Thursday, June 02, 2005

Chinese spooks: A growing Red menace

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

Sage advice from the great Sun Tzu, who's works I have studied extensively. The Chinese have not ignored the General either, nor this particular piece of advice. Peter Brooks expands on this in his article.

"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.""

Of course, the Clinton adminstration helpoed the Chinese along, add that to the spying activities and you can see how China has been able to rapidly advance the technological capabilities of their military.

"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."

This reminds me of how the Soviets would introduse a new weapons system that was strikingly similiar to an American weapons system introduced some time earlier. Silicon Valley is a pumb target for espionage from many countries just not China. With so many resources dedicated to terrorism, our intelligence services are overwhelmed.

"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."

Spying does not have to be the what is seen in those 007 movies. The use of many innoucous types, students, scientists, etc., can net results if one is patient. One piece ofinformation here, another there and eventually you get the whole picture.

"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. "

While we cannot ignore the terrorist threat, we also cannot ignore the threat that China is posing. In time, it is a threat we will have to face. The build up of the Chinese navy, especially their submarine capability, should be hoisting red flags all over Washington. Perhaps we need more of our political leaders reading Sun Tzu and have them reading the polls a hell of a lot less. - Sailor

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