Representative Michael Rogers, chairman of the U.S. House Intelligence Committee, urged the federal government to retaliate against Chinese officials tied to cyberattacks on American companies.
Rogers’ comments follow a report from computer security firm Mandiant Corp. of Alexandria, Virginia, that said the Chinese army is behind hacking attacks on U.S. companies. The New York Times reported in January that its computer systems were breached by Chinese hackers, a claim that China has denied.
U.S. President Barack Obama on Feb. 12 directed the government to boost U.S. cybersecurity by developing voluntary standards for companies operating critical infrastructure such as power grids and air-traffic-control systems.
Rogers, during his appearance on ABC, said that the Chinese government uses its “military and intelligence structure” to steal intellectual property from American businesses. He added that a “very large well-known” American manufacturing company had its blueprints stolen.
“This has never happened in the history of the world, where one nation steals the intellectual property to repurpose it,” Rogers said.
New York Representative Eliot Engel, the senior Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said “there’s a price to pay” should China continue cyberattacks on the U.S. “We have to make it very clear to them” that “this cannot be business as usual,” he said.
Engel also said during the ABC interview that he will introduce legislation authorizing President Obama to arm Syrian rebels.
“I think it’s time to do that,” Engel said.
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