China has stolen more U.S. business and personal data than all other countries combined, FBI Director Christopher Wray told a House committee on Tuesday.
“China’s vast hacking program is the largest in the world and they have stolen more personal and business data from Americans than all other countries combined,” Wray told the House Homeland Security Committee.
Wray testified with Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and Christine Abizaid, the director of the National Counterterrorism Center, at the annual “Global Threats” hearing.
The FBI director said the United States is concerned about China-based app TikTok and its parent company ByteDance, which is under intense scrutiny from US regulators. The head of the Federal Trade Commission said the app should be banned.
“I would say we have national security concerns,” Wray told Rep. Diana Harshberger, R-Tenn. “They include the possibility that the Chinese government could use to control the collection of data on millions of users or to control the recommendation algorithm, which could be used for influence operations if it wishes or to control software on millions of devices, giving the possibility of potentially tactically compromised personal devices,” he said.
“So there are a number of concerns about what is actually happening and what is actually being done,” Wray said, adding that there are questions about how data sharing works in China with companies required by Chinese law to share data with the government.
Mayorkas also raised concerns about China.
“China is using its technology to tilt the global rules of the game to its advantage,” he said.
Bomb threats against HBCUs
The hearing also touched on the bomb threats against HBCUs across the country, domestic violent extremists and the southern border.
Wray said the HBCU bomb threats were “unacceptable” and said only one actor was responsible for the bomb threats that were called.
“In regards to the first major installment, the investigation identified a minor, a juvenile subject and due to federal limits on charging minors for federal crimes, we have worked with state prosecutors to ensure that this individual is charged with other various state offenses which will provide some kind of restraints and oversight and disruption of his criminal behavior.”
Throughout the spring, historically black colleges and universities faced near-daily bomb threats.
Political violence, threats against law enforcement
Law enforcement officials were asked about the attack on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband, Paul Pelosi, and leaders said there was a disturbing pattern of targeting government officials and law enforcement.
“We’ve seen a trend over the last few years of more and more people in this country when they’re upset or angry about something turning to violence as a way to manifest it. And that’s a trend very, very dangerous,” Wray said. said.
“There is a good way in the First Amendment to express how angry and upset you are about something or with someone, but violence, violence against government officials is not that , but it’s something we’ve seen across the political spectrum now for quite a number of years,” he said.
Both leaders said the increase in violence against law enforcement is also dangerous, with Mayorkas noting that more law enforcement has been ambushed than ever.
Both leaders agreed that domestic violent extremists pose the most significant threat to the United States.
Along the southern border, which has been the focus of GOP attacks on the Biden administration, the FBI director said the border faces many “complex threats.” He said there had been an “increase” in the number of known or suspected terrorists apprehended along the border. Representative Mike McCaul said 98 known or suspected terrorists were apprehended along the southern border in the past fiscal year.
According to a senior DHS official, encounters of known and suspected terrorists attempting to cross the southern border are very rare. These meetings represent significantly less than 0.01% of the total number of meetings per fiscal year in recent years.
Mayorkas said they’re “bringing it” to smugglers and cartel organizations along the southern border, touting the Department’s work in a new program they launched earlier this year.