“Boston is a target rich environment” – DOJ Officials
Federal officials are warning colleges that they are a target and to beware of the potential for Chinese spies committing “economic espionage”. They are confirming that Chinese intelligence services have sent “thousands” of people to U.S. colleges:
“At the Justice Department, 90 percent of our cases involving espionage, economic espionage, involve China, and 65 percent of our trade secrets cases involve Chinese companies or Chinese nationals. A significant portion of what we’re seeing on the economic espionage side is and originates from the Chinese government.” – John Demers, Justice Department
Andrew Lelling, the U.S. attorney for Massachusetts, told reporters Friday:
“This isn’t about targeting everyone who’s a Chinese national. But there are thousands who are directly linked to a state-sponsored effort to steal intellectual property.”
The Justice Department calls the threat “economic espionage” and confirms it harms America’s national security and economy
John Demers, the assistant attorney general at the Justice Department voiced concerns about students and visiting professors: “The message to all the schools is: One, be aware that you are a target. Universities also have a lot of people coming in and out: students, visiting professors who are here for a year … You may not know the folks there as well as you do maybe in a company.”
According to the most recent State Department data, more than 363,000 Chinese students studied in the U.S. in 2017-2018, nearly a third of all international students enrolled at U.S. institutions.
FBI Director Christopher Wray warned last year that China was using “nontraditional” intelligence collectors to launch a “whole-of-society” threat against the U.S. Those worries found an echo among lawmakers who worry that Chinese educational programs are platforms for propaganda and influence operations, while Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has been warning European allies that Chinese tech giants such as Huawei and ZTE are also being used as spy assets.
While the Democrats scream “Russia, Russia, Russia”, the real problem is with China. President Trump has been right on target with his assessment of the threat from China.