U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, today criticized the Department of Defense for allowing Chinese military officials to visit sensitive U.S. facilities as part of an effort to improve U.S. and Chinese military-to-military relations. Statement by Ros-Lehtinen:
"I am very concerned that high-ranking Chinese military officials are being given access to sensitive U.S. military facilities as part of an effort to reestablish U.S.-Chinese military-to-military relations. This raises a number of questions about the policies in place to safeguard U.S. national security-related information and the foreign policy implications of the Administration's response to Chinese actions against U.S. interests and allies.
"The visit to Nellis Air Force Base is especially troubling, given its key role in our defenses against cyberwarfare and other high-tech threats. China is actively engaged in cyber attacks against the U.S., including massive assaults on U.S. government and civilian networks alike, especially those of the Department of Defense. There can be no doubt that every scrap of information this expert delegation collects will be used against us.
"Congress must immediately review existing prohibitions against giving Chinese officials access to sensitive information, and determine if they need to be strengthened.
"The Chinese military openly regards the United States as an enemy. We should not undermine our own security by thinking we can make friends with self-proclaimed adversaries with hospitality and open arms."