House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers will be hosting a discussion on protecting American innovation in cyberspace at a press event on November 30th sponsored by several telecom industry interest groups.
The event follows last week's announcement that the Intelligence Committee has launched an investigation into possible threats posed by Chinese telecom companies operating within the United States.
Chairman Rogers had previously initiated a preliminary inquiry into Chinese espionage operations which subsequently determined the need for further investigation into threats aimed at the U.S. technology supply chain, critical infrastructure, proprietary information, and intellectual property.
The committee's focus thus far surrounds concerns over Chinese telecom giant Huawei and their relationship to the People's Liberation Army (PLA).
"The fact that our critical infrastructure could be used against us is of serious concern. 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.
A report which details China's electronic espionage and intelligence apparatus which was released earlier this week by researchers at the Project 2049 Institute concludes that China's intelligence gathering is not limited to national security and military efforts, but may also be geared towards gaining an economic advantage as well.
The report, titled "The Chinese People's Liberation Army Signal Intelligence and Cyber Reconnaissance Infrastructure", indicates that China has established a sophisticated multi-departmental organization for the purpose of espionage which includes both military and civilian entities.
The report states with confidence that China is monitoring all communications within their borders, including those associated with foreign embassies and multinational corporations, and that they are probably able to defeat all but the most advanced forms of encryption, leaving a vast amount of sensitive information vulnerable to interception.
The Intelligence Committee's investigation will be looking into suspected Chinese espionage operations within the U.S.and the role telecom companies like Huawei may be playing.
"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 ranking committee member Rep. C. A. "Dutch" Ruppersberger .
The United States Office of the Counterintelligence Executive (ONCIX) also recently released a report that documents the billions of dollars in intellectual property and classified information being lost every year to cyber espionage.
The report, titled Foreign Spies Stealing U.S. Economic Secrets in Cyberspace, boldly suggests that state-sponsored entities in both China and Russia, among other offenders, are systematically targeting US government and private sector networks in an effort to pilfer valuable information that has tremendous economic value.