Whenever the U.S. goes head-to-head with China at the Olympics, there's always an intense competitiveness between the two sports superpowers. But that rivalry extends to a lot more than the Games, as FBI Director Christopher Wray spelled out in terrifying detail. China is determined to win where it matters -- in global supremacy -- and they'll infiltrate any American institution to do it. In most cases, he warns, they already have.
It was a jaw-dropping interview, but an important one heading into three weeks of around-the-clock Olympic coverage. China, Wray makes it clear on NBC's Nightly News, isn't the benevolent host the regime is making themselves out to be. When they aren't throwing entire people groups behind bars or snuffing out democratic protests, the communists are waging a secret war against the United States -- and using cutting-edge espionage to do it. The scale of Chinese spying in the U.S., he admitted, "blew me away."
Wray came to the top post at the FBI in 2017, and since then, he's spent a good portion of his job trying to stop the Chinese from stealing American technology. "I'm not the kind of guy that uses words like 'blown away' easily," he told reporter Pete Williams. But "we are opening a new China-related counterintelligence investigation about every 12 hours. We probably have over 2,000 of those investigations." There is no country, he went on, "that presents a broader, more severe threat to our innovation, our ideas and our economic security than China does. I'm referring not to the Chinese people, not to people of Chinese descent or heritage. What we're talking about here is the Chinese government and the Chinese Communist Party."
It was a shocking admission to most people -- but not former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Two years ago, at a meeting of America's governors, he looked everyone right in the eye and said it was time to wake up to the fact that the Chinese were hiding in the shadows of every American institution. And no one, he said evenly, knows it's happening.
"These aren't hypotheticals," Pompeo insisted at the time. "We've allowed this to continue without a deep awareness from the American people." And what is "this," exactly? According to top State Department officials, we're talking about a massive network of Chinese communists fanned out across the country with one goal: penetrate U.S. security, education, and financial systems -- then, create chaos. "It's happening in your state," he argued, "with consequences for our foreign policy, for the citizens who reside in your states, and indeed for each of you... The Chinese Government has been methodical in the way it's analyzed our system... It's assessed our vulnerabilities, and it's decided to exploit our freedoms to gain advantage over us at the federal level, the state level, and the local level."
They're usually Chinese diplomats running point on the operations. Men and women, serving here in the United States, who are quietly "leading and executing programs that present a risk to American businesses, to Americans' privacy, and to Americans'...security." And the worst thing about it, he said, is it's not "on people's radar screens." "It's one thing to pressure the secretary of state of the United States of America." It's quite another "to go after a high school principal," he pointed out. "It shows depth. It shows systematization. It shows intent."
For the communist empire, the long game is paying off. The Chinese have quietly built a foothold with local school boards, high school administrators, and county officials that's giving them a powerful voice they should never have. There are almost 60 Confucius Institutes on U.S. college and university campuses and 500 "Confucius Classrooms" in K-12 schools. It's a disturbing trend, Politico's magazine frets. "At a time when universities are as willing as ever to shield their charges from controversial viewpoints, some nonetheless welcome foreign, communist propaganda -- if the price is right."
Then, of course, there's the growing problem of Big Tech's China sympathizers, which author Peter Schweizer brings to light in painstaking detail. CEOs like Mark Zuckerberg have literally rolled out the red carpet for the communists, giving them access to research and technology that could even compromise the U.S. military.
In the rare instances where Facebook, Google, and Microsoft aren't helping the regime, they have plenty of internal experts to rely on. "The scale of their hacking program and the amount of personal and corporate data their hackers have stolen is greater than every other country combined," Wray explained. "China may be the first country to combine that kind of authoritarian ambition with cutting-edge technical capability. It's like the surveillance nightmare of East Germany combined with the tech of Silicon Valley."
Like most threats facing America, Joe Biden doesn't seem to have the will -- or the skill -- to confront China. Let's hope he finds both soon, or else, as former Congressman Mike Rogers worries, "we will cede our sovereignty and our future, and that of our children, to Beijing -- and that's something that isn't worth any price."