US at risk of 'catastrophic cyber-attack' says intelligence panel chairman

Rogers said U.S. companies get attacked hundreds of thousands of times a day. China in particular, he said, is breaking into businesses to steal their intellectual property to help Chinese firms compete on the international market without having to spend time and money on research and development and trial and error.

During the wide ranging discussion, Rogers tore down the notion that the United States would enjoy a “peace dividend” as the decade-long war in Afghanistan winds down. Rather, he said, the world is getting “more complicated day by day.”

He mentioned in particular North Korea's recent rocket launch, Russia's investment in its nuclear submarine fleet and China's claims on the South China Sea, which Rogers said has been patrolled by the U.S. Navy ever since the nation's birth. And he raised concerns about Iran's nuclear ambitions, al Qaeda's remnants and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez's desire to be a “destabilizer to U.S. interests.”

Rogers took particular aim at media reports that downplayed the threat of an alleged Iranian agent who is accused of trying to kill Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the United States. Far from dealing with a “buffoon,” he said, the United States caught a lucky break because the alleged agent turned to a violent criminal -- “John Gotti's John Gotti” -- who just happened to have been turned in 18 months earlier by the Drug Enforcement Administration.