FBI Chief: Every 10 Hours, We Open a China Investigation

Christopher Wray told Senate panel the FBI has had more than 2K investigations tied back to China
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 15, 2021 8:03 AM CDT
FBI Chief: We've Had More Than 2K Probes on China
FBI Director Christopher Wray testifies during a Senate Select Committee on Intelligence hearing about worldwide threats, on Capitol Hill in Washington on Wednesday.   (Graeme Jennings/Pool via AP)

Prominent on the FBI's "What We Investigate" page is a section dubbed "The China Threat," which the agency describes as the "counterintelligence and economic espionage efforts emanating from the government of China and the Chinese Communist Party" that have become the FBI's "top counterintelligence priority." On Wednesday, that priority was underscored by FBI Director Christopher Wray, who detailed for Senate Intelligence Committee members just how intense his agency's efforts on China have become. "We're opening a new investigation into China every 10 hours, and I can assure the committee that's not because our folks don't have anything to do with their time," Wray said, adding that the agency now has 2,000-plus probes related to China underway, per the Hill.

Democrat Sen. Mark Warner, the Intelligence Committee chair, stressed that, despite said issues with China, "our problem is with the Chinese Communist Party, not with the people of China or the Chinese diaspora globally, and certainly not with Asian Americans here in the United States"—a point also noted by the FBI in the wake of increased attacks on Asians in the US. The agency accuses China of trying to become "the world's greatest superpower," via "predatory lending and business practices, systematic theft of intellectual property, and brazen cyber intrusions," among other machinations. This was the first hearing on worldwide threats since 2019, as the Trump administration declined to take part in 2020, the Hill notes. The hearing took place just a few days after the US intelligence community released its "Annual Threat Assessment" report, which pointed the finger at both China and Russia for their attempts to exploit the coronavirus pandemic "to grow their global influence," per CNN. (More China stories.)

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