A congressional advisory panel has said China is perfecting its ability to engage in cyber warfare and other computer espionage against the United States and its allies.
Congress also warned that China is working on better engaging in cyber warfare that could lead to the delay and disruption of U.S. military deployment anywhere in the world. Specifically, the Chinese are using cyber warfare to gain access to classified military documents, along with viewing documents from American corporations that work with the government.
The U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission was founded eight years ago in an effort to help learn about and give advice regarding U.S.-China relations. The overall threat of cyber attacks grows year after year, with 5 million computers in the United States last year the target of 43,880 incidents of attacks and other suspicious activity.
The top 10 largest U.S. defense contractor companies all suffered computer espionage from foreign-based attackers, including Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Northrop Grumman, and Raytheon.
Chinese ability to attack is "so sophisticated that the US may be unable to counteract or even detect the efforts" of the attacks, according to the report.
The six Democrats and six Republicans who make up the panel said China's wide scale military modernization and "impressive but disturbing" computer and space warfare abilities "suggest China is intent on expanding its sphere of control even at the expense of its Asian neighbors and the United States."
There was no official word back from Chinese officials about the report.
President-elect Obama and his new staff will have to deal with cyber warfare and similar issues related to China once he takes office in January.
Obama will face pressure from lawmakers who seek to acquire additional funding for programs aimed at monitoring Chinese cyber attacks and help protect government and defense computers.
Another situation Obama has to consider is with the Chinese space program, which is "steadily increasing the vulnerability of US assets," with a better ability to locate US warships deployed in the Pacific Ocean.
quote: CriticismThe U.S. government has been criticized for allowing Pakistan to channel a disproportionate amount of its funding to controversial Afghan resistance leader Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, who Pakistani officials believed was "their man". Hekmatyar has been criticized for killing other mujahideen and attacking civilian populations, including shelling Kabul with American-supplied weapons, causing 2,000 casualties. Hekmatyar was said to be friendly with Osama bin Laden, founder of al-Qaeda, who was running an operation for assisting "Afghan Arab" volunteers fighting in Afghanistan, called Maktab al-Khadamat. Alarmed by his behavior, Pakistan leader General Zia warned Hekmatyar, "It was Pakistan that made him an Afghan leader and it is Pakistan who can equally destroy him if he continues to misbehave."In the late 1980s, Pakistani prime minister Benazir Bhutto, concerned about the growing strength of the Islamist movement, told President George H. W. Bush, "You are creating a Frankenstein." The U.S. says that all of its funds went to native Afghan rebels and denies that any of its funds were used to supply Osama bin Laden or foreign Arab mujahideen. It is estimated that 35,000 foreign Muslims from 43 Islamic countries participated in the war.