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Public Statements

Statements on Introduced Bills and Joint Resolutions

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. LEVIN. Mr. President, one aspect of cybersecurity threats from foreign nations relates directly to America's global competitiveness.

If American entrepreneurs are known for one thing, it is innovation. That innovation costs money. American companies invest billions and billions of dollars every year on research and development to create products that are the best in the world. Companies in my State alone invest $16 billion a year in research and development. When these investments succeed American companies are often the leaders in their industries at home and in overseas markets, offering technologies that are not available elsewhere. This is a huge competitive value and one that we must protect.

But too many U.S. companies of all sizes are being robbed of their intellectual property, the engine of their businesses, and the American economy is being undermined through cyber theft. Often the culprits are foreign governments. To make matters worse, these governments share the stolen technology with companies that compete with the very U.S. companies that developed the technology in the first place.

General Keith B. Alexander, head of the National Security Agency and U.S. Cyber Command, recently called the theft of intellectual property from U.S. entities through cyberspace "the greatest transfer of wealth in history.'' He estimated that such theft costs U.S. companies and institutions hundreds of billions of dollars. It is outrageous that American trade secrets are being stolen and used to compete against us. So who is responsible?

As far back as 2011, the National Counterintelligence Executive said in its annual report to Congress that ``Chinese actors are the world's most active and persistent perpetrators of economic espionage. U.S. private sector firms and cybersecurity specialists have reported an onslaught of computer network intrusions that have originated in China.''

In March of this year, Mandiant, a company that investigates private sector cyber security breaches, published a report describing how a cyber-espionage unit of the Chinese People's Liberation Army raided the computers of at least 141 different organizations, stealing ``technology blueprints, proprietary manufacturing processes, test results, business plans, pricing documents, [and] partnership agreements.'' According to Mandiant, the industries targeted by the PLA ``match industries that China has identified as strategic to their growth.'' Mandiant's report exposed PLA cyber theft aimed at the information technology, transportation, aerospace, satellites and telecommunications, and high end electronics industries, to name just a few.

U.S. government reports also point to China. Just last week the U.S. Trade Representative issued its ``Special 301'' report reviewing the global state of intellectual property rights, IPR. USTR stated that ``Obtaining effective enforcement of IPR in China remains a central challenge, as it has been for many years.'' The report continued ``This situation has been made worse by cyber theft, as information suggests that actors located in China have been engaged in sophisticated, targeted efforts to steal [intellectual property] from U.S. corporate systems.''

Also last week, an article in Bloomberg described cyber espionage conducted by the Chinese People's Liberation Army against QinetiQ, a defense contractor. The article said the PLA operation ``jeopardized the [victim] company's sensitive technology involving drones, satellites, the U.S. Army's combat helicopter fleet, and military robotics, both already-deployed systems and those still in development.'' The report stated that the Chinese ``hackers had burrowed into almost every corner of QinetiQ's U.S. operations, including production facilities and engineering labs in St. Louis, Pittsburgh, Long Beach, Mississippi, Huntsville, Alabama and Albuquerque, New Mexico, where QinetiQ engineers work on satellite-based espionage, among other projects.''

It is time that we fought back to protect American businesses and American innovation. We need to call out those who are responsible for cyber theft and empower the President to hit the thieves where it hurts most--in their wallets.

Today, I am introducing a bill along with Senators McCain, COBURN and ROCKEFELLER that calls on the Director of National Intelligence, DNI, to develop a list of foreign countries that engage in economic or industrial espionage in cyberspace with respect to U.S. trade secrets or proprietary information. We have done something similar under the Special 301 process for intellectual property rights infringements in foreign countries.

Specifically, our legislation requires the DNI to publish an annual report listing foreign countries that engage in, facilitate, support or tolerate economic and industrial espionage targeting U.S. trade secrets or proprietary information through cyberspace. That report would identify:

A watch list of foreign countries that engage in economic or industrial espionage in cyberspace with respect to trade secrets or proprietary information owned by United States persons; it would identify a priority watch list of foreign countries that are the most egregious offenders; U.S. technologies targeted for economic or industrial espionage in cyberspace and U.S. technologies that have been stolen, to the extent that is known; articles manufactured or produced or services provided, without permission from the rights holder, using such stolen technologies or proprietary information; foreign companies, including state owned enterprises, that benefit from stolen technologies or proprietary information; details of the economic or industrial espionage engaged in by foreign countries; and actions taken by DNI and other Federal agencies and progress made to decrease foreign economic or industrial espionage in cyberspace against United States persons.

Creating a ``name and shame'' list, as this report would do, will shine a spotlight on those who are stealing U.S. technologies. But we need more than a report, we need action.

Our bill provides for more than a report. In order to enforce compliance with laws protecting U.S. patents, copyrights, and other intellectual property and protection of the Department of Defense supply chain, our legislation requires the President to block imports of products if they: contain stolen U.S. technology or proprietary information, or are produced by a state-owned enterprise of a country on the priority watch list and are the same as or similar to products made using the stolen or targeted U.S. technology or proprietary information identified in the report, or are made by a company identified in the report as having benefitted from the stolen U.S. technology or proprietary information.

Blocking imports of products that either incorporate intellectual property stolen from U.S. companies or are from companies otherwise that benefit from cyber theft will send the message that we have had enough. If foreign governments--like the Chinese government--want to continue to deny their involvement in cyber theft despite the proof, that's one thing. We can't stop the denials on the face of facts. But we aren't without remedies. We can prevent the companies that benefit from the theft--including State-owned companies from getting away with the benefits of that theft. Maybe once they understand that complicity will cost them access to the U.S. market, they will press their governments to stop or refuse to benefit at least. We will hit them where it hurts with this legislation and we aim to get results.

We have stood by for far too long while our intellectual property and proprietary information is plundered in cyberspace and in turn used to undercut the very companies that developed it. It is now time to act. Our legislation will give our Government powerful tools to fight back against these crimes and protect the investments and property of U.S. companies and institutions. I urge my colleagues to work to enact this very important legislation as quickly as possible. We have no time to lose.

Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the text of the bill be printed in the Record.


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