February 27th, 2013
09:51 AM ET

Hayden: Chinese cyber theft ‘on unprecedented scale’

"Fareed Zakaria GPS," Sundays at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET on CNN

Fareed speaks with Council on Foreign Relations President Richard Haass and former CIA Director Michael Hayden about the latest claims over China’s alleged hacking activities. To see this or other interviews, download the show at iTunes

The China hacking story. This is pretty serious, don't you think?

Haass: Oh, absolutely. It raises real fundamental questions about China's commitment to the rule of law internationally. It’s a form of espionage. It’s a form of economic warfare. It could also be in some ways, targeting, potentially, vulnerabilities in American society. So should the United States and China ever have a crisis, China could either threaten to do certain things or actually do certain things, say, against the American electricity grid or against the American financial system.

And these people aren’t freelancing. You know China as well as anybody. These people are clearly operating with the tolerance of the Communist Party in China, under the authority of the People’s Liberation Army. This is serious and I think the Chinese are underestimating the impact this is having about the nature of the relationship.

This sends a message to Americans across the board that this relationship is not what it should be if China is treating us in this way, essentially going after our information and going after potential vulnerabilities in our system, stealing our intellectual property. This is not how you act if you want to talk about words like partnership.

Mike, the Chinese will say in response – or some Chinese will say – look, you guys do it, too. You know, why are you getting so heated up? You know, you ran the CIA and the NSA. What would be your response to them?

Hayden: Right. I freely admit that all nations spy. All nations conduct espionage. But some nations, nations like ours, self-limit. We steal other nation’s secrets to keep Americans safe and free. We don’t do it to make Americans rich or to make American industry profitable. And what the Chinese are doing is industrial espionage, trade secrets, negotiating positions, stealing that kind of information on an unprecedented scale for Chinese economic advantage. And that’s why I think our response should be in the economic zone. We need to make Chinese cyber behavior part of the overall portfolio of Sino-American relations and we need to begin to exact a price on the Chinese in the economic sphere for what it is they’re doing to us.

Post by: ,
Topics: China • Economy • GPS Show

soundoff (24 Responses)
  1. James

    China is friends of nobody. They are racists, self serving and a threat to all nations. What is sad is they know there will be no consequences. The US is a paper tiger.

    February 27, 2013 at 10:22 am | Reply
    • Tron San Hon








      美國 –

      債台高築 貧富不均 政治爭拗不休 利益團體權力膨脹



      April 7, 2013 at 9:32 am | Reply
  2. JAL

    The focus should be on fortune 500 CEO's living it up and sitting on trillions while millions live in despair, while the Arab Spring needs economic growth and while we are chasing our tails with non-root cause analysis.

    February 27, 2013 at 11:00 am | Reply
  3. Claudia

    Do not trust Chinese, do not trust Asians, because they are non-friendly, non-western and non-business. Say "NO" to Koreans – neither North, nor South Koreans are not trust-worthy.

    February 27, 2013 at 11:50 am | Reply
  4. Quigley

    Only an ignorant fool would put any credence into what this clown Michael Hayden has to say about anything. He is just another neocon or should I say, a right-wing thug who just wants to scare the ignorant public into supporting their right-wing aggressive foreign policies as usual. People, wise up! Besides, we've been attacking the Chinese like this for decades!

    February 27, 2013 at 1:38 pm | Reply
  5. me

    The Chinese and Indian will be the two dominant populations for years to come, their isn't anything anybody can do about it. The Chinese are facing a population that wants to have more say in their own destiny, both in the workplace and in the areas in which they live and eventually their government has to respect the base of their population as their numbers are too great to simply make them disappear. India is changing as well, only last week 100 million Indians went on strike because of corruption in the government. These societies will change and grow unlike the societies of the middle east which are battling each other over the history of their owns faiths. Until they can find away to co-exist without killing each they are doomed to repeat those fights from generation to generation. As for the article, the American and other western societies will have to be vigilant to protect themselves from this electronic warfare, and maybe even be more pro-active, seeking out and destroying the sources of the attacks where ever the come from, and use this ephemeral electronic space to their best advantage.

    February 27, 2013 at 2:13 pm | Reply
  6. joe anon 1

    the cyber crimes are committed by u.s. and israel.

    blaming china is more war mongering by the world's big mouth.

    February 27, 2013 at 2:59 pm | Reply
  7. Really?

    Lots of ignorant bigots on these forums so 1) Don't throw stones in glass houses, 2) Who trust the US government after Vietnam, fake WMDs, current warmongering, the "defense" cuts which the people need, but won't ever come to light because of MIC etc.... I wouldn't! Only sheep would, and the American media is doing a great job of creating more sheeps.

    February 27, 2013 at 3:28 pm | Reply
    • Marine5484

      Well said Really?, and so very true too! The U.S. government does do a good job in brainwashing it's people and how!

      February 27, 2013 at 7:03 pm | Reply
  8. Intrepid

    Andrew Mitrovica of The Toronto Star said it best in his article – Cyber spying not a Chinese monopoly.

    "Lost in all the predictable hyperbole about China’s state-sanctioned cyber espionage... is the fact that western intelligence services have waged a similar kind of war in the electronic ether for decades. This may seem an obvious point. Yet amid the furor over China’s actions, there has been little, if any, reporting and fleeting acknowledgement that western espionage services haven’t exactly been saints in cyberspace."

    February 27, 2013 at 11:45 pm | Reply
  9. j. von hettlingen

    Yes, the military – the People's Liberation Army – is alleged to be behind cyber theft. It's important that the leadership see it as an embarrassment, as it is mindful of its international image.

    February 28, 2013 at 10:00 am | Reply
  10. Hans

    USA needs fully understand, that China is no partner, there is no benefit in business, and no benefit in politics. USA needs new compass in foreign relations, and not trust any Asian adviser.

    March 1, 2013 at 5:28 am | Reply
  11. Raj

    I find Hayden's "self-limit" to be the most disturbing comment. It seems to be the explanation behind everything that the government does that seems morally questionable; ranging from torture to drone attacks. While we find Chinese hacking stories to be highly disturbing we also take pride in the fact that American hackers slowed down the Iranian nuclear program. The problem with the "self-limit" argument is that it essentially gives every nation the liberty to "self-limit" themselves. Their limits might be considered extreme and unacceptable by us, but they might feel the same way about our policies. The world is a troubled place and on many occasions your are only left with bad choices. We should only have expectations that we can ourselves meet or we in for sever disappointment.

    March 2, 2013 at 10:05 pm | Reply
  12. Charlie

    Until the hacking stops and the domestic Chinese market opens fully to U.S. companies, acquisitions of U.S. companies by Chinese companies should not be allowed. American's need to wake up to this silent, swept under the rug war. It's time to stop buying Chinese at every opportunity and demand non-Chinese goods at stores where there is no alternative.

    March 3, 2013 at 9:04 am | Reply
  13. Expat in China

    I think Americans need to consider the situation from a different perspective. If something is being stolen; and it is loosing companies money... why don't companies make a more serious effort to protect themselves and the information that they manage? I think this issue is immaturely being blown up to a national scale; of course China steals; well; I personally know many people who download torrents or pass .mp3's illegally within the United States; actually globally the movement of information is happening faster than it ever has before. But I think this is an new problem of the era of globalism. Stop pointing the fingers at others trying to blame them for the obvious errors in judgement that you have made. If our electricity companies are not effectively managing their IT... they should consider developing stronger firewalls and methods of protecting their offices' propitiatory information. I think the solution is very simple; and should be considered in all business sectors; this creates jobs and avoids issues where information is illegally stolen. Unfortunately in this case; I am positive that you can find government funded money on the Chinese side_ but the issue is, they are not using it to spy on people and figure out how to destroy our nation; They rather; are being cheap... and I am absolutely positive that this street runs both ways. Regardless of which nations are involved. Bottom line; if you don't want your stuff stolen; consider locking your door when you leave.

    March 4, 2013 at 12:47 am | Reply
  14. Trenchy

    Haha, the NSA cyber theft is at an even larger scale! Bravo Snowden!

    July 11, 2013 at 11:47 am | Reply
  15. Trenchy

    Let us recall who blamed China heavily for cyber attacks. I wonder what their comment is about the US hacking on China and the prism program. Please don't be silent!

    July 11, 2013 at 11:48 am | Reply

Post a comment


CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.