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US eyeing charges in foreign cyber-espionage case

Published on NewsOK Modified: May 19, 2014 at 6:55 am •  Published: May 19, 2014
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WASHINGTON (AP) — The United States is preparing to announce criminal charges Monday in an international cyber-espionage case, an official said.

Attorney General Eric Holder and other federal law enforcement officials were expected to reveal the new indictments later Monday, said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity because the person was not authorized to discuss the case by name in advance of the announcement.

The indictments will accuse individuals of participating in cyber-espionage on behalf of a foreign government, the official said.

The identity of the targeted individuals and entities was not immediately clear.

This official described the prosecution as the first of its kind for the U.S. government.

John Carlin, recently installed as head of the Justice's National Security Division, has identified the prosecution of state-sponsored cyber threats as a goal for the Obama administration.

U.S. officials have accused China's army and China-based hackers of launching attacks on American industrial and military targets, often to steal secrets or intellectual property. China has said that it faces a major threat from hackers, and the country's military is believed to be among the biggest targets of the NSA and U.S. Cyber Command.

Last September, President Barack Obama discussed cybersecurity issues on the sidelines of a summit in St. Petersburg, Russia, with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

White House spokesman Ben Rhodes said at the time that Obama had addressed concerns about cyber threats emanating from China. He said Obama told Xi the U.S. sees it not through the prism of security but out of concern over theft of trade secrets.

In late March, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel revealed that the Pentagon planned to more than triple its cybersecurity staff in the next few years to defend against Internet attacks that threaten national security.

Hagel's comments at the National Security Agency headquarters in suburban Washington came as he prepared to visit China.

"Our nation's reliance on cyberspace outpaces our cybersecurity," Hagel said at the time. "Our nation confronts the proliferation of destructive malware and a new reality of steady, ongoing and aggressive efforts to probe, access or disrupt public and private networks, and the industrial control systems that manage our water, and our energy and our food supplies."


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