News / USA

Top US Officer Rejects Comparison of US, Chinese Cyber Snooping

U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey testifies at a Senate hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington Jun. 11, 2013.
U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey testifies at a Senate hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington Jun. 11, 2013.
TEXT SIZE - +
Reuters
— The top U.S. military officer on Thursday dismissed comparisons of Chinese and American snooping in cyber space, saying all countries gathered intelligence on their potential adversaries but Beijing's problematic “niche” was intellectual property theft.
 
Army General Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, also said the U.S. government was close to completing an update of its rules of engagement in cyber space and that Americans needed to understand a cyber-attack could trigger a real-world military response.
 
“All nations on the face of the planet always conduct intelligence operations in all domains,” Dempsey told an audience at the Brookings Institution think-tank after he was asked about intelligence leaks showing the National Security Agency targeted Chinese institutions for cyber spying.
 
He rejected suggestions that the leaks by NSA contractor Edward Snowden demonstrated hypocrisy on the part of the United States, which has been sharply critical of Chinese hacking of U.S. government and commercial computer networks.
 
“China's particular niche in cyber has been theft and intellectual property,” Dempsey said. “I've had some conversations about that with them. Their view is that there are no rules of the road in cyber, there's nothing, there's no laws that they are breaking, there's no standards of behavior.”
 
That disagreement is a point of friction in ties between the two countries and was discussed earlier this month by Presidents Barack Obama and Xi Jinping at a summit in California.
 
Dempsey said the two countries would have their first formal discussions next week to try to establish rules for conduct in cyber space “so we don't have these friction points.”
 
Strong Accusations
 
The United States has become increasingly vocal about Chinese hacking, which officials say has cost the United States hundreds of billions of dollars in lost intellectual property and is helping U.S. adversaries speed development of high-tech weapons systems.
 
The Pentagon's annual report on China in April for the first time directly accused the Beijing government and military of being behind the hacking.
 
Dempsey, in his remarks on cyber security at Brookings, said the government could not completely prevent insiders like Snowden from disclosing secrets if they were willing to break the law, but he said it could take steps to mitigate the risk.
 
He said a shift to so-called “cloud” or “thin client” computing could boost security and reduce the number of systems administrators needing with broad access. Deeper background checks and greater oversight also could be imposed, he said.
 
Snowden was a systems administrator working for Booz Allen Hamilton in Hawaii on an NSA contract when he disclosed details of secret U.S. surveillance programs.
 
“I think systems administrators is the right place to begin to clean this up ... because they have such ubiquitous access, and that's how he ended up doing what he did,” Dempsey said.
 
Dempsey said the U.S. government is close to completing an update of its rules of engagement for dealing with a cyber-attack, describing them as a “playbook” that outlines the roles and responsibilities of the different agencies involved.
 
He cautioned against assuming a cyber-attack that caused significant damage would automatically be met with a cyber-response of similar scope and destructiveness.
 
“I think what the president ... would insist upon, actually, is that he have the options and the freedom of movement to decide what kind of response we would employ,” Dempsey said.
 
“That's why I say I don't want to have necessarily a narrow conversation about what constitutes war in cyber, because the response could actually be in one of the other traditional domains” of air, sea, space or land, he said.

You May Like

Analysts Warn of Regional Proxy Conflict in Afghanistan

Analysts warn if Kabul’s neighbors do not start to cooperate, competing desires for influence could deteriorate into a bloody proxy war in the country More

Saudi Intelligence Chief Replaced

Bandar bin Sultan came under criticism for supporting al Qaida, prompting King Abdallah to wrest Syria operations away from him in February, handing them to Interior Minister Prince Mohammed bin Nayef More

Poetry Magazine editor Don Share talks what makes a good poem with VOA's David Byrd

What makes a good poem? And is poetry as viable an art form as it once was? To find out, VOA's David Byrd spoke to Don Share, the editor of Poetry Magazine. More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid