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Cyber spying on defense firms probed

A snow-covered C-17 transport jet.
A snow-covered C-17 transport jet.
U.S. Air Force

The Senate Armed Services Committee announced March 26 that it has conducted an investigation of "cyber intrusions" against certain U.S. military contractors.

The panel hopes to release a declassified version of its findings in a few weeks, a committee spokesman said.

The inquiry focused on firms that support U.S. Transportation Command. Based at Scott Air Force Base, Ill., the command coordinates the aircraft, ships and trains that move American troops and equipment across the globe.

Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), the committee’s chairman, said in a statement that lawmakers “have grave concerns that China’s cyber activities, particularly those targeting private companies that support mobilization and deployment, could be used to degrade our ability to respond during a contingency.”

Testifying before Levin’s committee last March, Air Force Gen. William M. Fraser III, who heads the transportation command, said that his organization’s strong reliance on commercial partners requires it to do much of its work on unclassified systems, “leaving us vulnerable to possible cyber attacks.”

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