“There are more spies in the United States today from foreign nation states than at any time in our history — including the Cold War. And they’re stealing everything. If it’s not bolted down, it’s gone,” said the former chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Mike Rogers (R-MI). Citing reports from the U.S. Intelligence Community, Rogers described the threat, saying that, “It’s massive, it’s huge. And the numbers are overwhelming.”
Over the weekend, news broke that a Navy officer has been held for months after being accused of spying for China. In a separate case, a Navy engineer was arrested for passing classified information to what he believed were his Egyptian handlers — when in fact, he was passing information to FBI agents posing as Egyptians. Last year we saw yet another similar case when a cleared Navy employee and Iranian national, for three decades, hid his identity and Iranian citizenship from the Navy, and is suspected of being an Iranian spy.
[Analyst Comment: These are just three recent instances — there’s an untold number of active investigations and espionage arrests that we haven’t heard about. And given 2015’s Office of Personnel Management (OPM) breach, which gave China access to background investigation paperwork for millions of Americans with high level security clearances, the amount of sensitive and classified information being siphoned out of the U.S. is at unprecedented levels.
It’s widely known that up to two-thirds of Chinese espionage activities are directed at economic and industrial targets. That, in part, has contributed greatly to China’s technological rise. Instead of investing billions of dollars in research and development, the Chinese Ministry of State Security (MSS) directs Chinese students and citizens abroad, working in Silicon Valley or Washington D.C., to steal technology and other sensitive information.
Although many applaud Edward Snowden for releasing volumes of highly classified intelligence, his work has also enabled and emboldened foreign intelligence services, allowing them to avoid detection and, in some cases, exploit known vulnerabilities and limitations of U.S. Intelligence.
And therein lies support for the trend — America is an empire in decline, by these numbers if none else. The nation is losing its advantages in warfare, technology, and economics, and it’s going to affect all Americans. We must seriously consider the growing potential that future wars against Russia or China will not be won decisively, will likely come at a larger cost of lives and resources than Americans expect, and may be wars decisively lost. While this may be greeted as a positive development, Americans have enjoyed the world shaped by American foreign policy through the Cold War. The future world — the world where America has lost its advantages at home and abroad; its liberty, peace and prosperity at home; and the American ideals set forth by the Founders in the hearts of a growing number of Americans — is an America for which we need to be preparing.]
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