Jul 7, 2022

FBI And MI5 Raise Alarm Over Chinese Spying Transcript

FBI And MI5 Raise Alarm Over Chinese Spying Transcript
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The FBI and MI5 are raising concerns about growing threats of spying, hacking, and other covert activity from China. Read the transcript here.

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Speaker 1: (00:00)
Tonight, an unprecedented warning from the world’s top intelligence agencies. In their first ever joint speech, FBI director, Chris Wray, and his British counterpart MI5 director, Ken McCallum, underscored what they say are growing threats, spying, hacking, and other covert activity from China.

Christopher Wray: (00:20)
We consistently see that it’s the Chinese government that poses the biggest long term threat to our economic and national security.

Ken McCallum: (00:29)
The widespread Western assumption that growing prosperity within China and increasing connectivity with the West would automatically lead to greater political freedom, as I’m afraid have been shown to be plain wrong.

Speaker 1: (00:42)
As the US heightens warnings about China, MI5 is now saying its efforts to investigate China’s intelligence activities have grown sevenfold since just 2018. Plus the intelligence agencies saying China is making moves to protect its own economy on another front to guard against possible future financial sanctions from the West. After Russia invaded Ukraine, sanctions have cost billions of dollars globally, but even more Western businesses have deep roots in China, the FBI director warning, a possible invasion of Taiwan and the economic ripple effects could be far more costly and far more dangerous.

Christopher Wray: (01:21)
The Chinese government is set on stealing your technology, whatever it is that makes your industry tick and using it to undercut your business and dominate your market. And they’re set on using every tool at their disposal to do it.

Speaker 1: (01:38)
And regulators say China may already have a secret weapon, your phone. Last week a FCC commissioner warned that TikTok is feeding sensitive user data from its app directly to Beijing.

Brendan Carr: (01:51)
It’s a really popular app. Millions of people are using it, but really that’s just the sheep’s clothing, underneath the data that it’s pulling, it really functions as a sophisticated surveillance tool.

Speaker 1: (02:01)
He demanded in a letter to Apple and Google that they stop offering the massively popular video app altogether. So far, neither has pulled the app. TikTok told NBC news quote, “Engineers and locations outside of the US, including China can be granted access to US user data on an as needed basis under strict controls.” China has not responded to the joint press conference, but has previously denied espionage tactics. For example, in January, China’s foreign ministry denying allegations of a spy exerting influence in British parliament saying, quote, “China has always adhered to the principle of non interference in other countries’ internal affairs. And that certain people may have watched too many double O7 movies,” but the US and UK agencies coming together against this perceived threat.

Christopher Wray: (02:52)
Together, we’re an awfully formidable team.

Tom: (02:58)
All right. Steven Remo joins us now from our studio in New York. A Lot of concerning warnings about activities from the Chinese government, but the TikTok warning probably stands out to many people. Do we know if anything’s being done to protect user data?

Steven Remo: (03:10)
Yeah, of course. TikTok is a wildly popular app, Tom, but many people have been raising this alarm for a while, a couple years now. Senators Mark Warner and Marco Rubio are calling on the Federal Trade Commission to investigate that app as well saying they fear TikTok is just not being honest with how it uses private user data. TikTok responded to the senators just last week, acknowledging China based employees do have access to US user data in what they said was a limited capacity. But the company says it has never shared US user data with the Chinese government.

Lester Holt: (03:43)
Thanks for watching our YouTube channel. Follow today’s top stories and breaking news by downloading the NBC news app.

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