In a first-of-its-kind case, the U.S. is charging five Chinese military officials with hacking into the computer systems of American companies to steal trade secrets.
The U.S. says members of Chinese military unit 61398 “conspired to hack into computers of six U.S. victims to steal information that would provide an economic advantage to the victims’ competitors, including Chinese state-owned enterprises.”
The detailed indictment includes specific actions taken by the named individuals on specific days from specific sets of computers in Shanghai.
Attorney General Eric Holder called the charges a “wake up call.”
Assistant Attorney General for National Security John Carlin pledged that his office “will continue using all of the tools at our disposal to pursue those who steal our intellectual property, no matter who they are or where they reside.”
Reporters at today’s press conference announcing the charges pressed the question of whether any of these individuals will actually face trial, or if any extradition agreement would cover this case, but Mr. Holder did not have a direct answer.
Wall Street Journal reporter Devlin Barrett joins Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson.