U.S. worried about China industrial espionage activities during World's Expo

pointing out that the offices of the Director of National Intelligence and National Counterintelligence Executive, which jointly issued the 2008 report, have not retracted it. “We continue to view certain countries such as China and Russia, with their efforts to acquire technologies, as a threat,” the intelligence official said.

The sentiment was echoed by Marion “Spike” Bowman, a veteran of the intelligence community who as the U.S. Deputy National Counterintelligence Executive at the time helped draft the 2008 report. “The fact of the matter is that the United States, with about three percent of the world’s population, we spend 25 percent of all the world’s research and development dollars,” he said. “So we are the number one target in the world.”

Before events like the World’s Expo or the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, the intelligence and law enforcement communities often try to teach business executives and others about the threats they face, Bowman said. Bowman said the largest threat is a country’s efforts to steal trade secrets and other sensitive technology information.

Intelligence officials often urge traveling business executives to take a “throw away” cell phone instead of their “normal” devices, and to leave their laptops at home (“U.S. Government recommends weighing laptop before and after visit to China,” 16 September 2009 HSNW), or “at least let your IT folks scrub the hell out of them when you come back,” according to Bowman.

If you take your blackberry and you go back home and you sync it up to your internet and to your office files, the chances of you being penetrated by a bug that’s been planted in your blackberry are just too high to merit the risk,” Bowman said.

In China, for example, a hotel maid could simply install a file on a guest’s computer. To make things “even easier,” a hotel employee could steal information through a guest’s use of the hotel’s internet service, according to Bowman.

Before the Olympics in 2008, officials from the Director of National Intelligence’s office held private meetings with up to thirty CEOs from the U.S. biggest companies, demonstrating to them “how easy it is” to hack into a cell phone or a laptop, Bowman said.

U.S. intelligence officials successfully persuaded some key executives to leave their laptops behind and take disposable cell phones, according to Bowman.

Bowman said he was unaware of any serious incidents or espionage activities during the Olympic Games in Beijing, which