China Has Enough Stolen Data for ‘Dossier’ on Every American: Former National Security Adviser

Former U.S. national security official warns Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is stealing data to compile a “dossier” on every American adult.

QUICK FACTS:
  • Matthew Pottinger—fellow at the Hoover Institution and former Trump deputy national security adviser—spoke during a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing this week.
  • The hearing had to do with Bejing’s threats to U.S. national security.
  • Pottinger said the CCP has stolen Americans’ personal through cyber theft and hacking.
  • China has now stolen enough sensitive data to compile “dossiers on millions of foreign citizens around the world.”
  • This includes information “sufficient to build a dossier on every single American adult and on many of our children too.”
  • These Americans “are fair game under Beijing’s rules of political warfare,” said Pottinger, including “using the material that it gathers to influence, target, intimidate, reward, blackmail, flatter, humiliate, and ultimately divide and conquer.”
WHAT ELSE POTTINGER SAID:
  • “Many Americans were slow to realize it, but Beijing’s enmity for the United States began decades ago.”
  • “Newer to the party’s arsenal is the exploitation of U.S. social media platforms,” said Pottinger. “Over the past few years, Beijing has flooded U.S. platforms with overt and covert propaganda, amplified by proxies and bots.”
WHAT POTTINGER SUGGESTS WASHINGTON SHOULD DO:
  • Pottinger advises the U.S. to “stop funding technologies in China that are used to advance their surveillance state and their military.”
  • He also suggests Congress should “look at revising the Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA) to include more robust reporting requirements, steeper penalties for non-compliance, and a publicly-accessible database of FARA registrants updated frequently.”
  • But Pottinger also believes the U.S. ought to “expose and confront” China’s “information warfare over U.S. social media platforms.”
  • Social media companies should take a “leading role in exposing and tamping down shadowy influence operations.”
  • The U.S. should also partner with Silicon Valley tech giants in order “to make it easier for the Chinese people to safely access and exchange news, opinions, history, films, and satire with their fellow citizens and people outside China’s so-called Great Firewall.”
WATCH THE HEARING:
BACKGROUND:
  • Pottinger’s remarks come as Apple announced it would begin scanning all iPhones “for images of child sexual abuse.”
  • Apple’s new software feature will scan iOS devices for images of child abuse as part of an “important mission” at the company, VP of Software Sebastian Marineau-Mes wrote in an internal memo, according to The Verge.
  • The memo acknowledges that the new protections have some people “worried about the implications” but that the company will “maintain Apple’s deep commitment to user privacy.”
  • Breitbart reported how Alec Muffett—noted encryption expert and former Facebook security staffer—points out that while Apple’s move might be well-intentioned, Apple should be thinking about one important question: “What will China want them to block?”
  • Muffett told Forbes: “How such a feature might be repurposed in an illiberal state [like China] is fairly easy to visualize. Apple is performing proactive surveillance on client-purchased devices in order to defend their own interests but in the name of child protection.”

Jon Fleetwood is Managing Editor for American Faith.