The US Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) are deeply alarmed at well-orchestrated plans by Chinese agents and scholars to penetrate the US government, companies, and universities to steal intellectual property, right under their noses.
The Federal agents working in all 56 of its field offices have been keeping a tap on an attempt to steal U.S. technology in just about every industry and sector as part of the China Initiative campaign since 2018
As compared to 24 arrests last year, the FBI has arrested 19 Chinese moles on charges of Chinese economic espionage in the current year.
Most of them were trying to extensively steal US political and economic secrets.
According to sources, not just defense-sector companies, the Chinese moles are targeting every exclusive and patented company in diverse fields from rice, to software for wind turbines or medical devices.
All this is part of a well-established Chinese move to quickly become self-reliant without wasting time or money on original research and development.
To give shape to its plans China is using all possible methods and approaches from cyber intrusions to corrupting trusted insiders or outright physical theft.
What makes this all the more bizarre is that besides Chinese intelligence officials even people working for private companies, students and researchers, and a variety of others actors all have been indoctrinated to take care of Chinese interests.
China’s Thousand Talents Plan is one of the most conspicuous Chinese recruitment plans to recruit, and cultivate high-level scientific talent for China’s scientific development, economic prosperity, and national security. The modus operandi behind this program is to lure overseas Chinese talent and foreign experts to share their knowledge and experience with China – in other words, steal proprietary information on its behalf. As a fallout of this, much of the R&D work done using US government grants at Harvard and other prestigious universities is reported to have ended up in the possession of the Chinese government in the past few years.
FBI is reportedly investigating the role played by many US and Chinese professors, students, and professionals in the US being used as a conduit by Chinese intelligence agencies to steal secret data.
These sponsorships usually involve government funds for starting a business around stolen information.
The first such case of china-sponsored economic espionage came to light when the FBI allegedly arrested a Chinese intelligence officer for hacking in October 2018.