May 19, 2014

Whitehouse Applauds DOJ Crackdown on Cyberspying

Senator is Preparing Legislation to Support Efforts to Prosecute Economic Espionage

Providence, RI – Today the U.S. Department of Justice announced the indictment of five members of the Chinese military for computer hacking, economic espionage, and other acts targeting six American companies and organizations.  U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), who last week chaired a Judiciary Subcommittee hearing on economic espionage and has long urged the Justice Department to bring prosecutions against state-sponsored hackers who steal American trade secrets, is applauding the indictment.

“Acts of cyber espionage against American businesses undermine our nation’s economic competitiveness and cost us jobs,” said Whitehouse.  “For far too long, China has stolen from American businesses and given our trade secrets to its own companies.  Today’s indictment serves notice to cyber criminals and their foreign sponsors that there will be serious consequences for attacking companies in the United States.  I applaud Attorney General Holder, Director Comey, and their teams.”

Whitehouse’s hearing last week examined whether American laws are adequate to combat economic espionage and trade secret theft.  In his opening remarks Whitehouse said, “The Administration must recognize that the theft of intellectual property is one of the most important foreign policy challenges we face, and it must communicate to China and other nations that stealing from our businesses is unacceptable.”  He later added that, “At some point we have to have a robust enough response to this problem as a country that we are starting to, for want of a better example, indict Chinese Colonels and Generals who are behind pulling this kind of thievery off.” 

Last year Whitehouse and Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) release a bipartisan “discussion draft” of legislation to help prosecutors crack down on economic espionage and trade-secret theft.  Last week’s hearing was an opportunity for the Senators to get input from experts and stakeholders as they work toward finalizing the bill and introducing it.  They expect to do so shortly.  The bill will provide the U.S. government with additional tools to pursue more cases like the one announced today.


Press Contact

Meaghan McCabe, (202) 224-2921