It’s quite heartening to hear a conventional pol like Senator Marco Rubio recognize the national security threat that Red China poses, as well as speak informatively on the subject, as he did with Tucker Carlson on January 30.
The discussion followed a hearing in the Senate Intelligence Committee a day earlier on Worldwide Threats.
Washington has been slow on the uptake, stuck for too long on China’s cheap manufacturing and the full tuition paid by well heeled foreign students. Those students went unobserved by government and media for years, but now are being noticed in some quarters due to their extreme numbers — over 350,000 in the academic year 2016-17.
Hopefully the Trump Administration will tighten the screws appropriately and tell Mao’s current offspring to stay home — all of them.
National security is more important than universities accumulating maximum tuition cash.
TUCKER CARLSON: Officials in Washington has spent more than two years in utter hysteria over the threat that Macedonian Facebook users might pose to American democracy. But take a deep breath, and ask yourself, is Macedonia really the top cyber threat to the United States? Is Russia? No, of course not. When actual experts on the subject testified, they always say the same thing: China is the top cyber threat to the United States.
The Director of National Intelligence, Dan Coats, testified as much to Congress this week. Senator Marco Rubio of Florida was at that hearing and says he has a plan to combat Chinese spying on the United States. Senator Rubio joins us tonight. Senator, thanks a lot for coming on. Summarize for our viewers, if you would, quickly what Director Coats said at this hearing.
RUBIO: Well, they all agreed that China is the most comprehensive intelligence threat the United States has ever faced and because it’s a commercial threat, they steal our products and reverse engineer them and then sell them at lower prices, subsidized by their government so they can put our businesses out.
They steal our research from universities and they do that by either packing in and stealing it. Sometimes, they just hire the researcher and have them bring their research with them. Sometimes, they embed students in our system and these students become research assistants and they take that information and steal it back with them.
They steal of course, our military secrets and they also are in the supply chains, so they are embedded in commercial and in parts of our communication system, so for example, they make a router or a surveillance camera and can embed themselves into our systems that way. Especially things that have to do with defense, but even with commerce.
So they steal business and in defense, and it’s an enormous threat.
CARLSON: It’s terrifying. What do we do about it?
RUBIO: Well, first of all, we have to admit it exists, and for a long time, China was kind of viewed as a benign threat, in essence, a country — the conventional wisdom of Washington was, “Don’t worry about China. They are a developing country. Once they become like us, once they become as rich as we are, then they will become just like us.” Well, it hasn’t worked out that way.
So at least people have woken up. But you already see things happening. The Justice Department going after Huawei. The extradition of the leader of Huawei in Canada. So every day you see more and more of this happening and now you’re starting to see other countries doing it. Poland, numerous countries who are now taking this threat seriously as well, because Huawei is an example is already embedded there, but there’s just so much more to do.
We still struggle, for example, with academia. I can’t tell you how many universities in Florida that I’ve talked to and said, You have these Confucius Institutes and they’re used as agents of influence to shape the narrative and potentially to identify Americans who 20 years from now could be a mayor, could be a congressman, could be a leader of a major corporation and start to sort of recruit them to the Chinese view of things. And how many schools fought us on that.
Now, we’ve gotten them kicked out of almost every school, but one in Florida, and more universities are coming, waking up to that threat, but it is still an enormous challenge to convince academics that this is a threat.
CARLSON: Well, considering that these schools, almost every last one of them rely on tax dollars either through guaranteed student loans or directly through grants to operate, doesn’t the Congress have some leverage on this question?
RUBIO: We do, and eventually it may get to that point, what we’re hoping to do is through these defensive briefings, we and other members of the Intelligence Committee have been hosting these closed meetings with leaders of business, academia, even the press, and sort of walking them through the threat that China poses.
And I can tell you two or three years ago, it was a huge challenge because the business community just saw China as this huge market they wanted to sell things and make things cheap in, and now I think people are starting to wake up to this threat, but we have a long ways to go.
CARLSON: My last question; is it a partisan question? I mean, are there senators on the other side, Democrats who understand the threat and are willing to address it in the straightforward way that you are?
RUBIO: Yes, absolutely. So Mark Warner is the Vice Chairman of Intelligence and he’s one of the leaders and I think we haven’t turned this one into a partisan issue yet. And that’s a good thing. I think the challenge really becomes from the pro-corporatists, pro-business — I’m pro-business, but not to the expense of national security, and some idea that ultimately open trade, more commerce and engagement is — selling things over there or making things over there is more important than our national security. That’s where I think the challenge is more embedded. That’s changing a little bit, as I said, but we still have some challenges there.