How China’s weapon snatchers are penetrating U
(Repeats story to add links to series website, graphics. This story is part of a series, “Breakout: Inside China’s military buildup”)
By John Shiffman and Duff Wilson
OAKLAND, California, Dec 17 (Reuters) Agents from Homeland Security sneaked into a tiny office in Oakland’s Chinatown before sunrise on Dec. 4, 2011. They tread carefully, quickly snap michael kors outlet online ping digital pictures so they could put everything back in place. They didn’t want Philip Chaohui He, the businessman who rented the space, to learn they had been there.
Seven months had passed since they’d launched an undercover operation against a suspected Chinese arms trafficking network one of scores operating in support of Beijing’s ambitious military expansion into outer space.
The agents had allowed a Colorado manufacturer to ship He a type of technology that China covets but cannot replicate: radiation hardened microchips. Known as rad chips, the dime sized devices are critical for operating satel michael kors outlet online lites, for guiding ballistic missiles, and for protecting military hardware from nuclear and solar radiation.
It was a gamble. This was a chance to take down an entire Chinese smuggling ring. sailors, soldiers or pilots, deployed on satellites providing the battlefield eyes and ears for the People’s Liberation Army.
Entering He’s office at 2:30 that December morning, the agents looked inside the FedEx boxes. The microchips were gone. The supervisor on the case, Greg Slavens, recoiled.
“There are a bunch of rad chips headed to China,” Slavens recalls thinking, “and I’m responsible.'”
In the past 20 years, the United States has spent trillions of dollars to create and deploy the world’s best military technology. military supremacy, China. technology have tracked its accelerated defense buildup. The Chinese military budget second only to America’s has soared to close to $200 billion.
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President Xi Jinping is championing a renaissance aimed at China’s asserting its dominance in the region and beyond. defense industry in ways that not only compromise weapons systems but also enable it to secure some of the best and most dangerous technology. weapons systems, according to the Washington Post. military, Reuters has found. If China hacks into a sensitive blueprint, years might pass before a weapon can be manufactured. Ready made components and weapons systems can be and are used immediately.
Beijing says michael kors outlet online its efforts to modernize its military are above board. “China has mainly relied on itself for research and development and manufacturing,” the Chinese defense ministry said in a statement to Reuters. government officials say they don’t know, in part because the problem is too widespread and difficult to track. By its very definition, black market smuggling is hard to monitor and quantify. technology is legally shipped to friendly nations and then immediately and illegally reshipped to China. technology. A 2010 classified Pentagon assessment showed a spike in legal shipments to China of “dual use” technology products that have civilian and military purposes, a person involved in the study said. border agents unlike drugs, for example. And trafficking in these goods isn’t technically illegal until someone tries to export them. export enforcement center. estimates of how frequently American arms technology gets smuggled are incomplete. defense manufacturers by entities linked to China increased 88 percent from 2011 to 2012. The government won’t disclose the number of cases that underlie that percentage. defense and intelligence officials said that although they closely monitor the Chinese buildup, they believe China remains at least a decade behind America. defense official. government from Oct. 1, 2005 to Oct. 1, 2013. Reporters also interviewed two dozen counter proliferation agents and reviewed hundreds of internal Federal Bureau of Investigation, Homeland Security and Commerce Department documents.
The number of counter proliferation arrests related to all countries quadrupled from 54 to 226 from 2010 to 2012, internal law enforcement records show. law enforcement sources said. Since late 2012, federal agents say they have begun nearly 80 space and satellite related investigations.
“I think we’re getting better at this, but this stuff is rampant,” said FBI assistant director for counter intelligence Robert Anderson Jr. Anderson was referring to cases involving all potentially hostile nations, not just China. diplomat based in China: “I think we do a good job on the cases that we learn about, but it’s really just a finger in the dike.”
A MAN NAMED “HOPE”
The Oakland investigation began in spring 2011. The manufacturer, Aeroflex of Colorado Springs, Colorado, received an email from a man who called himself Philip Hope of Oakland. The man wanted to buy two kinds of rad chips 112 of one type and 200 of the other. The total cost: $549,654.