Skepticism on Cyber Deal

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said Tuesday that while “hope springs eternal,” he is not optimistic that the recent agreement President Obama made with Chinese President Xi will stop Chinese cyber attacks. Speaking at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing, Clapper said China’s theft of American intellectual property is “pretty pervasive,” though he said there’s a question about how much of that theft is supported or orchestrated by the government. Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert Work said the US has “made it clear that Chinese actions in the cyber sphere are totally unacceptable as a nation state.” He said the US knows “they have stolen information from our defense contractors” to help develop similar systems. Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) said she is worried there has been “a lot of talk, [but] no action” in relation to Russian and Chinese attacks. However, Clapper said the US must be careful when discussing retaliation, since the Chinese theft amounts to cyber espionage, which the US also engages in. McCain rejected that idea. “So, it’s OK for them to steal our secrets … including the [F-35] fighter … because we live in a glass house? That is astounding,” he said.