When Mitt Romney was running for president in 2012, against Barack Obama, he was scathing about China. He called them currency manipulators and cyber thieves.
Romney was laughed at. He wanted China to understand that “to continue to have free and open access to the thing they want so badly, our markets, they have to play by the rules.” He said, “They can’t hack into our computer systems and steal from our government. They can’t steal from corporations. They can’t take patents and designs, intellectual property, and duplicate them, and counterfeit them and sell them around the world.”
Romney said Obama’s policies allowed China to continue robbing the U.S. blind. He said “if you just continue to sit back and let them run over us, the policies of Barack Obama in China have allowed China to continue to expand their entry into our computer systems, and, stealing our intellectual property.”
Did anyone in the Administration listen? Romney was written off as a warmongering republican crank. U.S. defense analysts say China’s cyber-espionage operations yielded sensitive U.S. technology and aircraft secrets used to build the new J-20 stealth fighter jet.
Anyone paying attention yet?
According to a report in The Washington Post, the spying began in 2007, compromising Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, and Northrop Grumman contractors. They even spied on the Defense Department’s costliest weapons program ever – the Joint Strike Fighter project.
It gets worse.
The Chinese hacked into the the Patriot missile system, Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, and the Army’s ballistic missile interceptor program Aegis.
China isn’t fussy where it gets its technology from. Some technologies were purchased from Russia and others, and it stole some supposedly secret technology directly from the United States and built itself.
You would think they would keep secret the fact that they stole secrets, but perhaps they decided they could get more mileage from embarrassing Obama and the U.S. China’s official Communist Party newspaper bragged about key F-35 Lightning II technologies that were “completely obtained” by the government, according to The Washington Times.
Some people were awake in 2012. Rep. Michael McCaul, the Republican chairman of the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Oversight, Investigations and Management, reported that cyber-attacks place the country at risk.
What did the U.S. government do about that?
McCaul warned “The theft of $1 trillion in intellectual property is a serious economic issue. The theft of F-35 blueprints would enable China to manufacture those planes and then guard against those planes.”