DOJ charges 7 Chinese spies with targeting US political leaders, major businesses

by Matt Lamb at

NEW YORK (LifeSiteNews) — Hackers targeted defense contractors, American political leaders, and U.S. companies with malware as part of a surveillance operation for the Chinese Communist Party, the Department of Justice (DOJ) alleges.

The DOJ released details on the indictment of seven Chinese individuals who have been charged with “conspiracy to commit computer intrusions and conspiracy to commit wire fraud,” according to a Monday news release.

The individuals are part of a People’s Republic of China (PRC) group who “spent approximately 14 years targeting U.S. and foreign critics, businesses, and political officials in furtherance of the PRC’s economic espionage and foreign intelligence objectives,” according to the DOJ.

Officials unsealed the indictment on Monday, though charges were originally filed in January.

The indictment provides further insight into how the CCP targets American companies and political leaders for retribution and influence using computer viruses.

The CCP and its Ministry of State Security “sought to obtain information on political, economic and security policies that might affect the PRC, along with military, scientific and technical information of value to the PRC,” the indictment states. “Among other things, the MSS and its state security departments focused on surreptitiously identifying and influencing the foreign policy of other countries, including the United States.”

The hackers used a front company called Wuhan XRZ beginning in at least 2010. They would send fake emails to U.S. senators, business leaders, and information technology companies looking to gain access. They were successful in hacking defense contractors, information technology providers, and universities, among other victims.

The DOJ itself was targeted, along the Commerce Department, the Treasury Department, and the White House.

The Justice Department alleges:

These computer network intrusion activities resulted in the confirmed and potential compromise of work and personal email accounts, cloud storage accounts and telephone call records belonging to millions of Americans, including at least some information that could be released in support of malign influence targeting democratic processes and institutions, and economic plans, intellectual property, and trade secrets belonging to American businesses, and contributed to the estimated billions of dollars lost every year as a result of the PRC’s state-sponsored apparatus to transfer U.S. technology to the PRC.