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U.S. indicts PRC intelligence officer

AXIOS, Bill Bishop

The indictment and extradition from Belgium of a serving Chinese Ministry of State Security officer for economic espionage is a very big deal.

Driving the news: From the Department of Justice announcement...

A Chinese Ministry of State Security (MSS) operative, Yanjun Xu, aka Qu Hui, aka Zhang Hui, has been arrested and charged with conspiring and attempting to commit economic espionage and steal trade secrets from multiple U.S. aviation and aerospace companies.  Xu was extradited to the United States yesterday...

Yanjun Xu is a Deputy Division Director with the MSS’s Jiangsu State Security Department, Sixth Bureau. The MSS is the intelligence and security agency for China and is responsible for counter-intelligence, foreign intelligence and political security. MSS has broad powers in China to conduct espionage both domestically and abroad.

Why it matters: This appears to be the first time a PRC intelligence officer has been brought to the U.S. to face charges, which can be taken as a sign that the Trump administration is stepping up the U.S.-PRC spy contest.

My thought bubble: A PRC reaction is to be expected, quite possibly including the arrest of an American in China as a spy. Plus, the trade war and China's renewed drive for self-reliance may lead to an increase in cyber-related economic espionage.

What we're hearing: Dmitri Alperovitch, co-founder and CTO at CrowdStrike, said as much on Twitter this week in reaction to the arrest of Xu:

Go deeper: How the US Halted China’s Cybertheft — Using a Chinese Spy (Wired)

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