National Counterintelligence and Security Center Director Bill Evanina is ringing the alarm bells for the Biden administration stating that China poses a broad and severe threat to our country. He said that its malign foreign-influence campaign against the United States will be one of the “bigger challenges” for the incoming Biden administration. China allegedly views Biden as weak just as Russia and Iran do.
The U.S. is on the brink of a cold war with the communist Chinese. Evanina is warning of this and he is laying out the massive threat China is from big-data collection to economic espionage, to malign foreign influence, to supply-chain and critical infrastructure. Their reach and impact on the U.S. are frightening.
“From a threat perspective, Russia is a significant adversary particularly with regard to cyber intrusions, malign influence, and sowing discord in our democracy,” Evanina told Fox News. “However, no country poses a broader, more severe intelligence collection threat to America than China.”
Evanina is leaving his post this week but before he does, he is making it clear to the incoming administration that China’s malign foreign-influence is something that the intelligence community has seen intensifying over the last several years.
“Specifically, in the last year, with respect to the death of George Floyd, COVID, the vaccine, the election process — we saw foreign adversaries, including China, working diligently to expose and amplify discourse in the U.S.,” Evanina stated, pointing to an amplified social media presence from China in an effort to “continue to stoke the fire and sow discourse in America.”
“China continues to engage in a highly-sophisticated malign foreign-influence campaign against America because we are a democracy, and democracy is bad for China,” The country’s methods include “bribery, blackmail, covert dealings with businesses, and an effort to influence American policies and attitudes so that they align with China’s interests globally.”
“This is not only just a government problem,” Evanina somberly intoned. “This is a society problem.” Some would argue it is a global problem.
“We have to educate America so they know what malign influence tastes like, smells like, looks like, so when they see it, they can call it out,” he explained. “This will take a whole of society approach, invoking the government, the intelligence community, law enforcement, social media, big tech companies, to be able to say what this is.”
He contends that the U.S. actually has “an advantage” with the incoming Biden administration, saying they have “started early,” receiving their presidential daily briefings, and receiving and analyzing intelligence streams. Whether they will act upon the intel remains to be seen.
“When the Biden administration steps in on day one, they will have an optic of how pernicious and sophisticated the threat — not only from the Chinese Communist Party, but from Russia, Iran, and others,” he said. “And they will have a head start in trying to find the correct avenues to pivot and understand the threat, and find creative ways to mitigate the threat.”
“I think the challenge for the Biden administration will be to understand the scope and scale of some of the Chinese threats in the American landscape, domestically, and what is the best course to defeat that,” Evanina continued. “I have confidence they’ll be able to do that when they get in here because there are scores of professional intelligence officers and law enforcement folks that are working around the world that will help them to find solutions.”
Top US counterintelligence official Bill Evanina speaking on @postlive warns of threats to US vaccine supply chain. Says efforts going on to protect it against adversaries who might try to disrupt. References Russia and China when asked by @nakashimae of which states concern him
— Gordon Corera (@gordoncorera) January 12, 2021
We have seen in just the last month that China actively has spies targeting our top leaders. Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) is a great example of this. He has been ensnared in a honeypot trap by a Chinese spy named Fang Fang. These Chinese spies are actively “engaged” in identifying elected officials at the state, local, and federal levels.
“The ones who are pro-China or pro-trade, they will facilitate and enhance their candidacies for a long time,” Evanina noted. “That’s basic lobbying by a foreign government, which is standard.”
Evanina did not comment on Swalwell, but he did say this is “nothing new.” It’s been going on for decades. Blackmail is a calling-card of Chinese espionage.
“When it gets to vicious aspects, with respect to cornering officials and putting them in a position where they have to make hard economic choices locally, it makes it really tough for them,” Evanina explained. “I think anything that the Chinese Communist Party does with respect to elected officials is nothing new — it is just widespread all across the ecosystem of America.”
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