Obama's toothless trade secrets strategy

Bill Gertz:
A new White House strategy designed to protect trade secrets from economic espionage limits United States government action to diplomatic and law enforcement measures.

The “Administration Strategy on Mitigating the Theft of U.S. Trade Secrets,” made publicWednesday, said it will seek to protect U.S. commercial innovation and other business advantages from aggressive economic espionage.

“These intangible assets are often captured as intellectual property—copyrights, patents, trademarks, and trade secrets, and reflect America’s advantage in the global economy,” the report said.

The report lists numerous examples of Chinese theft of corporate data from companies such as Ford, General Motors, DuPont, Dow Chemical, Valspar, and Motorola.

However, policy specific to China is not mentioned in the text of the strategy.

“This strategy is not focused on any one country nor is it focused on cybersecurity exclusively, though cyber does play an important role in the strategy,” said a White House official.

U.S. officials said the strategy deliberately played down the major role played by China in order to avoid upsetting relations with Beijing.


The strategy makes no mention of the use of offensive intelligence or military cyber operations against offending states, a strategy urged by some private sector security analysts.

Economic sanctions against countries or entities engaged in pilfering trade secrets also are not mentioned in the report.

John Bolton, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, criticized the report for lacking substance.

“Repeating its strategic mistake of treating international terrorism as primarily a matter of law-enforcement, the Obama administration sees cyberspace the same way conceptually,” Bolton told the Free Beacon.

“The main threats to U.S. trade secrets, based on the available evidence, come from state actors that are not subject to law-enforcement sanctions, enforcement, or deterrence. American business—and our economy as a whole—will pay dearly for the administration’s delusions.”

The report states that “emerging trends indicate that the pace of economic espionage and trade secret theft against U.S. corporations is accelerating,” referring to a two-year old U.S. counterintelligence report.

There is much more.

We need a counter attack strategy similar to that used in missile defense where the incoming attack is hit with destructive force.  We should be able to develop the technology to accomplish that and fry every computer used to steal data.  Lawfare is clearly an ineffective tool in dealing with the Chinese military espionage efforts.


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