Senate Intelligence Committee leaders warn of Chinese threats to national security
The top Republican and Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee on Friday warned of Chinese national security threats due to Chinese government efforts to “exert its global dominance.”
The joint statement from Acting Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Vice Chairman Mark Warner (D-Va.) came a day after Director of National Intelligence (DNI) John Ratcliffe penned an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal describing China as the “greatest threat” to the U.S. since World War II.
The senators’ remarks also came a day after House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) put out a similarly strong statement warning of Chinese threats.
“We agree with DNI Ratcliffe that China poses the greatest national security threat to the United States,” Rubio and Warner said. “Our intelligence is clear: the Chinese Communist Party will stop at nothing to exert its global dominance. Beijing’s infiltration of U.S. society has been deliberate and insidious as they use every instrument of influence available to accelerate their rise at America’s expense.”
The committee leaders accused China of threatening U.S. “democratic values” through the Chinese Communist Party’s alleged targeting of “our free speech, politics, technology, economy, military, and even our drive to counter the COVID-19 pandemic.”
They said the U.S. must stand its ground in the face of threats against allies.
“We will not stand idly by as the Chinese Communist Party attempts to undermine our economic and national security,” Rubio and Warner said. “The message to Beijing and the world is that China’s behavior will not be tolerated and will be contested by democratic values, in close partnership with our allies and partners.”
Relations between Washington and Beijing have become more adversarial over the past four years, as the Trump administration has increasingly sought to push back against Chinese threats to U.S. technology and intellectual property, along with imposing tariffs.
Schiff, in his Thursday statement, said “it’s imperative the Intelligence Community rebalance its focus and funding to more effectively address the vast array of challenges that China poses to our national security.”
The House Intelligence Committee put out a report in September warning that the U.S. intelligence community is not equipped to handle evolving threats from China in the fields of technology and geopolitics.
Schiff this week emphasized that while threats from China were important to the committee, it was “critical not to lose sight of challenges posed by other actors, including Russia, Iran, North Korea, and transnational issues, such as terrorism, global health, and climate change.”
China is considered among the four nations that pose the biggest threat to the U.S., alongside Russia, Iran and North Korea.
The 2019 Worldwide Threat Assessment compiled by former Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats listed China as one of the top global threats to the U.S. in fields such as cybersecurity, election interference, weapons program, space and counterintelligence.
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