Tuesday, December 05, 2006

US - China accused of 'aggressive' spying

Robert Gates - ill informed on China's spying

China was in the spotlight during Senate questions to Donald Rumsfeld’s replacement today. Robert Gates, who has served with the CIA, said he had not read reports pertaining to “aggressive espionage” which the Chinese were engaged in. It was said that China was blinding US satellites [Daily Telegraph / Defense News] and hackers have attacked US computer systems. Chinese computer attacks have been prolific since a US spy plane flew into Chinese airspace in early 2001 [BBC]. The hacker attacks are intended as retaliation for the death of a Chinese pilot in the incident involving an American spyplane. Websites such as KillUSA.com and Sohu are filled with messages pointing to proposed cracking targets such as the United States' Defense Technical Information Center and the Defense Department's news site, along with encouragement to "Hack it Great Chinese!!!" [Wired.com]. Several attacks against US military computers have been identified as coming from China [Strategypage.com].

In mid November the Washington Times reported that a Chinese submarine had tailed a US aircraft carrier [Jerusalem Post]. This has been denied by the Chinese, but Adm. William Fallon, commander of US Pacific Command, told reporters in Malaysia that the USS Kitty Hawk carrier and its supporting ships were conducting exercises in an unidentified location when the encounter occurred. Fallon said the carrier group was not engaged in anti-submarine exercises, but if it had been, "and if this Chinese sub came in the middle of this, then it could have escalated into something that could have been very unforeseen." The continued spying on the US has increased concern in many parts of the US administration. At the end of November it was revealed that B-2 stealth bomber secrets may have found their way into the hands of Chinese authorities. U.S. officials have said that a Hawaii-based spy allegedly obtained critical technology that would allow Beijing to copy and counter one of America’s most advanced weapons systems. Investigation reveals that U.S. Stealth technology may have been leaking since 1999 [The Trumpet.com].

In a report in the Washington Times it is alleged that Chinese officials paid former defense contractor Noshir S. Gowadia, an Indian-born citizen, millions of dollars for a prolific dossier of information. It is alleged that Mr Gowadia helped the Chinese modify a cruise missile so that it can intercept U.S. air-to-air missiles. With a recent assassination in London, blamed on the Russian secret service by some, and with revelations over efforts by Chinese spys to procure US military secrets, it may seem to many that a new cold war is beginning. What is had to comprehend is the lack of knowledge Mr Gates had on the subject. In his reply to the Senate panel he said, “I’ve not read the reports, but I would be more than willing to do so, I’ve been aware just from reading in the newspapers. It’s been a number of years since I’ve received any classified intelligence on what the Chinese were up to. But it’s been my impression they’ve had a very aggressive intelligence gathering efforts against the United States. Some of these other things you’ve mentioned, it’s the first time I’ve heard about that, and clearly if confirmed it’s something I would want to get more informed on.”

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