Top national security officials for former President Donald Trump have warned about China’s data collection of American citizens through cyber theft and other means, with one saying that China has enough information to put together a “dossier” on every American adult.
Former Trump deputy national security adviser Matthew Pottinger cautioned during a Senate Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on Wednesday that China is seeking to use the data stolen from the U.S. to coerce and influence political leaders, and even private citizens.
“Assembling dossiers on people has always been a feature of Leninist regimes, but Beijing’s penetration of digital networks worldwide, including using 5G networks … has really taken this to a new level,” Pottinger said. “So the Party now compiles dossiers on millions of foreign citizens around the world, using the material that it gathers to influence, target, intimidate, reward, blackmail, flatter, humiliate, and ultimately divide and conquer.”
Pottinger continued, “Beijing’s stolen sensitive data is sufficient to build a dossier on every single American adult and on many of our children too, who are fair game under Beijing’s rules of political warfare.”
As reported by the Washington Examiner last month, the U.S. and allied countries blamed China’s Ministry of State Security for a cyberattack against Microsoft, with the Justice Department also charging members of the Chinese intelligence agency over a separate global espionage campaign.
William Evanina, Trump’s director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center, also provided a statement Wednesday, warning that “the existential threat our nation faces from the Communist Party of China is the most complex, pernicious, strategic, and aggressive our nation has ever faced.”
Evanina warned the Chinese communist government’s efforts “drive a comprehensive and whole of country approach to their efforts to invest, leverage, infiltrate, influence, and steal from every corner of U.S. success” and that “it is estimated that 80% of American adults have had all of their personal data stolen by the CCP, and the other 20% most of their personal data.”
He added that the “willingness of China and its intelligence services to illegally and legally obtain data to drive artificial intelligence, research, and development programs and to facilitate their military and economic goals." He lamented that "over the past decade we have seen CCP cyber and insider threat breaches and criminality to such a level I fear we are becoming numb when it is identified."