SALT LAKE CITY – Utah U.S. Attorney John W. Huber shared highlights of the Department of Justice’s China Initiative with law enforcement agents and officers, private sector business representatives, university officials, and others at a Salt Lake City Security Webinar Wednesday morning. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the FBI sponsored the webinar.
Huber’s remarks focused on the economic and national security threats China poses to the United States and the importance of defending the country against these efforts.
Huber referenced testimony given by Assistant Attorney General John C. Demers before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Dec. 12, 2018. “In many of the cases we see, China’s strategy is the same: Rob, Replicate, and Replace. Rob the American company of its intellectual property, Replicate the technology, and Replace the American company in the Chinese market and, one day, in the global market,” Demers said in his testimony.
“About 80 percent of all federal economic espionage prosecutions have conduct that would benefit China and around 60 percent of federal trade secret theft cases have some nexus to China,” Huber said.
Utah has experienced its own China-related espionage case, Huber told those participating in the webinar. Ron Rockwell Hansen, a Syracuse, Utah, resident and former Defense Intelligence Agency officer, was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison in September 2019 after admitting to spying and selling classified information to China.
Huber concluded with key takeaways for those involved in the webinar, including identifying trade secrets and valuable intellectual property; instituting protections such as non-disclosure agreements, access controls, and need-to-know rules; employee training; and developing an internal employee reporting mechanism for suspicious activities.
“Utah companies should take affirmative steps to protect their hard-earned intellectual property and trade secrets,” Huber said. “The Department of Justice will respond to the economic aggression and other national security threats from the Chinese government. United States Attorneys will hold accountable, and expose the tactics of those who would steal American innovation.”