In his testimony, FBI Director Christopher Wray said that no other country represented more of a threat to the US’ economic security and democratic ideals than China, adding that its ability to influence American institutions was “deep and wide and persistent.”
US Director for National Intelligence Avril Haines and CIA Director William Burns spoke alongside Wray at the hearing Wednesday, the first group public testimony of the nation’s intelligence leaders before the US Congress since 2019.
In particular, Wray identified an indictment relating to a Chinese government operation called “Foxhunt,” which he alleged involved Beijing conducting “uncoordinated illegal law enforcement activity” on US soil as a means to “threaten, intimidate harass (and) blackmail” members of the ethnically Chinese “diaspora.”
“It’s an indication and an illustration of just how challenging and diverse this particular threat is,” Wray said.
The report said that Beijing had been “intensifying efforts to shape the political environment” in the US, to try to assert political influence and muffle criticism of its own policies, including the crackdowns on civil liberties in Xinjiang and Hong Kong.
On Wednesday, Haines told the Senate Intelligence Committee that the Chinese government had “substantial” cyber capabilities that “if deployed, at a minimum can cause localized, temporary disruptions to critical infrastructure inside the United States.”
“At no point has it been more important to invest in our norms and institutions, our workforce and the integration of our work,” Haines said Wednesday.