HomeUS News updateCongress holds hearing on threats from China

Congress holds hearing on threats from China

WASHINGTON — As a Chinese spy balloon made its way into the skies over the United States, many Americans got a firsthand look at the potential threat to Beijing’s global ambitions.

But those ambitions are bigger than most people realize and go well beyond the relatively minor threat, said Representative August Pflueger, R-Texas, who hopes to bring Americans’ attention to the issue with a hearing on Thursday.

“I think most Americans woke up and thought, Whoa, how did that balloon get into our airspace and with no communication, no plan and no authority to do so — what else is going on?” Pfluger said. “What about farm land or farmland that leads to our food security being bought by entities close to the CCP (Chinese Communist Party)? What about land being bought next to sensitive military facilities? Those are all things that we intend to understand and warn the American public about whether it merits the threshold of a warning.

Pfluger is a former fighter pilot who served in the Pacific Theater and represents a wide swath of West Texas. He believes there are examples across his district and across the country of the way China is trying to manipulate basic systems many Americans take for granted.

Pfluger chaired a hearing of his House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Terrorism, Law Enforcement and Intelligence on Thursday focused on countering the threats to the US from Chinese incursions.

In his opening statement, Pfluger said, “This Chinese surveillance balloon was a brazen display of espionage in the American homeland, but it is ultimately just one of many ways the CCP is working to exploit our vulnerabilities.” “Today, we must move the conversation beyond balloons and discuss all the ways the CCP threatens American homeland security.”

Before the hearing, the Republican said he wanted his subcommittee to investigate threats to critical US infrastructure. “Think about transmission lines for electricity, for energy, you know, for our roads,” he said.

China is one of the few areas in the current Congress on which Republicans and Democrats have found common ground, and Pfluger believes the hearing will demonstrate the common interest both sides have in reining in these threats. .

“It’s a bipartisan issue. In fact, it’s not partisan. The Chinese Communist Party is doing it inside the United States.”

“I think they’ve been operating at a range below the level of conflict for a long time, but that’s to their advantage and also to America’s disadvantage,” he said.

Pfluger’s subcommittee is separate from the House’s new China Select Committee, which has shown signs of bipartisanship and held its first hearing last week examining a number of technological, economic and military threats from the Chinese Communist Party.

Thursday’s hearing also examined several areas in which China is working to undermine the US. The panel heard testimony from William Evanina, former director of the US National Counterintelligence and Security Center, as well as experts in cyber security, aerospace engineering and Chinese national security. ,

While Pfluger is concerned about the infrastructure threats presented by China, he is also concerned that China is gaining access to the data of many Americans through social media apps like TikTok.

“I think every consumer, every American, needs to be aware of what they’re signing up for when it comes to those platforms,” ​​he said.

Several bills are floating in Congress that would give the federal government the ability to rule over TikTok’s influence, with the White House backing new bipartisan legislation that would allow the government to regulate, or ban, the app.

Pfluger is hoping this is the start of a serious conversation that will lead to concrete results. He made it clear that this is an issue that the average American needs to pay attention to.

A spokesman for the Chinese embassy did not respond to a request for comment.



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