By Richard Sale
The U.S. started a program of disinformation and sabotage that targets China and would impair the country’s war-fighting effectiveness by smuggling in bugs and logic bombs that will funnel back information to the U.S. or crash Chinese computers and other machines, U.S. intelligence sources told ISSSource.
The program uses U.S. information technology to undermine China’s newest technology in a variety of sectors, information, manufacturing, and industrial but especially its computer expertise, the sources said.
The U.S. is using every means to plant computer viruses and bugs on the Chinese. In one case, a computer given to China by a foreign national turned out to be bugged. In another case, a calculator, given as a gift to a Chinese person by a foreign national as a gift turned out to be bugged, the sources said.
How many other hundreds or thousands of items ended up planted on the Chinese thanks to gifts or items sold over the years? James Adams, chief executive and co-founder of iDefense, a private agency specializing in information intelligence, said that a similar program had enjoyed huge success in helping to undermine the Soviets.
There are stories about Chinese thefts from important U.S. government structures, private enterprise, etc, but there is an aspect of such attacks completely ignored: The idea that such thefts had origins with U.S. computer bugs and the U.S. was prepared for those thefts.
According to the U.S. sources, the U.S. has been frantically developing contacts inside China. These sources said there was a period when successful long established U.S. technical programs were coming up empty in China because China was jamming them or in other ways thwarting them.
But U.S. intelligence collection, targeting China, has helped identify Chinese vulnerabilities. The chief design of the program is to disrupt China’s cyber technology, and its adjacent industry. This is a widespread program that provides China with false or partly false data that forces them to make the wrong technological decisions. “It screws them up and confuses them,” one U.S. official said.
U.S. businessmen conducting business in China are important sources, especially during the Cold War. Because of extensive of U.S. intelligence collections, U.S. technicians have drawn up a list of those projects that are most technically important. The U.S. knows what the Chinese technical requirements are. Some U.S. corporations that do business inside China do reports for the CIA’s National Collection Division which has offices in every major American city (These U.S. businesses get cover from the CIA), the sources said.
This kind of effort demands a huge collection effort to ascertain where weaknesses are and in what sector or what order of importance they merit.
U.S. misleading or incomplete technical data destined for China releases through various channels, dummy companies, U.S. trading partners, and manufacturers of components and the like. The data can range from oil drilling plans, plans for gas turbines, computer chips, among others. The data is a mixture of truth and fiction, enough truth for Chinese technicians to take the bait, enough falsehoods to have them spend time designing products from the purloined information only the throw some switch and see that nothing happens.
In the case of Iran, the CIA once gave Iran nuclear plans that had flaws in them, according to published accounts. The U.S. in the Bush administration also had a plan for widespread power black-outs that would have damaged Iran’s centrifuges.
The aim of the current U.S. plan is to debilitate some Chinese technologies. It is weakening the ability of the Chinese to employ some technologies effectively in time of war, sources said.
Richard Sale was United Press International’s Intelligence Correspondent for 10 years and the Middle East Times, a publication of UPI. He is the author of Clinton’s Secret Wars and Traitors.