China has stolen enough sensitive data "to build a dossier on every single American adult," according to a top security advisor to former President Donald Trump.
Matthew Pottinger, a former Trump deputy national security advisor, told the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence that China sought to use the data stolen from the U.S. and other countries to influence everyone from political leaders to private citizens worldwide, the Washington Examiner reported.
"Assembling dossiers on people has always been a feature of Leninist regimes, but Beijing's penetration of digital networks worldwide, including using 5G networks has really taken this to a new level," Pottinger said during a hearing Wednesday.
"So the [Chinese Communist] Party now compiles dossiers on millions of foreign citizens around the world, using the material that it gathers to influence, target, intimidate, reward, blackmail, flatter, humiliate, and ultimately divide and conquer."
Pottinger added that Beijing had acquired enough data "sufficient to build a dossier on every single American adult and on many of our children too, who are fair game under Beijing’s rules of political warfare."
William Evanina, Trump’s director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center, told the committee that China's efforts "drive a comprehensive and whole of country approach to their efforts to invest, leverage, infiltrate, influence, and steal from every corner of U.S. success" and that "it is estimated that 80% of American adults have had all of their personal data stolen by the CCP, and the other 20% most of their personal data."
The U.S. and its allies last month blamed China's Ministry of State Security for the massive hack against Microsoft. China denied the claims. Also, the Justice Department charged members of the Chinese intelligence agency over a separate global espionage campaign.
Despite those accusations, the U.S. did not implement sanctions against China like it did earlier this year against Russian intelligence hackers for the SolarWinds hack.
The Biden administration said it raised its concerns about "broader malicious cyber activity" with senior Chinese officials.
Then-Attorney General William Barr early last year announced the indictment of four members of the Chinese military for their role in the 2017 Equifax hacking that breached sensitive personal data on approximately 145 million people in the U.S.
Evanina said "the existential threat our nation faces from the Communist Party of China is the most complex, pernicious, strategic, and aggressive our nation has ever faced."
Pottinger warned about China’s so-called United Front, a massive Chinese governmentwide global effort to spread propaganda and influence decision-makers and individuals worldwide.
"United Front Work is an immense range of activities with no analog in China's democracies," he said. "The CCP’s 95 million members are all required to participate in the system, which has many different branches.
"The United Front Work Department alone, which is just one branch, has three times as many cadres as the U.S. State Department has foreign service officers — except instead of practicing diplomacy, the United Front gathers intelligence about works to influence private citizens as well as government officials overseas, with a focus on foreign elites and the businesses they run."
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