The CIA announced on Thursday the creation of the China Mission Center, a special unit dedicated to questions about the Asian giant, considered the main long-term rival. Analysts recall the similarities with the units dedicated to the Soviet bloc during the Cold War.
CIA director William Burns wanted to specify that the unit is not directed against the Chinese people but against the Government of Beijing.
“The CMC will strengthen our collective work on the most important geopolitical threat we face in the 21st century: an increasingly hostile Chinese government,” Burns said.
Despite the vaguely conciliatory tone of President Joe Biden’s recent speech to the UN General Assembly, the Administration takes the Chinese threat very seriously, seen as a “strategic competitor” and last June created a special unit at the Pentagon. to assess the military threat Beijing poses and respond.
The recent naval agreement between the United States, Australia and the United Kingdom, which has raised blisters in Europe, is part of this strategy.
The CIA and the FBI, in charge of internal security, have revealed dozens of cases of industrial or military espionage in the shadow of the Chinese authorities. The Asian giant is also accused of being behind several cyberattacks against US institutions and companies.
The Washington Post and the New York Times had access to an internal document where China acknowledged having lost dozens of informants, arrested or murdered.
“Throughout its history the CIA has overcome all the challenges it has faced,” said the agency’s director. “As we face our toughest geopolitical challenge today, in a new era of great power rivalry, the CIA will play a pivotal role,” he added.
The relationship between the two superpowers has been affected by the flight of Chinese military aircraft near the self-governing island of Taiwan, which Beijing considers part of its territory. The United States also accuses China of torpedoing efforts to understand the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic.
China defends itself by claiming that the United States is looking for a scapegoat to hide its own failures such as the hasty withdrawal from Afghanistan.
The group will become one of the mission centers, a dozen in all, that the agency runs.
He will meet weekly with the director to pilot the agency’s China strategy.
The CIA is looking for agents capable of speaking Chinese and is trying to reduce complex and burdensome recruitment procedures to six months.
China is an especially difficult challenge for the American intelligence community, given the insularity of its Communist Party leaders, its large military and security services, and its development of advanced technologies that can counter espionage.
Republican rivals in Congress have celebrated the creation of this task force.
Burns also announced the creation of a CIA Director of Technology and a unit dedicated to America’s global competitiveness, the Center for Transnational Mission and Technology.
The unit will focus on emerging technologies, climate change, economic security, and public health issues.
As part of a reorganization of the agency, the CIA will incorporate the mission centers on Iran and North Korea into existing groups that cover each country’s respective region. Both country-specific mission centers were created during the administration of President Donald Trump.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.