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U.S. sees flow of classified data to China as 'insider threat': report

ROC Central News Agency

2013/03/26 20:07:50

Washington, March 25 (CNA) Several cases involving U.S. defense contractors allegedly passing classified military information to Chinese people have given rise recently to concern among U.S. intelligence agencies over national security and business crises.

The Washington Post reported Monday that the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) called such cases a growing "insider threat" that has not drawn as much attention as Chinese cyber operations. But U.S. authorities warned that this type of espionage can be just as damaging to national security and American business.

According to the report, Sixing Liu, a Chinese citizen who worked at L-3's space and navigation division, was sentenced March 18 in a federal court to five years and 10 months in prison on charges related to stealing trade secrets and violating the U.S.' arms export control laws.

He was found guilty of giving China thousands of files about a device called a disk resonator gyroscope and other defense systems, in violation of a U.S. arms embargo.

Over the past four years, nearly 100 individual or corporate defendants have been charged by the Justice Department with stealing trade secrets or classified information for Chinese entities or exporting military or dual-use technology to China, according to court records.

The targets of all this theft are some of the biggest and best-known U.S. defense contractors and private companies with household names such as Northrop Grumman, Boeing, General Dynamics, Ford, DuPont and Dow Chemical.

"America is a global leader in the development of military technologies and, as such, it has become a leading target for the theft and illicit transfer of such technologies," the report said citing John Carlin, acting assistant attorney general for national security.

The intelligence community has assessed China to be among the most aggressive collectors of sensitive U.S. information and technologies, the report said.

Earlier this month, a Chinese citizen who worked as a contractor at NASA's Langley Research Center was arrested at Dulles Airport and charged with making false statements to federal agents about the laptop and SIM card he was carrying.

According to an FBI affidavit, the suspect, Bo Jiang, 31, had taken a NASA laptop that contained sensitive information on a previous trip to China.

Also earlier this month, a U.S. defense contractor in Hawaii, Benjamin Pierce Bishop, 59, was charged with passing classified information about nuclear weapons and ballistic missile systems to his 27-year-old Chinese girlfriend.

These cases came to light as tensions between the United States and China over cyber-attacks have been escalating.

(By Lin Shu-yuan and Y.L. Kao)

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