Intel Committee launches probe into security threats posed by China


By: Jim Kouri, CPP

Chairman Mike Rogers (R-MI)  and Ranking Member Dutch Ruppersberger (D-IL)  alerted concerned parties within the intelligence community and the corporate security industry that the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence officially launched a probe into the alleged threats posed by Chinese-owned telecommunications companies working within the United States, and the U.S. government’s response to that threat.

Since becoming Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence in January 2011, Chairman Rogers and Ranking Member Ruppersberger have been adamant that the committee remain focused on the threat posed to our nation’s security and critical infrastructure by the expansion of Chinese-owned telecommunications companies – including Huawei and ZTE — into the U.S. telecommunications infrastructure.

Intelligence collection is no longer limited to classified national defense information but now includes targeting of the elements of national power, including U.S. national economic interests. Moreover, foreign intelligence tradecraft is increasingly sophisticated and takes full advantage of advances in communications security and the general openness of U.S. society.

In the United States, the FBI is suspicious of Russia, Iran, and North Korea but have focused mostly on the Chinese. The feds estimate that there are over 2,600 Chinese front companies in the U.S

The almost legendary MI5 British counterintelligence service is said to be deeply concerned over an increase in spying by Chinese operatives in the United Kingdom. Although intelligence experts aren’t certain how widespread the problem is, they believe the espionage is rampant and a serious consequence of the global economy.

MI5 suspects upwards of 15 foreign intelligence services are working within the UK and are a threat to the United Kingdom’s interests, and the primary focus of their counterespionage efforts are the Chinese and Russians.

Over 10 months ago, Chairman Rogers instructed committee staff to conduct a preliminary review of this threat and the Obama Administration’s response to that threat. After a series of meetings, briefings, and studies with the intelligence community and the private sector, this preliminary review suggests that the threat to the supply chain constitutes a rising national security concern of the highest priority.

Further, Chairman Rogers and Ranking Member Ruppersberger understand that while the Executive Branch continues to internally review the issue and discuss recommendations for mitigating the threat, more can be done, according to an intelligence source who spoke to the Law Enforcement Examiner.
This latest House investigation will review the extent to which these companies provide the Chinese government an opportunity for greater foreign espionage, threaten U.S. critical infrastructure, and further the opportunity for Chinese economic espionage.
The committee will also review whether the United States government – including the collection resources of the intelligence community – are appropriately focused on discovering the full scope of the Chinese threat and developing mitigation measures to ensure the security of our nation’s telecommunications networks.
“The fact that our critical infrastructure could be used against us is of serious concern,” said Chairman Rogers.
“We are looking at the overall infrastructure threat and Huawei happens to be the 800 pound gorilla in the room, but there are other companies that will be included in the investigation as well. As the formal investigation begins, I stand by my caution to the American business community about engaging Huawei technology until we can fully determine their motives,” said Rogers.
“We already know the Chinese are aggressively hacking into our nation’s networks, threatening our critical infrastructure and stealing secrets worth millions of dollars in intellectual property from American companies. This jeopardizes our national security and hurts U.S. competitiveness in the world market, costing our country countless jobs.
“The same way hacking can be a threat, vulnerabilities can derive from compromised hardware on which our telecommunications industry rely. The purpose of this investigation is to determine to what extent Chinese communications companies are exploiting the global supply chain and how we can mitigate this threat to our national and economic security.” said Ruppersberger.
Chairman Rogers, as a former FBI special agent, and Ranking Member Ruppersberger, as a former prosecutor, say they understand that an investigation must be allowed to go where it leads. Thus, they are prepared to use the full scope of the committee’s oversight and investigative powers to uncover the truth of this threat and our government’s efforts to discover and respond to that threat., according to a Rogers press statement.
The Committee will seek information from relevant telecommunications providers, request information and briefings from private-sector telecommunications security experts, conduct interviews with key U.S. government officials, and hold a series of hearings and briefings to uncover what these Chinese companies are capable of doing and how our intelligence community could be better focused on this threat.
About The Author Jim Kouri, CPP:
Jim Kouri, CPP is currently fifth vice-president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police and he's a columnist for The Examiner (examiner.com) and New Media Alliance (thenma.org). In addition, he's a blogger for the Cheyenne, Wyoming Fox News Radio affiliate KGAB (www.kgab.com). Kouri also serves as political advisor for Emmy and Golden Globe winning actor Michael Moriarty. He's former chief at a New York City housing project in Washington Heights nicknamed "Crack City" by reporters covering the drug war in the 1980s. In addition, he served as director of public safety at a New Jersey university and director of security for several major organizations. He's also served on the National Drug Task Force and trained police and security officers throughout the country. Kouri writes for many police and security magazines including Chief of Police, Police Times, The Narc Officer and others. He's a news writer and columnist for AmericanDaily.Com, MensNewsDaily.Com, MichNews.Com, and he's syndicated by AXcessNews.Com. Kouri appears regularly as on-air commentator for over 100 TV and radio news and talk shows including Fox News Channel, Oprah, McLaughlin Report, CNN Headline News, MTV, etc. To subscribe to Kouri's newsletter write to COPmagazine@aol.com and write "Subscription" on the subject line.
Website:http://jimkouri.us

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