United States officials reveal charges against Chinese spy who was captured in Belgium

11 Octobre, 2018, 21:53 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
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Xu was extradited from Belgium, where he was arrested on April 1. "But we can not tolerate a nation stealing our firepower and the fruits of our brainpower". Last week Vice President Pence accused Chinese security agencies of "mastermind [ing] the wholesale theft of American technology".

At one point, Xu tried to get the employee to meet him in Europe and to "dump" GE Aviation information onto a device for him, the authorities added. China paid for the travel and also gave the experts a fee.

"We can not tolerate a nation's stealing our firepower and the fruits of our brainpower", said John C. Demers, assistant attorney general for national security.

According to The Washington Post, the man was arrested after being lured to Belgium by U.S. agents and is suspected of having carried out his crimes since around December 2013.

FBI Counterintelligence Assistant Director Bill Priestap said the arrest and extradition are unprecedented and "exposes the Chinese government's direct oversight of economic espionage against the United States". "We will not tolerate a nation that reaps what it does not sow." said Assistant Attorney General John Demers in the press release.

Justice Department officials said the indictment is but the latest example of China seeking to develop its economy at the expense of American firms and know-how.

"Innovation in aviation has been a hallmark of life and industry in the United States since the Wright brothers first designed gliders in Dayton more than a century ago", said US Attorney Benjamin Glassman today.

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"Currently, the Ministry of State Security (MSS) is the primary government agency engaged in the majority of cyber attacks with Chinese-government nexus, and CrowdStrike has observed multiple intrusions demonstrating their sophisticated tradecraft", Dmitri Alperovitch, Co-Founder and CTO of U.S. cyber-intelligence firm CrowdStrike, told ZDNet today.

Xu "targeted certain companies inside and outside the United States that are recognized as leaders in the aviation field" to include GE Aviation, which specializes in aircraft engines, according to the indictment. It also said he made contact with experts working for the firms and recruited them to travel to China, often for the initial goal of delivering a university presentation and paying their costs and a stipend.

The charges come as the Trump administration takes a harder line on China, with Vice President Mike Pence last week challenging the country's economic practices.

Xu often exchanged information with individuals at Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronomics [NUAA], one of the top engineering schools in China and which has significant influence over China's aerospace industry, according to court documents.

GE Aviation cooperated with the FBI early on in the investigation, which dates back more than a year, officials said. The company said it detected an uptick in Chinese hacking operations during the past year, uptick that placed China above Russian Federation in terms of number of attacks. The employee, under Xu's directions, downloaded company materials and traveled to Belgium in April to pass that data to Xu, the indictment alleges.

The MSS officer's mission was to obtain American technology from USA aerospace companies. The pair were said to have specifically targeted techies who were naturalized U.S. citizens born in China or Taiwan.

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