House Homeland Security Chairman Michael McCaul (R-Texas) said on Sunday that evidence points toward Chinese involvement in a federal data breach earlier this year.
“This is the most significant data breach in U.S. history,” he added.
The White House revealed on Thursday that hackers had exposed the private data of 4 million current and former federal employees last April.
McCaul said on Sunday that the cyberattack’s target, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), likely indicated that hackers had intelligence gains in mind.
“It was perhaps nation-state sponsored because of the way it was done,” he said. “It was done for espionage.”
“This is an area where there are no rules to the game,” McCaul added. “It raises all sorts of issues for Americans.”
McCaul said that the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has also started using the Internet to damage American interests.
The extremist group, he said, had made major gains by using social media to inspire attacks both here and abroad.
“You talk about the new wave of terrorism, this is pretty much it,” McCaul said. “This is a hard thing to stop.”
McCaul additionally said that the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) further complicated the issue of national security.
The TSA announced last Monday that screeners had failed an internal test to find fake explosives and weapons at most of America’s busiest airports.
“It was an abysmal performance,” McCaul said on Sunday. “In the high threat environment that we’re in right now, this is totally unacceptable.”