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November 02, 2011

US Report Cites Growing Economic Cyber Espionage

A new U.S. intelligence report says China and Russia are using cyber espionage to steal U.S. trade and technology secrets to help build their economies. It says Chinese and Russian intelligence services have swallowed up large amounts of high-tech American research and development data, posing "a growing and persistent threat" to U.S. economic security.

The report to Congress titled ``Foreign Spies Stealing U.S. Economic Secrets in Cyberspace'' concludes China and Russia are "the most aggressive collectors" of U.S economic information and technology.

Economic cyber espionage is targeting key components of the U.S. economy: information technology, military technology, and clean energy and medical technology.

A senior intelligence official who spoke on condition of anonymity said it was necessary to single out specific countries in order to confront the problem and attempt to contain a threat that gotten out of control.

The report did not offer many details about the cyber-attacks, but the official said the United States does have evidence. The Chinese and Russian governments routinely deny involvement in such activities.

The U.S. government does not have calculations of the economic losses due to cyber economic espionage. The intelligence official said the National Science Foundation has put the value of public and private research and development at about $400 billion in 2009. The U.S. International Trade Commission estimates that as much as $50 billion was lost due to espionage, cyber-attacks and other counterfeit and trademark crimes.

The report, issued by the national intelligence director's office, comes out every two years and includes information from 14 spy agencies, academics and other experts.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.