Washington Prowler

ChiComs Hack Congress

Pelosi none too concerned. Also: Who succeeds Robert Gates?

By 3.30.09

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BREAKING AND ENTERING
Republican members of the House of Representatives weren't surprised by the report over the weekend that entities with ties to the Communist Chinese government had been spying on more than 100 governments and other institutions, such as the Dalai Lama, via a computer program.

The ChiComs and hacker organizations routinely attempt -- sometimes successfully -- to hack into House computer systems, as well as other U.S. government institutions.

"Beyond vigilance and security, there isn't much more we can do about it," says a House Republican member, who says that last year colleagues' computers were hacked after they or their staffs had met with human-rights advocates on ChiCom human rights abuses. "It's getting now that you just expect it, and plan for it," says the member.

Yet even though House Republicans have raised the issue with Democrat leadership, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has chosen not to pursue the issue with the Chinese government. "Her position is that our national security agencies and Homeland Security are dealing with this issue, we don't have to," says a House Democrat leadership aide. "It's not her place."

Yet according to some House Democrats, she has chosen to insert herself into business negotiations or business dealings between California constituencies and the Chinese business entities, all of which have ties in some form to the ChiCom government.

But Pelosi's soft on China's cyberterror strategy may backfire on her. The Obama Administration is expected to announce next week an aggressive plan to counter such hacking and data theft.

DEFENSE BUILDUP
The White House, according to sources, has already begun looking ahead and planning for a transition period for Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who is expected to stay on in that post for perhaps another year to implement Obama's revised Afghanistan strategy.

"We learned a lot from seeing how poorly the Clinton Administration dealt with the Pentagon coming into office," says a Defense transition team member. "And they didn't come close to having the challenges the previous administration had and which we were picking up. This administration wanted the military establishment to be its friend, and we think we did a pretty good of getting them to that point."

The man expected to replace Gates? Retired Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel, who has been traveling around the globe giving speeches on defense and national security policy.

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