Directors of FBI, MI5 deliver joint warning to business leaders about global Chinese spying effort

From England, Christopher Wray and Ken McCallum issued a warning to the business sector about ongoing, massive Chinese espionage operations.

Updated: July 6, 2022 - 1:52pm

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

The heads of the FBI and Britain's domestic intelligence and security service – MI5 – issues a rare joint warning to Western business leaders about the threats posed by Chinese espionage, particularly efforts to steal intellectual property from Western tech outfits.

In a joint appearance on Wednesday at MI5 headquarters, FBI director Christopher Wray and MI5 director-general Ken McCallum encouraged industry leaders not to underestimate the scope of Beijing's espionage campaign. 

Wray said to the audience, according to the Wall Street Journal, "The Chinese government is set on stealing your technology – whatever it is that makes your industry tick – and using it to undercut your business and dominate your market. They’re set on using every tool at their disposal to do it."

China, said McCallum, is engaged in a "coordinated campaign on a grand scale," which indicates a "strategic contest across the decades."

It is well-known, though not necessarily well combated, that China utilizes state-sponsored hacking on a global scale with operatives all around the world in order to gain access to technology it desires. 

Wray said that, at present, the FBI opens a new counterintelligence investigation into China close to every 12 hours. McCallum, likewise, noted that MI5 is overseeing seven times as many investigations into suspicious Chinese activity as it was in 2018.