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House and Senate intelligence chiefs warn about China’s threat to US

By Mark Moore

March 12, 2023

China's expanding influence has caused concerns for the House and Senate intelligence committees. EPA

The heads of the House and Senate intelligence committees on Sunday raised alarms about China’s expanding influence, saying the communist country is a “threat, both militarily and through espionage.”

Republican Rep. Mike Turner, the chair of the House Intelligence Committee, accused the Biden administration of being afraid to “provoke” Beijing during an interview on ABC News’ “This Week” — echoing comments made earlier on the show by Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.).

“I think what we heard clearly from the intelligence community is the emergence of China as a threat, both militarily and through espionage, and as the senator was just saying, through technology, quantum technology computing, also certainly the ability for them to insert themselves through TikTok into our data systems,” Turner said.

The Ohio congressman said the Biden administration is making the same mistake with China that it made with Russia during the early months of the Ukraine invasion.

“They’ve been much too timid in their approach to Russia — having been pushed by Congress before they would fully support Ukraine.

“And I think even in China they’re afraid to provoke,” Turner said.

Rep. Mike Turner, the chair of the House Intelligence Committee, spoke about the threat China presents to the US during an interview on ABC News’ “This Week.” ABC

He said China has been building up its military, multiplying the number of nuclear weapons aimed at the US and enlarging its shipbuilding capacity — and “they’re absolutely emerging as a military threat to the United States.”

“I think we need to respond, and respond very strongly,” he said.

Warner, the chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said on the program that “we’re in enormous competition with China.”

“National security is not simply about guns and ships and tanks anymore. It is about technology competition.

“It’s about who’s going to win the struggle around artificial intelligence, quantum computing, synthetic biology,” he said.​

Warner, who is among a bipartisan group of lawmakers ​that introduced legislation to give President Biden wide powers to regulate or even ban TikTok, said he “absolutely” thinks the popular Chinese video-sharing platform​ should be outlawed.

“Literally 100 million Americans are on TikTok an average of 90 minutes a day. That data is residing in China no matter what TikTok says, and the truth is TikTok can be used as a propaganda mechanism for the Communist Party of China.

“That I believe is a national security concern,” he said.

Rep. Mike Turner faulted the Biden administration in an interview on Sunday for being “too timid” in its approach to China. REUTERS

T​urner said the administration’s handling of the threat posed by TikTok is an example of the president’s fear of provoking China.

​”When the administration came in, there were policies in place in the Trump administration which they rescinded, one of which was a ban on TikTok. The Trump administration, in August of 2020, banned and required the disinvestment by China of TikTok.

The administration reversed that in June of 2021​,” Turner said. ​

Turner also said he found ​it “very troubling” that Saudi Arabia would agree to re-establish diplomatic relations with Iran in a deal brokered by China — pointing to the agreement as another failure by the Biden White House. ​

“At the same time that we were working with Saudi Arabia to try to strengthen their defenses against Iran, Iran actually attacked Saudi Arabia. Instead of this administration stepping forward and being a partner to Saudi Arabia, our ally, and working with them to defend themselves against attacks from Iran, they subjected Saudi Arabia to a significant amount of criticism and were slow to react and respond to the military needs of — of Saudi Arabia​,” Turner said.

“​So it’s not unexpected that they might look elsewhere for support. It certainly is very unexpected and certainly very troubling and disappointing that they would turn to Iran​,” he said.​


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