The U.S. Justice Department has filed criminal charges against a handful of government authorities in China, alleging they've stolen U.S. trade secrets via cyber warfare.
The charges are historic; NBC News reported that it's the first time in history that the United States has formally filed accusations over cyber espionage against another country.
Attorney General Eric Holder is due to detail the charges on Monday.
But NBC said that the charges actually name several Chinese government workers.
"They used military and intelligence facilities to commit cyber espionage against U.S. companies," one official said, to NBC.
The names of the companies that were reportedly hit by the espionage haven't yet been released. But one source close to the investigation told NBC that the companies are believed to be in the manufacturing and energy fields.
The White House, meanwhile, has long considered China one of the biggest threats to America's industrial sector in terms of taking secrets.
"Chinese actors are the world's most active and persistent perpetrators of economic espionage," said the Office of the National Counterintelligence Executive, an agency within he U.S. government, in a 2011 report.
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