CHINA AS BIG A THREAT TO USA AS RUSSIA, SAYS CIA DIRECTOR
WASHINGTON: Chinese efforts to exert covert influence over the West are as worrying as Russian subversion, the director of the Central Intelligence Agency said on Tuesday.
In a wide-ranging interview, Mike Pompeo also told the BBC he expected that Russia would target the US mid-term elections later this year as part of the Kremlin’s attempt to influence domestic politics across the West.
The Chinese “have a much bigger footprint” to carry out covert activities than the Russians, Pompeo said, noting that China’s reach ranged from traditional espionage to cyber-intelligence.
He accused Beijing of influencing US companies seeking access to its market. His comments on China follows the arrest of former CIA officer Jerry Chun Shing Lee earlier this month on charges of retaining classified information.
On Russia, he said, “I have every expectation that they will continue to try and do that (election meddling) but I’m confident that America will be able to have a free and fair election (and) we will push back in a way that...the impact they have on our election won’t be great.”
Pompeo also said North Korea may have the ability to strike the US with nuclear missiles “in a handful of months”.