Spy chiefs warn of ‘unparalleled’ China threat

(photo: Pixabay)
WASHINGTON, DC — US spy agency leaders warned on Wednesday of the “unparalleled threat” posted by China, citing Beijing’s regional aggression, cyber capabilities and economic clout as they testified at a public congressional “Worldwide Threats” hearing for the first time in more than two years.اضافة اعلان

“China increasingly is a near-peer competitor challenging the United States in multiple arenas, while pushing to revise global norms in ways that favor the authoritarian Chinese system,” Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines told the Senate Intelligence Committee.

“(China) also has substantial cyber capabilities that if deployed, at a minimum, can cause localized, temporary disruptions to critical infrastructure inside the United States,” Haines said.

Haines’ opening statement also cited Russian efforts to undermine US influence, Iran’s contribution to instability in the Middle East, global terrorism, and potential North Korean efforts to “drive wedges” between Washington and its allies as significant threats.

This was the first public “Worldwide Threats” hearing on global threats to the United States since January 2019. They were not held during the last two years of the administration of former president Donald Trump, who often clashed with the nation’s security agencies.

Democratic Senator Mark Warner, the committee’s chairman, said he had been “dismayed” that there had been no hearing last year. The panel’s top Republican, Senator Marco Rubio, also cited the importance of the hearing.

Warner noted the effort Beijing had put into making the Chinese technology firm Huawei a leader of advanced 5G systems, and said he was concerned it might make similar efforts in other emerging technologies.

Noting the dangers of hacking like the recent SolarWinds attack, Warner said: “We may also want to develop new international norms where certain types of attacks are prohibited, just as the use of chemical or bioweapons is banned.”

The hearing took place a day after US intelligence agencies released a sweeping report on global threats.