Testifying June 18 before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, the four-star general was asked how he would describe Chinese cyberespionage and cybermilitary capabilities aimed at conducting disruptive attacks against the United States.
“Very carefully,” he said, noting extensive public reports of Chinese cyberattacks.
Recent discussions between President Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping on Chinese cyberattacks is a good beginning, he said.
“I think we’ve got to solve this issue with China and then look at ways to move forward,” Gen. Alexander said.
Among the issues to be resolved are what are the right standards for cyber activities, he said.
Gen. Alexander provided one-word answers about Chinese cyberattacks under questioning by Rep. Mike Rogers, Michigan Republican and committee chairman:
“Would you say that China engages in cybereconomic espionage against intellectual property, to steal intellectual property in the United States?”
“Yes,” Gen. Alexander said.
“Would you argue that they engage in cyberactivities to steal both military and intelligence secrets of the United States?”
It was the first time the director, who is also commander of the U.S. Cyber Command, directly accused China of engaging in cyber espionage and cyber attacks. Earlier, Gen. Alexander had been reluctant to identify China as the major cyber threat.