(PresidentialWire.com)- In an interview with Newsweek, James Lewis from the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) said China’s surveillance and espionage capabilities extend far behind the “embarrassing” Chinese spy balloon shot down off the coast of South Carolina early last month.
Lewis, who is the director of CSIS’s Strategic Technologies Program, told Newsweek that part of the reason China’s cyber spying has been so successful in the United States is because of the poorly secured networks that have allowed Beijing to pursue intellectual property theft with ease over the past twenty years.
And in recent years, China has become “very adept at hacking,” Lewis explained. Previously, the hacking efforts by the Chinese military were “more of a Wild West culture,” Lewis said. But now, President Xi has gotten that “under control” and the military’s hacking has become “very aggressive.”
According to Lewis, throughout the history of the Chinese Communist Party, espionage has been “at their core.” He told Newsweek that China doesn’t see US laws as “necessarily binding”
In 2015, then-President Barack Obama met with Xi Jinping at the White House where the two leaders announced an “understanding” to put an end to Beijing’s “cyber economic espionage for commercial gain.”
Obama said he and Xi agreed that neither country would conduct or support cyber theft of intellectual property. Obama added that the only question is if their words would be “followed by actions.”
According to James Lewis, the answer to Obama’s question was a resounding no. Lewis told Newsweek that the understanding between Obama and Xi “barely lasted six months.”
Lewis explained that usually when a country gets caught conducting cyber espionage, it may reduce the effort for a time, while never admitting wrongdoing. China, on the other hand, hasn’t reduced the scope of its operations. Instead, they’ve only increased it, Lewis said.
“The Chinese aren’t getting the hint,” he added.