China deemed biggest threat to U.S.

Russia second, DNI chief says

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Army Lt. Gen. Ronald L. Burgess Jr., the Defense Intelligence Agency director, appeared with Mr. Clapper and agreed that China’s power projection is growing.

“While remaining focused on Taiwan as a primary mission, China will, by 2020, lay the foundation for a force able to accomplish broader and regional global objectives,” he said.

Gen. Burgess said China’s military “continues to face deficiencies in interservice cooperation and actual experience in joint exercises and combat operations.”

China’s leaders continue to stress asymmetric strategies to leverage China’s advantage while exploiting potential opponents’ perceived vulnerabilities,” the general said.

One asymmetric strategy China is pursuing is the use of computer-based cyberprobes into U.S. classified computer networks. Mr. Clapper said the cyber-activity is a “formidable concern.”

“The Chinese have made a substantial investment in this area, they have a very large organization devoted to it and they’re pretty aggressive,” Mr. Clapper said. “This is just another way in which they glean information about us and collect on us for technology purposes, so it’s a very formidable concern.”

In the hearing, Mr. Clapper stressed that Iran’s supreme leader had not given the order to produce nuclear weapons in Iran.

The comments on Iran’s nuclear program appeared to support a 2007 National Intelligence Estimate that said Iran halted work on nuclear weapons in 2003.

Last month, a CIA report to Congress dropped language from two previous reports that said Iran was keeping open its option to build nuclear weapons, as the National Intelligence Council recently notified Congress that it had altered the 2007 estimate. Officials declined to specify what was changed because the revision was classified.

Gen. Burgess said Iran is helping terrorists train and obtain weapons.

“At Iran’s behest, Lebanese Hezbollah provides Iraqi insurgents with weapons and training to attack U.S. forces. Iran also provides weapons, explosives and munitions to insurgents in Afghanistan.”

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