On the Washington Examiner.
The Obama administration is failing to adequately defend American companies against Chinese commercial espionage, according to two former intelligence officials.
"We need to find a way to raise the consequences for Chinese economic espionage. Signing an agreement where we both agree that we won't do it tells me that they are in exactly the wrong place to push back on Chinese economic espionage," Mike Rogers, former House Intelligence Committee chairman, told the Washington Examiner.
A Sept. 25 agreement between President Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping stated that both countries would refrain from engaging in such espionage, but officials have largely dismissed the agreement as futile.
In testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday, retired Gen. Keith Alexander said the U.S. is unnecessarily allowing the espionage to take place. "China is stealing everything they can to grow their economy," Alexander said. "It's intellectual property, it's our future. I think it's the greatest transfer of wealth in history. And interestingly, we could stop that. I believe that."
Alexander, who led the National Security Agency from 2010 to 2014, said that joint defense efforts between government and private industry would be successful in deterring future attacks, and said joint exercises between the two would be helpful.
"Industry is willing to pay their portion for cyberdefense, I'm convinced of that," he said. "And if they did their part right in defending what you need ... to tell the nation when they're under attack, you could stop attacks from Iran, Russia and China, and we should do that," he added.
China has been particularly aggressive in stealing American trade secrets, and a growing body of evidence suggests the country is not abiding by its September commitment.
"The agreement was, candidly, laughable," Rogers added. "The Chinese got the U.S. government a piece of paper saying they won't conduct economic espionage going forward. Well, it's already against the law for the U.S. to conduct economic espionage. We don't do it. Our intelligence services don't steal intellectual property from another country's company and give it to the private sector in order to produce that product."
Cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike said in an October blog post that it appeared the Chinese had hacked at least seven of its Fortune 400 clients for the purpose of stealing commercial secrets in the last month, beginning the day after the agreement was made. A second firm, FireEye, said Chinese malware is still active in the systems that it observes.