In 2017 the Chinese Government was offering to spend $100 million to build an ornate Chinese Garden at the National Arboretum in Washington DC. It would include temples, pavilions, and a 70-foot white pagoda. Sounds like a great way to attract tourists, right?
Well, the U.S. counterintelligence did some digging and found some red flags. The pagoda would have been strategically placed on one of the highest points in Washington DC, just two miles from the U.S. Capitol. This would have been a perfect spot for signals intelligence collection. In addition, the Chinese officials wanted to build the pagoda with materials shipped to the U.S. in diplomatic pouches. U.S. Customs Officials would be prohibited from examining this.
Once these red flags were brought to attention the project was quickly destroyed before construction had begun. Since 2017 federal officials have investigated Chinese land purchases near critical infrastructure. The most alarming things the FBI uncovered pertains to Chinese-made Huawei equipment atop cell towers near U.S. military bases in the Midwest. The FBI determined the equipment could capture and disrupt highly restricted Defense Department communications, including those used by U.S. Strategic Command, which overseas our nuclear weapons.
The Chinese government denies any efforts to spy on the U.S. although it is unclear whether any data was intercepted and sent back to Beijing from these towers. If the Chinese government is using this equipment to spy on the U.S., what are you doing to protect your organization?
For more information regarding online safety, feel free to reach out to us at email@example.com.