Chinese hackers accessed F-35 designs after breaking into U.S. systems: report
By The Associated Press, in National Post, May 28, 2013 Chinese hackers have accessed designs for dozens of advanced U.S. weapons and stolen plans for Australia’s new spy headquarters, according to two separate reports from opposite sides of the globe.
China has dismissed both reports.
The Washington Post reported Monday that cyber-thieves broke into American systems and accessed the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the U.S. Navy’s Aegis ballistic missile defence systems, the Patriot missile system and the Black Hawk helicopter.
The Defense Science Board report the Washington Post cited didn’t comment on the extent of the cyber-theft or whether government computer networks had been involved.
The information could give the hackers the ability to knock out communications and corrupt data.
In Australia, officials Tuesday refused to confirm or deny whether Chinese hackers had stolen the blueprints as a news report claims.
Australian Broadcasting Corp. television reported on Monday night that the plans for the $630-million Australian Security Intelligence Organization building had been stolen through a cyberattack on a building contractor.
With files from National Post Staff and Rob McGuirk, The Associated Press
Next week, President Obama and the Chinese President will meet in California, and Obama has indicated publicly that he will confront the Chinese leader with the charges of cyber-hacking of major military defense systems, more important really than day-to-day operations, given the Chinese capability and eagerness to replicate or to subvert whatever military and intelligence capacity the U.S. produces, for its own hegemony, as well as to limit the hegemony of the U.S.
In a new book, Cool War, Noah Feldman, of Harvard, writes of the paradoxical relationship between China and the U.S. On the one hand, China hold 8% of the U.S. debt, and manufactures and sells most of its production capacity to the U.S. Similarly, the U.S. has deep and penetrating trade relations with China, as well as mutual interests in many world issues.
In Asia, for example, President Obama has re-directed American foreign policy to the area, in support of Australia, Japan and South Korea, not to mention Taiwan. In the Middle East, however, China is an ally of both Syria and Iran, while the U.S. is in conflict with both.
How many military defense system secrets were stolen in the latest heist, no knows for sure. Suffice it to say that China will vehemently deny any involvement in this latest chapter in a long series of chapters of espionage and counter-espionage between both the U.S. and China.
Listening to Professor Feldman on NPR'S On Point with Tom Ashbrook, this morning, was like listening to a graduate seminar in U.S.-Chinese relations. Feldman contends that China, while eagerly wanting to be treated as a great power, as is the U.S., does not necessarily want to bring the U.S. down, thereby reducing both the value of its debt in U.S. Treasury Bills, and also curtailing the availability of U.S. goods for Chinese people and their insatiable market.
Feldman also contends that one of the possible long-term scenarios of this current dispute is that both the U.S. and China could prove indirectly helpful in moderating the two systems of governance operating in each country.
Currently there are some 200,000 Chinese students studying in U.S. universities, with approximately 80,000 U.S. students studying in China....those figures, by themselves, could bring about a large degree of both understanding and appreciation between the people of the two lands, histories and cultures. However, whether or not the U.S. would ever be interested in sharing the 'top dog' position of global power with the chinese dragon is highly doubtful.
Where is Russia in this complex vortex of circumstances. Both the U.S. and China have been and will continue to court Putin and the Russian leadership, for their different and respective interests. China and Russia, for example, have been quite successful in blocking any move at the Security Council to depose President Assad from power in Syria.
Nevertheless, can the U.S. be content with merely 'containing' the growing capability and growing ambition of a China that is witnessing a 7% annual growth rate in its economy? What would happen, for example, should China take over Taiwan, either politically or militarily, given the U.S. treaty to defend Taiwan, and that treaty also extends to other South Asian allies of the U.S. like Japan and Australia, the former having already been engaged in some small skirmishes with China? Would the U.S. risk its relationship with China by entering a military conflict over Taiwan, as Britain risked taking back the Falklands from Argentina. China is certainly not comparable to Argentina and would put up a much bigger fight to assure that Taiwan became part of China, even if there were a separate political system, as China has promised.
There are a plethora of unanswered questions about the future of relations between the U.S. and China, and the latest round of cyber war, for let's not mistake this is the new shape and form of war in the twenty-first century....and the conversations between Obama and the Chinese leader will not be made less turbulent by both the reports of these hackings, and the Chinese denials.