increased by 1,300 percent over the past decade.” https://t.co/ovR2xXwAoB
— Espionage News (@EspionageNews) July 8, 2020
“Of the nearly 5,000 active FBI counterintelligence cases currently under way across the country, almost half are related to China,” said Wray. “And at this very moment, China is working to compromise American health care organizations, pharmaceutical companies and academic institutions conducting essential COVID-19 research… If you’re an American adult, it is more likely than not that China has stolen your personal data.”
Director Wray also said that China “uses a diverse range of sophisticated techniques — everything from cyber intrusions to corrupting trusted insiders” and even “outright physical theft.” To achieve this they use “a wide range of actors — including not just Chinese intelligence services, but state-owned enterprises, ostensibly private companies, certain kinds of graduate students and researchers, and a whole variety of other actors working on their behalf.”
Wray said China uses social media platforms “to identify people with access to our government’s sensitive information and then target those people to try to steal it.”
Wray’s words come after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Monday that the Trump administration may restrict American access to the Chinese social media application TikTok over concerns it is used by Beijing as a means to surveil and propagandize people all over the world.
These actions by the Trump administration signal a sea change in U.S. relations with the Chinese. While America will retain a robust economic relationship with the Asian giant, American Intelligence and the White House no longer harbor illusions about Chinese ambitions and capabilities. The days of playing the China card are gone.