In his testimony, FBI Director Christopher Wray said that no other country poses a greater threat to the economic security and democratic ideals of the United States than China, adding that its ability to influence American institutions is “deep, broad and persistent”.
US Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines and CIA Director William Burns spoke alongside Wray during Wednesday’s hearing, the first group public testimony by the country’s intelligence leaders before the US Congress since 2019.
In particular, Wray identified an indictment relating to a Chinese government operation called “Foxhunt”, which he said involved Beijing carrying out “uncoordinated illegal police activities” on American soil as a means of “threatening , intimidate to harass (and) blackmail “members of the ethnically Chinese” diaspora “.
“It’s an indication and illustration of the difficulty and the diversity of this particular threat,” Wray said.
The report said Beijing had “stepped up efforts to shape the political environment” in the United States, to try to assert its political influence and stifle criticism of its own policies, including the crackdown on civil liberties in Xinjiang and in Hong Kong.
On Wednesday, Haines told the Senate Intelligence Committee that the Chinese government has “substantial” cyber capabilities that “if deployed, at a minimum can cause localized and temporary disruption to critical infrastructure inside the United States.”
“At no time has it been more important to invest in our standards and institutions, our workforce and the integration of our work,” Haines said Wednesday.