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US attacks Chinese e-spying

The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee spoke in unusually sharp terms on Tuesday about China’s alleged efforts to steal American commercial data online, saying Beijing’s cyber-espionage campaign has “reached an intolerable level” that demands action.

world Updated: Oct 06, 2011 01:05 IST
Ellen Nakashima

The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee spoke in unusually sharp terms on Tuesday about China’s alleged efforts to steal American commercial data online, saying Beijing’s cyber-espionage campaign has “reached an intolerable level” that demands action.

“Beijing is waging a massive trade war on us all, and we should band together to pressure them to stop,” said representative Mike Rogers, at a hearing on cyber-threats and national security. “Combined, the US and our allies in Europe and Asia have significant diplomatic and economic leverage over China, and we should use this to our advantage to put an end to this scourge.”

He said that China’s espionage targets go beyond the US government and military to include scores of private American companies.

The Chinese government has denied accusations from other nations that it has engaged in a cyber-campaign to steal intellectual property.

But security experts have long said that hackers supported by or linked to the Chinese government exploit system flaws to sneak into the networks of major financial, defense and technology companies in the US.

Rogers said the US could use trade or diplomatic avenues in response to Chinese cyber-espionage. He and others have suggested pursuing the issue at the World Trade Organisation or in other international forums.

In an exclusive partnership with The Washington Post