FBI Director Christopher Wray raised a number of issues with China in his January 31 speech at the Reagan Library. He opened with, “Today, we in the United States and the Western world find ourselves in a very different struggle against another global adversary – the Chinese Communist Party.”

He rolled a stat out which cemented his tone, “The number of counterintelligence cases involving China number over 2,000 and on average, the FBI is opening a new case every 12 hours.” He continued, “There is no country that presents a broader, more severe threat to our innovation, our ideas, and our economic security than China does.” This statistic lies in mild contrast and improvement to that provided in July 2020 at a speech at the Hudson Institute where he noted that the FBI was opening a case every 10 hours and had over 5,000 counterintelligence cases open.

CCP’s “Made in China 2025” plan

Wray was not ambiguous when he pointed to the CCP’s “Made in China 2025” plan – highlighting the areas of Chinese interest “robotics, green energy production and vehicles, aerospace, biopharma, and so on. And then—and then, they throw every tool in their arsenal at stealing that technology to succeed in those areas.”

Wray highlighted the various means by which China goes about acquiring technology and advantage. Many of these methodologies have been noted and touched upon previously within ClearanceJobs.

He followed with how China has a desire to keep tabs on dissidents in the United States both through legal and illegal means. One need only recall the case of the New York Police Department officer who was recruited to monitor his community by the Chinese, if one is looking for an example.

Confront the Threat

Director Wray conclude with “So, we’re confronting this threat and winning important battles—not just while adhering to our values but by adhering to our values. I believe that in the course of doing so, we’re showing why the Chinese government needs to change course—for all our sakes. There is so much good we could do with a responsible Chinese government: crack down on cyber criminals, stop money launderers, reduce opioid overdose deaths. But at the FBI, we’re focused on the reality of the Chinese government today.”

The counterintelligence threat from China is real. FSOs need to keep abreast, by requesting frequent briefings from the FBI on the different modus operandi the FBI is seeing as they open, investigate, and prosecute the numerous counterintelligence investigations referenced by Director Wray. In this manner, FSOs may be able to stay up-to-speed.

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Christopher Burgess (@burgessct) is an author and speaker on the topic of security strategy. Christopher, served 30+ years within the Central Intelligence Agency. He lived and worked in South Asia, Southeast Asia, the Middle East, Central Europe, and Latin America. Upon his retirement, the CIA awarded him the Career Distinguished Intelligence Medal, the highest level of career recognition. Christopher co-authored the book, “Secrets Stolen, Fortunes Lost, Preventing Intellectual Property Theft and Economic Espionage in the 21st Century” (Syngress, March 2008). He is the founder of securelytravel.com