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Chinese spooks: A growing Red menace

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Chinese spooks: A growing Red menace

Peter Brookes (archive)

May 31, 2005 | printer friendly version Print | email to a friend Send

"One good spy is worth 10,000 soldiers." - Sun Tzu, ancient Chinese military strategist

Islamic terrorism is still the greatest threat to our national security, but Chinese espionage against the United States is gaining ground. The FBI says China will be America's greatest counterintelligence problem during the next 10-15 years.

China has seven permanent diplomatic missions in the States, staffed with intelligence personnel. But the FBI believes that as many as 3,500 Chinese "front companies" are involved in espionage for the People's Republic of China (PRC) as well.

And with the bureau focused on terrorism, the China challenge is overwhelming the FBI's counterintelligence capabilities.

The PRC has the world's third-largest intelligence apparatus (after the United States and Russia), and it's targeting America's governmental, military and high technology secrets.

China's goal is to replace the U.S. as the preeminent power in the Pacific - even globally. It's using every method possible, including espionage, to improve its political, economic and, especially, military might.

A senior FBI official said recently, "China is trying to develop a military that can compete with the U.S., and they are willing to steal to get it."

One example: Last fall in Wisconsin, a Chinese-American couple was arrested for selling $500,000 worth of computer parts to China for enhancing its missile systems. Even worse: The PRC recently fielded a new cruise missile strikingly similar to the advanced American "Tomahawk."

Chances that the similarities are a coincidence? Slim to none.

Naturally, America's hi-tech centers are a potential gold mine for Chinese spies. The FBI claims that Chinese espionage cases are rising 20 to 30 percent every year in Silicon Valley alone.

But don't think James Bond. It's all much more methodical - and mundane.

Chinese intelligence collection uses numerous low-level spies to painstakingly collect one small piece of information at a time until the intelligence question is answered. Kind of like building a beach one grain of sand at a time.

For instance, it took China 20 years to swipe American nuclear warhead designs from U.S. national nuclear weapons labs, according to a 1999 congressional committee

China also doesn't rely on "professional" spies stationed overseas to the extent other major intel services do. Instead, it uses low-profile civilians to collect information.

The PRC's Ministry of State Security (MSS) often co-opts Chinese travelers, especially businesspeople, scientists and academics, to gather intel or purchase technology while they're in America.

The MSS especially prizes overseas Chinese students, hi-tech workers and researchers living in the U.S. because of their access to sensitive technology and research/development that Beijing can use for civilian and military purposes.

Of course, not all the 150,000 Chinese students and researchers now in America, or the 25,000 official PRC delegates - or the 300,000 victors - are spies, but they do provide the MSS with a large pool of potential recruits for collecting secrets on U.S. targets of interest.

The MSS also recruits in the Chinese-American community, including sleeper agents. Developing personal relationships, invoking a common Chinese heritage, threatening cultural alienation or offering access to powerful people are persuasive in a culture where "guanxi" (connections) are important.

An equal opportunity employer, the MSS will, of course, "hire" sympathetic Americans - or any ethnicity - that will further China's cause, including scholars, journalists and diplomats, among others.

The United States isn't the only country with a Chinese spy problem. The MSS runs an espionage network against scientific labs and large research universities in several European countries, including the U.K., France, the Netherlands and Germany. In Asia, Taiwan recently arrested 17 of its military officers for working for the PRC.

China's spies and their methods aren't the most expedient or efficient in spy-dom, but the tenacity and quantity of Chinese spooks are proving effective. Unfortunately, the openness of American society provides easy access to sensitive information and technology.

Sun Tzu said that intelligence is critical to success on the battlefield. It applies to the political and economic "battlefield," too. Accordingly, China is investing heavily in espionage to match its geopolitical aspirations.

China will prove to be America's greatest foreign-policy challenge in this century. In recent months, the Pentagon, CIA, Treasury and Congress have voiced concerns about China's rapidly expanding political, economic and military clout. These are words to the wise.

We certainly can't take our eye off terrorist threats against the homeland, but neither can we risk not meeting the growing Chinese espionage menace. Both are major threats to our national security and merit significant resources and attention.

Peter Brookes, a former deputy assistant secretary of defense, is a senior fellow at The Heritage Foundation and a New York Post columnist.

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I don't even see how this guy is equating terrorism to China in terms of threat levels! China and USA are so interdependent on each other, its highly doubtful either country will get past sabre-rattling. Kudos to China for becoming a world power.

Heritage foundation - wouldn't have expected anything less.

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I don't even see how this guy is equating terrorism to China in terms of threat levels! China and USA are so interdependent on each other, its highly doubtful either country will get past sabre-rattling. Kudos to China for becoming a world power.

Heritage foundation - wouldn't have expected anything less.

Raver...I have recently read some real interesting stuff on the emergence of China.......All branches of our govt on gearing up for the challenge, or at least beginning to talk about it.....so are the think tanks and policy shops (both sides of the political aisle as well)....

I just purchased a couple of more books on the subject....but so far, real interesting stuff.....

In some ways, you can equate China to terrorism, or at least national security, in the respect that they are making all kinds of oil and weapons deals with unsavory govts, and are taking advantage of our focus on reform and democracy by providing an "alternative" partner......and they could give two shits about human rights, reform, arms control, etc......of course, the Korea and Taiwan issue is real....and we are headed for a major economic showdown with China as well.....

You probably also noticed over the past few years how we have moved to enhance our relationships and cooperation with Australia and Japan, as well as India (with the delicate balance of Pakistan).......as well as the U.S. pushing for Japan on the Security Council.....China and India are also beginning to thaw out their relationship, which scares the shit out of our govt....

And Bigpoops, ...I believe I recently saw something where the U.S. has pressured Israel from selling weapons to China, as well as France and Britain....

Raver--say what you want the Heritage foundation, but Brookes is a well respected policy maker and analysts.......and kudos to China????? are you really sure about that?

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Analysts missed Chinese buildup

By Bill Gertz

THE WASHINGTON TIMES

A highly classified intelligence report produced for the new director of national intelligence concludes that U.S. spy agencies failed to recognize several key military developments in China in the past decade, The Washington Times has learned.

The report was created by several current and former intelligence officials and concludes that U.S. agencies missed more than a dozen Chinese military developments, according to officials familiar with the report.

The report blames excessive secrecy on China's part for the failures, but critics say intelligence specialists are to blame for playing down or dismissing evidence of growing Chinese military capabilities.

The report comes as the Bush administration appears to have become more critical of China's military buildup.

Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said in Singapore over the weekend that China has hidden its defense spending and is expanding its missile forces despite facing no threats. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice also expressed worries this week about China's expanding military capabilities.

Among the failures highlighted in the study are:

•China's development of a new long-range cruise missile.

•The deployment of a new warship equipped with a stolen Chinese version of the U.S. Aegis battle management technology.

•Deployment of a new attack submarine known as the Yuan class that was missed by U.S. intelligence until photos of the submarine appeared on the Internet.

•Development of precision-guided munitions, including new air-to-ground missiles and new, more accurate warheads.

•China's development of surface-to-surface missiles for targeting U.S. aircraft carrier battle groups.

•The importation of advanced weaponry, including Russian submarines, warships and fighter-bombers.

According to officials familiar with the intelligence report, the word "surprise" is used more than a dozen times to describe U.S. failures to anticipate or discover Chinese arms development.

Many of the missed military developments will be contained in the Pentagon's annual report to Congress on the Chinese military, which was due out March 1 but delayed by interagency disputes over its contents.

Critics of the study say the report unfairly blames intelligence collectors for not gathering solid information on the Chinese military and for failing to plant agents in the communist government.

Instead, these officials said, the report looks like a bid to exonerate analysts within the close-knit fraternity of government China specialists, who for the past 10 years dismissed or played down intelligence showing that Beijing was engaged in a major military buildup.

"This report conceals the efforts of dissenting analysts [in the intelligence community] who argued that China was a threat," one official said, adding that covering up the failure of intelligence analysts on China would prevent a major reorganization of the system.

A former U.S. official said the report should help expose a "self-selected group" of specialists who fooled the U.S. government on China for 10 years.

"This group's desire to have good relations with China has prevented them from highlighting how little they know and suppressing occasional evidence that China views the United States as its main enemy."

The report has been sent to Thomas Fingar, a longtime intelligence analyst on China who was recently appointed by John D. Negroponte, the new director of national intelligence, as his office's top intelligence analyst.

Mr. Negroponte has ordered a series of top-to-bottom reviews of U.S. intelligence capabilities in the aftermath of the critical report by the presidential commission headed by Judge Laurence Silberman and former Sen. Charles Robb, Virginia Democrat.

According to the officials, the study was produced by a team of analysts for the intelligence contractor Centra Technologies.

Spokesmen for the CIA and Mr. Negroponte declined to comment.

Its main author is Robert Suettinger, a National Security Council staff member for China during the Clinton administration and the U.S. intelligence community's top China analyst until 1998. Mr. Suettinger is traveling outside the country and could not be reached for comment, a spokesman said.

John Culver, a longtime CIA analyst on Asia, was the co-author.

Among those who took part in the study were former Defense Intelligence Agency analyst Lonnie Henley, who critics say was among those who in the past had dismissed concerns about China's military in the past 10 years.

Also participating in the study was John F. Corbett, a former Army intelligence analyst and attache who was a China policy-maker at the Pentagon during the Clinton administration.

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From what I understand, China -U.S. relations aren't that bad. Aren't they on board with us in trying to disarm North Korea? And I'm sure that we spy and steal technology as much as anyone else.

My opinion...as long as China and the UK aren't with the opposition, then we are okay. Nobody else really matters.

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Analysts missed Chinese buildup

By Bill Gertz

THE WASHINGTON TIMES

A highly classified intelligence report produced for the new director of national intelligence concludes that U.S. spy agencies failed to recognize several key military developments in China in the past decade, The Washington Times has learned.

The report was created by several current and former intelligence officials and concludes that U.S. agencies missed more than a dozen Chinese military developments, according to officials familiar with the report.

The report blames excessive secrecy on China's part for the failures, but critics say intelligence specialists are to blame for playing down or dismissing evidence of growing Chinese military capabilities.

The report comes as the Bush administration appears to have become more critical of China's military buildup.

Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said in Singapore over the weekend that China has hidden its defense spending and is expanding its missile forces despite facing no threats. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice also expressed worries this week about China's expanding military capabilities.

Among the failures highlighted in the study are:

•China's development of a new long-range cruise missile.

•The deployment of a new warship equipped with a stolen Chinese version of the U.S. Aegis battle management technology.

•Deployment of a new attack submarine known as the Yuan class that was missed by U.S. intelligence until photos of the submarine appeared on the Internet.

•Development of precision-guided munitions, including new air-to-ground missiles and new, more accurate warheads.

•China's development of surface-to-surface missiles for targeting U.S. aircraft carrier battle groups.

•The importation of advanced weaponry, including Russian submarines, warships and fighter-bombers.

According to officials familiar with the intelligence report, the word "surprise" is used more than a dozen times to describe U.S. failures to anticipate or discover Chinese arms development.

Many of the missed military developments will be contained in the Pentagon's annual report to Congress on the Chinese military, which was due out March 1 but delayed by interagency disputes over its contents.

Critics of the study say the report unfairly blames intelligence collectors for not gathering solid information on the Chinese military and for failing to plant agents in the communist government.

Instead, these officials said, the report looks like a bid to exonerate analysts within the close-knit fraternity of government China specialists, who for the past 10 years dismissed or played down intelligence showing that Beijing was engaged in a major military buildup.

"This report conceals the efforts of dissenting analysts [in the intelligence community] who argued that China was a threat," one official said, adding that covering up the failure of intelligence analysts on China would prevent a major reorganization of the system.

A former U.S. official said the report should help expose a "self-selected group" of specialists who fooled the U.S. government on China for 10 years.

"This group's desire to have good relations with China has prevented them from highlighting how little they know and suppressing occasional evidence that China views the United States as its main enemy."

The report has been sent to Thomas Fingar, a longtime intelligence analyst on China who was recently appointed by John D. Negroponte, the new director of national intelligence, as his office's top intelligence analyst.

Mr. Negroponte has ordered a series of top-to-bottom reviews of U.S. intelligence capabilities in the aftermath of the critical report by the presidential commission headed by Judge Laurence Silberman and former Sen. Charles Robb, Virginia Democrat.

According to the officials, the study was produced by a team of analysts for the intelligence contractor Centra Technologies.

Spokesmen for the CIA and Mr. Negroponte declined to comment.

Its main author is Robert Suettinger, a National Security Council staff member for China during the Clinton administration and the U.S. intelligence community's top China analyst until 1998. Mr. Suettinger is traveling outside the country and could not be reached for comment, a spokesman said.

John Culver, a longtime CIA analyst on Asia, was the co-author.

Among those who took part in the study were former Defense Intelligence Agency analyst Lonnie Henley, who critics say was among those who in the past had dismissed concerns about China's military in the past 10 years.

Also participating in the study was John F. Corbett, a former Army intelligence analyst and attache who was a China policy-maker at the Pentagon during the Clinton administration.

Just like a conservative. Using a source that is owned by Reverend Moon and yields two racist journalists. :D

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