A senior FBI official admitted that the agency should have done more to prevent the recruitment of American researchers by Beijing, which used them to exploit U.S. scientific research, National Review reported.
“With our present-day knowledge of the threat from Chinese plans, we wish we had taken more rapid and comprehensive action in the past,” FBI assistant director of the counterintelligence division John Brown told a Senate subcommittee on Tuesday. “The time to make up for that is now.”
Brown was responding to a bipartisan Senate report released earlier this week that details a plan by Beijing, called the Thousand Talents Program (TTP), to offer compensation to American-based researchers that resulted in the massive illegal transfer of intellectual property to China.
“These failures continue to undermine the integrity of the American research enterprise and endanger our national security,” the report said.
Brown said that the FBI did not realize the significance of TTP when China launched it in 2008, explaining that back then, “America didn’t fully understand the threat we face today,” The Epoch Times reported.
He added, “As the threat evolved from 2008, you had folks working it, but it just wasn’t clear the extent of it. Then once it crystallized in 2015, that’s when we said, ‘Hey, we’ve got a problem here.'”
Brown emphasized that the FBI has doubled its efforts on the issue in the past few years.