In the wake of the reputed Chinese spy balloon that floated over U.S. military bases last week, it might be instructive to recall that last February, the Biden administration canceled a program launched by the Trump administration to identify Chinese threats to national security.
Matt Olsen, the Biden administration’s assistant attorney general in charge of the national security division, claimed that Asians had said the program was biased against them, saying, “We helped give rise to a harmful perception that the department applies a lower standard to investigate and prosecute criminal conduct related to that country or that we in some way view people with racial, ethnic, or family ties to China differently.”
“Make no mistake. We will be relentless in defending our country from China,” he added.
Only weeks before the Biden administration canceled the Trump program, FBI director Christopher Wray acknowledged that when he took his job in 2017 and examined the scope of Chinese theft of American technology, it “blew me away. And I’m not the kind of guy that uses words like ‘blown away’ easily.”
“There is no country that presents a broader, more severe threat to our innovation, our ideas and our economic security than China does,” he added.
“The scale of their hacking program, and the amount of personal and corporate data that their hackers have stolen, is greater than every other country combined,” Wray concluded.
The China Initiative was implemented by former Attorney General Jeff Sessions in 2018. He noted, “From 2013 to 2016, the Department of Justice did not charge anyone with spying for China. … Chinese economic espionage against the United States has been increasing—and it has been increasing rapidly. We are here today to say: enough is enough. We’re not going to take it anymore.”
“Today, we see Chinese espionage not just taking place against traditional targets like our defense and intelligence agencies, but against targets like research labs and universities, and we see Chinese propaganda disseminated on our campuses. … This Department of Justice—and the Trump administration—have already made our decision: we will not allow our sovereignty to be disrespected, our intellectual property to be stolen, or our people to be robbed of their hard-earned prosperity. We want fair trade and good relationships based on honest dealing. We will enforce our laws—and we will protect America’s national interests.”