Rep. Rogers on Chinese Espionage

Rep. Rogers on Chinese Espionage

By John King, USA - October 4, 2011

KING: Breaking news on Capitol Hill. After a dire warning about the level of Chinese espionage, both corporate and military targeting the United States. Listen here to the charm of the house intelligence committee.


REP. MIKE ROGERS, (R), SELECT INTELLIGENCE CHAIRMAN: China's economic espionage has reached an intolerable level and I believe the United States and our allies in Europe and Asia have an obligation to confront Beijing and demand they put a stop to this piracy.


KING: Find out what he means just moments ago I spoke to the chairman, Mike Rogers.


KING: Chairman Rogers, you say intolerable level the United States and its allies need to do something about it. What specifically what specifically do you think the United States should do to retaliate against China for this?

ROGERS: Well, first of all we've got get our act together here. We need to give our intelligence community and the private sector the tools that they need and we have policy, you know, the laws have not been updated really to address this onslaught of state-sponsored cyber-industrial espionage. And so we've got to get our policies up to date. That's the first step.

Then we need to engage our allies, both in Europe and Asia to come together to start putting pressure on Beijing. You know this is one of those things that nobody's wanted to talk about. We've danced around it for years. It is a real and growing problem and it doesn't mean when they steal it today it's damaged today. It means once they take it, and then reprogram it, and use it for economic predatory behavior by putting it and challenging it against us in international market, a few years from now, that means people are going to lose their jobs, and we're going to be less of a powerful economic force in the world, and that's why so it's dangerous and we have to get our act together.

KING: Well, let us be as specific as you can be. What are they stealing, plans for new products? Is this just economic? Is this military as well?

ROGERS: Well, they have traditional espionage activities and those would be military plans and intentions and technologies and those things. That traditional espionage, yes, they're clearly interested in that. But this is something different and something that nobody in the intelligence community has quite seen before, even at the height of the Soviet Union and their prowess in the intelligence business. This is purely commercial espionage.

They're going into manufacturing plants and businesses of all sorts and oil and gas and you name it. They're getting into those commuter networks and stealing intellectual property, research and development, and there is case after case after case where they have done that. And they're slow and they're methodical about it because they want the secrets that those companies hold so they can take it back to China, re-create it, and then get in the business of whatever that they have just stolen and sell to rest of the world and that's the real trouble and why it's so trouble. I know Europe is having this problem. Our friends in Asia are having this problem. This is very, very serious, and it really does attack us at our economic prowess, and that's what's so concerning to me.

It's at a breathtaking pace, John. And that's why today I thought it was so important that we finally start addressing it to Beijing and start building, I think, an international pressure on Beijing to stop industrial espionage at the level they're doing. It's just, as I said, breath taking and it's dangerous.

KING: And for somebody watching at home, nine percent unemployment in the country right now, can you put a price tag on it, how the value of the information they are stealing, and the potential number of American jobs that could get lost because of what you see as a brazen crime?

ROGERS: Well, I will tell you. From just from their lack of protection on intellectual property in the last decade when it comes to automotive part we think it was 750,000 jobs lost just in doing it that way. They've come into a new phase and I think that 750,000 job is going to be a drop in the bucket when this thing is done.

We know how - one example, one particular company had over a billion, with a "b" dollars of research and development of a product they were getting ready to take to market. We know that company had that information stolen. Think of the job possibilities there. Think of the lost capital, think of the lost investment that happens when that kind of thing happens and that's just one company.

And we know, I think there are two kinds of companies out there, those that know that they have been penetrated and those that don't. And that's how serious it is. And so you can just extrapolate the lost economy, as we move forward, and I think this is part of Chinese national structured strategy on how to slow down and bring the United States to our knees in the future and it's something we better get our hands on now.

KING: Well, they deny doing it, of course. The Chinese government recently said, "Allegations that the Chinese government supports hacking activities are completely unfounded and made with ulterior motives." Address that, I think I know part of your answer. But as you do, does the political leadership here, your speaker has just said on a bill that would impose some trade restrictions because of China's currencies said we don't want to met until that.

Does the president of the United States have to worry about Chinese holding U.S. debt, other issues in the relationship, do you see whether it's the Republican speak or the democratic president, the resolve to take it to the level you think it needs to go?

ROGERS: Well again, I think this is completely different. Think of it this way. If I showed up in a factory in des Moines, Iowa, and stuck a gun in the plant manager's forehead and said give me your blueprints and your plans for your production facility and I get them and jump on a plane and go overseas, I guarantee you there's a team of FBI agents shortly thereafter coming to get you and we're looking for extra decision and all of those things.

What's the difference if somebody steals that through a pipe or electronic? It's the same thing. It has the same impact. My argument is this is thievery. This is very different than nation states who are trying to find out plans and intentions for different nation and what their threat level would be. This is wholesale platen thievery of intellectual property and it's happening in thousands and thousands of times all across the country and I think it's going to have a huge economic impact. I think we can come together, I did a, after the committee, it was very bipartisan, both my ranking member and myself are clearly in line on this particular issue and we've joined voices on this.

And I think that's important. So I think we can make this bipartisan. We should make it bipartisan. And by the way, when they deny it that means all of the Europeans are wrong, other nation states are wrong, United States is wrong, and the only one that's not wrong in this is China. So, I think this is time for them to shake themselves out and say do you want to be a good world citizen? Do you want to play by the rules? Do you want to engage in trade that's fair and honest, or do you want to steal your way to a better future for China? If you're going to do that we have to stand up and take a strong against what they are doing.

KING: Fascinating challenge. Thanks for your time tonight. 

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