To no one’s surprise, defense analysts have discovered China's cyber-espionage operations yielded sensitive U.S. technology and aircraft secrets used to build the new J-20 stealth fighter jet.
The Washington Post reported Thursday the spying began in 2007, compromising Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, and Northrop Grumman contractors, including plans for the Defense Department's costliest weapons program ever – the Joint Strike Fighter project.
Chinese hackers also broke into the the Patriot missile system, Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, and the Army's ballistic missile interceptor program Aegis.
The F-35 Lightning II is by far the most sophisticated aircraft the Pentagon has ever attempted. According to The Wall Street Journal, the Government Accountability Office said the cost is more than triple the amount used in the current top Air Force fighter.
China has purchased some technologies at discounted rates from U.S. Cold War-era rivals such as Russia. Other technologies it simply stole from the United States and built itself.
As late as last January 20, China's official Communist Party newspaper, bragged about key technologies for the F-35 Lightning II were "completely obtained" by the government, according to The Washington Times.
In an ominous warning in 2012, Rep. Michael McCaul, chairman of the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Oversight, Investigations and Management, said that cyber-attacks place the country at risk.
Is anyone responding to this?
"Make no mistake, America is under attack by digital bombs," McCaul told CBS News. “The theft of $1 trillion in intellectual property is a serious economic issue. The theft of F-35 blueprints would enable China to, "manufacture those planes and then guard against those planes."
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