Latest posts by Alvin Bryan (see all)
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The US government says that it does not get into either industrial or economic espionage. But their emphatic denial in front of mainstream US media is now working against them. The Intercept has documents proving that the NSA has been conducting surveillance on foreign corporations all along.
A History of Economic Espionage
The US government has repeatedly emphasized that it does not commit industrial or economic espionage. They want to clearly set themselves apart from governments like China that do. They want people to see how clean they are compared to this cyber opponent. This is so that they can be justified in launching aggressive cyber attacks against China. But this has all fallen apart since evidence has surfaced that the US government does indeed spy on Chinese companies, and more.
The US has already been caught spying on companies in Brazil and the EU, along with diverse entities associated with the World Bank and the IMF, and various international systems relating to banking and credit cards. These are undeniable economic espionage targets. Despite the fact that the government stressed to the Washington Post that it does not participate in economic espionage “in any domain, including cyber”, it thought that it could make up for it by changing its statement. After getting caught, they said that they do spy on outside companies, but that it is not done to give local corporations an advantage. Again, the government is trying to place itself on a moral level above China and its cyber espionage adversaries.
Planning to Spy on Foreign Corporations
In the latest report by The Intercept, documents show that the US government has considered stealing commercial secrets. The NSA maintains that it does not pilfer trade secrets for the benefit of US companies. But it is suspicious that since 2009 the government has devoted resources to plan out specific ways of executing such activities. Taking such secrets from foreign countries would greatly benefit the US economy. It would help US corporations rise above the competition, such as China.
One of the greatest threats to the US by 2025 is the country losing the lead that it has in terms of innovation and technology. This is as assessed by the intelligence community in 2009. Snowden furnished The Intercept with the 2009 Quadrennial Intelligence Community Review. It shows how the office of the Director of National Intelligence thinks intelligence agencies should deal with threats like this. The planning sessions centered around challenges to US supremacy and powerful groups. What is striking is that these sessions planned for specific scenarios that were outside the scope of the intelligence community’s typical planning agendas.
The threat to the US advantage in innovation and technology posed by outside corporations is a big one. The review described it as having the potential to permanently kill the US lead in industries such as IT, nanotechnology, energy and medicine. The NSA’s solution in 2009 was to launch a venture that includes targeting company secrets through undercover surveillance. It highlights Internet spying to gather proprietary information from foreign centers for research and development. The document exemplifies planting malware and spyware to gather data over the long term from manufacturers and researchers working for foreign countries. Another portion stresses gathering technology intelligence by all means. All this is towards the goal of supporting continued growth for US companies.
The document does not prove that these plans are already in action. they do indicate that the solutions presented are for long term application, to begin by 10 years from 2009, or by 2019. And whether the US intelligence community is stealing the proprietary information of foreign corporations or not, the document clearly states that they think it is perfectly all right to do so. The US has been slamming China for alleged corporate espionage, all the while planning to do exactly the same.