FBI Director Christopher Wray said the bureau is conducting more than 2,000 active investigations connected to the Chinese Communist Party.
Wray, who took over the FBI’s top spot in the wake of President Trump’s firing of James Comey, told Bret Baier of Special Report on Fox News that China is the greatest threat to the U.S. economy and its democratic principles, warning about the dangers posed by Chinese trade theft and espionage.
“There’s no country that presents a broader, more comprehensive threat to America’s innovation, to our economic security, and to our democratic ideas than China does,” Wray said in an interview that aired Wednesday.
“The FBI has over 2,000 active investigations that trace back to the government in China,” Wray said, noting that they represent “about a 1300% increase in terms of economic espionage investigations with a Chinese nexus from about a decade ago.”
Wray also claimed the bureau is “opening a new counterintelligence investigation that ties back to China every 10 hours.”
The Justice Department has increased its scrutiny of China’s activities recently, starting the China Initiative in 2018 and prosecuting Chinese nationals in espionage cases, cracking down on hacking schemes, prosecuting efforts to steal trade secrets, and going after the Thousand Talents Program, including Harvard professor Charles Lieber.
Wray said the Chinese government is “pursuing a campaign of intellectual property theft, economic espionage, cyber intrusions that target businesses — big and small — all across the country, and our academic research institutions.” Wray added that Beijing operates “not just through traditional government officials, which they certainly do, but also through what we sometimes call nontraditional collectors — which can be businessmen, high-level scientists, high-level academics … all of whom are in different ways incentivized to steal American innovation and confidential information and take it back to China.”