5 things: FBI says it constantly investigates China 3:00
The FBI has more than 2,000 investigations related to the Chinese government and opens a new one "every 10 hours," the entity's director told the US Senate Intelligence Commission on Wednesday.
In his testimony, FBI Director Christopher Wray noted that no other country poses a greater threat to America's economic security and democratic ideals than China, adding that its ability to influence American institutions was "profound, broad and persistent. '
Wray's comments come amid growing tensions between Washington and Beijing on a variety of fronts, including alleged human rights abuses in China's western Xinjiang region and issues related to Taiwan and Hong Kong.
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US National Intelligence Director Avril Haines and CIA Director William Burns spoke alongside Wray at Wednesday's hearing, which was the first group public testimony of the nation's intelligence leaders before the U.S. Congress since 2019.
In particular, Wray identified an accusation related to a Chinese government operation called "Foxhunt", which allegedly involved Beijing carrying out "uncoordinated illegal law enforcement activities" on US soil as a means to "threaten, intimidate, harass ( and) blackmailing ”members of the ethnically Chinese“ diaspora ”.
"It's an indication and an illustration of how challenging and diverse this particular threat is," Wray said.
The Chinese government views "Operation Foxhunt" as an international anti-corruption campaign targeting fugitives from China, often former officials or wealthy individuals suspected of economic crimes.
China's Foreign Ministry has previously defended the actions of its agents abroad, noting that "Chinese police authorities strictly observe international law" and accused US criticism of being "driven by ulterior motives."
The hearing comes less than a week after the US intelligence community released its Annual Threat Assessment, in which it warned that the governments of China and Russia were aiming to use the covid-19 pandemic to increase its global influence.
The report said Beijing "stepped up efforts to shape the political environment" in the United States, to try to assert its political influence and stifle criticism of its own policies, including the crackdown on civil liberties in Xinjiang and Hong Kong.
On Wednesday, Haines told the Senate Intelligence Committee that the Chinese government had "substantial" cyber capabilities that, "if implemented, can at the very least cause temporary localized disruptions to critical infrastructure within the United States."
In July 2020, the US government indicted two suspected Chinese hackers who, according to authorities, had participated in a "global campaign of widespread computer intrusion", which included attempting to gain access to the US investigation. about the coronavirus AND attacking human rights activists.
"At no time has it been more important to invest in our standards and institutions, our workforce and the integration of our work," Haines said Wednesday.