- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Hackers in China haven’t retired their assaults on American targets, but U.S. intelligence officials aren’t certain if Beijing has fully breached the terms of a cyber pact reached last year between President Obama and his Chinese counterpart, NSA Director Navy Admiral Mike Rogers testified on Tuesday.

While Mr. Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed in September to stop stealing trade secrets from the computer networks of foreign companies, the spy chief said during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing that U.S. entities are indeed still under attack. Nevertheless, Admiral Rogers told lawmakers that the “jury is still out” with respect to whether China has explicitly broken its promise.

“We continue to see them engaged in activity directed against U.S. companies. The question I think we still need to ask is, is that activity then in turn shared with the Chinese private industry?” Adm. Rogers said during the hearing early Tuesday.

In the wake of the massive U.S. Office of Personnel Management breach that’s been widely blamed on Chinese hackers, officials in Washington had reportedly been weighing whether to impose sanctions against Beijing last year before Mr. Xi visited the White House and agreed to curb attacks aimed at U.S. targets.

“The United States government does not engage in cyber economic espionage for commercial gain, and today I can announce that our two countries have reached a common understanding on a way forward,” Mr. Obama said when he touted the supposed cyber agreement reached between nations.

Adm. Rogers, who also leads the U.S. Cyber Command, confessed during Tuesday’s hearing that Chinese hackers are indeed believed to still be attacking U.S. networks, but it’s not clear yet if trade secrets are being stolen for Beijing’s economic benefit.

“The question or issue we’ve always had with the Chinese is while we understand we do that for nations to generate insight, using that then to generate economic advantage is not something that is acceptable to the U.S.,” he told the Senate panel.

In February, U.S. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper similarly told Congress that officials were unsure if the deal would hold.

“I think the jury’s out,” Mr. Clapper told a House committee at the time. “Whether its commitment last September moderates its economic espionage remains to be seen.”


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