The Complex

Rogers: U.S. must confront China on cyber theft and espionage

The U.S. government must confront China about its cyber attacks against United States-based companies, said House intelligence committee chair, Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.)

"We need direct talks with China and it needs to be at the top of a bilateral discussion about cyber espionage," Rogers told Killer Apps after a speech at the Center for Strategic and International Studies on Wednesday. "This is a problem of epic proportions here and they need to be called on the carpet. There has been absolutley no consequences for what they have been able to steal and repurpose to date."

Rogers suggested that the U.S. begin implementing trade sanctions and "identifying individuals who participate in this, go after their visas, go after family travel, all of the levers we have at the Department of State, the problem is that bad."

Rogers comments come as U.S. officials are reported to be preparing a National Intelligence Estimate detailing the scope of cyber espionage and theft committed against the U.S. by China. Late last month it was revealed that hackers, possibly based in China, had penetrated the networks of The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal.

Last October Rogers' committee accused Chinese telecommunications giants Huawei and ZTE of spying on U.S. businesses for the Chinese government. Rogers and Rep. Dutch Ruppersburger (D-Md.) urged U.S. companies not to do businesses with Huawei or ZTE.

U.S. intelligence officials have repeatedly said that China has stolen billions of dollars worth of intellectual property from the United States. U.S. Army Gen. Keith Alexander, commander of U.S. Cyber Command, has called this theft the greatest transfer of wealth in history.

Defense contractors working on the U.S.'s mainstay fighter jet for the 21st Century, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter suffered a cyber breach believed to be executed by Chinese-backed hackers in 2007 and 2008. In late 2012, China unveiled its second stealth fighter, the J-31 -- a plane that bears a striking resemblance to the F-35.

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