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China has overtaken terrorism as biggest challenge facing US, top spy says

Washington Examiner logo Washington Examiner 8/8/2022 Jerry Dunleavy
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China has replaced terrorism as the biggest challenge facing the U.S. intelligence community, according to a senior CIA official.

CIA Deputy Director David Cohen made the bombshell claim during a recent speech to leaders at the agency's counterterrorism center. Cohen said the CIA’s funding and focus would progressively move toward the China challenge, according to the Associated Press, and that even as combating global terrorism remains a major concern, the top priority for the CIA is intelligence-gathering on and pushing back against Beijing.

The outlet said hundreds of officers, including some who worked in counterterrorism, are moving into intelligence roles focused on China.


When CIA Director William Burns announced the creation of the agency’s China Mission Center in October, he put Cohen in charge of implementing the CIA’s new adjustments. Burns said the center would “further strengthen our collective work on the most important geopolitical threat we face in the 21st century, an increasingly adversarial Chinese government” and that the United States was “now facing our toughest geopolitical test in a new era of great power rivalry.”

Beyond China and terrorism, Burns emphasized the CIA would still focus on “important threats” such as “an aggressive Russia, a provocative North Korea, and a hostile Iran.”

FBI Director Christopher Wray warned about the Chinese government’s spying campaign last week and vowed the FBI is “not taking our foot off the gas” despite the Justice Department shuttering the China Initiative.

“Each and every day, the men and women of the FBI are taking on the Chinese government’s broad-scale economic espionage campaign targeting our ideas, our innovation, our economic security,” Wray said.

The FBI boss also said he has spoken about the China challenge more than any other topic and that the FBI is “opening a new China-related counterintelligence investigation about every 12 hours.”

Wray also gave a July speech on China alongside the head of the United Kingdom’s MI5 in which he warned of the challenge.

“We consistently see that it’s the Chinese government that poses the biggest long-term threat to our economic and national security — and by ‘our,’ I mean both of our nations, along with our allies in Europe and elsewhere,” Wray said.


The U.K.'s MI6 chief Richard Moore said in July the focus on China “has just moved past counterterrorism in terms of our mission” and that “we now devote more effort to China than any other single subject.”

Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines said in March that Beijing remains the “absolutely unparalleled” long-term priority for the intelligence community.


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Tags: China, National Security, CIA, William Burns, Christopher Wray

Original Author: Jerry Dunleavy

Original Location: China has overtaken terrorism as biggest challenge facing US, top spy says


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