Thursday, May 18, 2006

China Identified As Biggest Counterintelligence Worry

U.S. counterintelligence officials are saying that China is ramping up it's attempts at acquiring defense-related technology inside the United States.

China is running aggressive and wide-ranging espionage operations aimed at stealing U.S. weapons technology that could be useful against U.S. forces, according to the nation's top spy-catchers.

U.S. counterintelligence officials have also detected an expansion of spy networks run by Russia, Cuba and Iran targeting the U.S. government and, in the case of Iran, U.S. military technology, according to Timothy Bereznay, assistant director of the FBI's Counterintelligence Division.

China, however, has emerged as the leading espionage threat, Bereznay and Stephen Bogni, a senior investigator for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), said in separate interviews.

China has "put out a shopping list" of weapons and components it is seeking to arms dealers and middlemen, Bogni said. These middlemen, often ethnic Chinese, operate out of shell companies in the USA, he said. The list includes night-vision gear, radar-evading and radar- and communications-jamming equipment, missile-guidance systems and torpedoes.

On Wednesday, one accused Chinese spy, Taiwanese businessman Ko-Suen "Bill" Moo, pleaded guilty to charges he tried to buy military parts and weapons, including an F-16 fighter jet engine and cruise missiles...

The FBI has arrested 25 Chinese nationals or Chinese Americans in cases involving the targeting of U.S. technology in the past two years, an unprecedented level of espionage compared to prior years, Guerin said. Most of the cases involve alleged theft of sensitive technology. ICE has initiated more than 400 investigations since 2000 involving illicit export of U.S. arms and strategic technology to China, according to agency statistics.


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