This revelation was uncovered by a Senate Intelligence Committee panel held on Wednesday, Aug. 4. During this panel, senators spoke with former Deputy National Security Advisor Matthew Pottinger, who served during the administration of former President Donald Trump.
Pottinger warned that Beijing was looking to use the data it obtained through hacking and cyber theft by blackmailing or otherwise coercing everyone from political leaders to private citizens to do the bidding of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
“Assembling dossiers on people has always been a feature of Leninist regimes,” said Pottinger. “But Beijing’s penetration of digital networks worldwide, including using 5G networks … has really taken this to a new level.” Pottinger is referring to the first leader of the former Soviet Union, Vladimir Lenin.
“So, the Party now compiles dossiers on millions of foreign citizens around the world, using the material that it gathers to influence, target, intimidate, reward, blackmail, flatter, humiliate and ultimately divide and conquer.”
Pottinger added that not only has Beijing stolen data on every single American adult. He claims that the communist regime has enough data on many American children as well. People under the age of 18 are also considered “fair game under Beijing’s rules of political warfare.”
The former deputy national security advisor also warned the Senate about Beijing’s broader efforts to influence the U.S. through its “United Front” strategy.
The United Front is the CCP’s global effort to spread communist propaganda and influence individuals and decision-makers worldwide.
Pottinger claimed that the U.S. fails to take into account “one of the most threatening elements of Chinese strategy,” which is to influence and coerce Americans into serving the CCP.
“The United Front gathers intelligence about works to influence private citizens as well as government officials overseas, with a focus on foreign elites and the businesses they run,” said Pottinger.
Chinese President Xi Jinping himself has called the United Front his “magic weapon” for bringing about “the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.”
US not doing enough to counter Chinese cyber threat
During a different part of the Senate hearing, Trump’s former director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center William Evanina also provided testimony.
Firstly, Evanina concurred with his colleague. He said around 80 percent of American adults have had virtually all of their personal online data stolen by the CCP. The remaining 20 percent have had at least some of their personal data stolen.
Evanina said that the U.S. faces an “existential threat” due to the power of the CCP.
“The Communist Party of China is the most complex, pernicious, strategic and aggressive [threat] our nation has ever faced,” he said.
Evanina explained that the cyberwar is just one theater in the CCP’s “comprehensive and whole of country approach” to targeting the U.S.
According to him, China is attempting to use every single tactic it knows to “invest, leverage, infiltrate, influence and steal from every corner of U.S. success.”
He pointed out that the CCP and its intelligence services are more than willing to obtain data through legal and illegal means. The goal here is to gain an edge against the U.S. in a variety of fields, including artificial intelligence, research, development programs, the military and the economy.
“Over the past decade, we have seen CCP cyber and insider threat breaches and criminality to such a level I fear we are becoming numb when it is identified,” said Evanina.
The U.S. is a regular target of CCP-sponsored cyberattacks. America and many of its major allies recently blamed China’s Ministry of State Security for a massive hack against Microsoft.
America and its allies charged China with a wide range of “malicious cyber activities.” (Related: US and allies condemn China for massive cyberattack against Microsoft email servers.)
But America did not implement sanctions against China. The White House claimed it has already raised its concerns about “malicious cyber activity” sponsored by senior Chinese officials.
The administration of President Joe Biden has done nothing else to deal with the issue of Chinese cyberattacks.
Learn more about the U.S.-China cyberwar by reading the latest articles at CyberWar.news.