Craig A. Johnson
Date: Fri, 01 Mar 1996 22:39:47 -0500
From: Dave Farber <•••@••.•••>
Subject: IP: "Bomb" is at the bottom...
To: •••@••.••• (interesting-people mailing list)
"Bomb" is at the bottom...
(Reuters, 2/28/96, "FBI director warns of economic espionage")
Economic espionage by foreign countries and firms against U.S.
companies is a growing threat to national security, FBI Director Louis
Freeh warned Congress on Wednesday.
"The problem involves billions of dollars, thousands of jobs and the
health of our national economy," Freeh said at a hearing of the Senate
"Current FBI investigations reflect 23 countries engaged in economic
espionage activities against the United States," Freeh added.
Freeh did not identify any of the countries, but other witnesses told
of incidents involving companies and individuals from China, Germany
Chairman Arlen Specter, a Pennsylvania Republican, said Russian
President Boris Yeltsin recently ordered the use of industrial
intelligence to close the technology gap with Western nations.
"I think it's an ominous sign," Freeh said of Yeltsin's statement.
"They (foreign countries) certainly have increased their activities in
the United States."
Because of the threat, Freeh said the Federal Bureau of Investigation
established a counterintelligence programme in 1994 to detect and stop
foreign economic espionage.
Specter said the White House had estimated that U.S. businesses were
losing $100 billion a year to foreign spying. He said at least 51
countries had spies in the United States trying to steal economic
A recent report by the General Accounting Office, the congressional
investigational agency, said some U.S. allies were trying to steal
American military technology. The report did not identify the
Freeh said the problem was becoming more difficult because of the
greater importance of advanced technology and the increased access to
electronic information on computers.
He said some countries use their students studying in the United
States as intelligence agents or pay employees of U.S. companies to
obtain economic secrets or proprietary information.
Freeh said current laws on theft and fraud often could not be used in
industrial spying cases because no physical property was actually
"For example, if an individual downloads computer programme code
without permission of the owner, has a theft occurred even though the
true owner never lost possession of the original?" Freeh asked.
He urged Congress to pass laws which deal specifically with economic
Among the legislation being considered is a bill that would make theft
of proprietary information a federal crime punishable by up to 15
years in prison and a $250,000 fine for individuals and to $10 million
in fines for companies.
Seems to me that liberal ...er... illiberal but loose ... definitions
of "theft" and "proprietary information" could make info-terrorists.
of us all.
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