Newly installed senior counterintelligence official names China as top long-term threat
Added 01-23-21 02:11:02am EST - “Counterintelligence official Michael Orlando joins a growing chorus of voices on both sides of the political aisle who point to China as a major national security threat, particularly in terms of technology and cybersecurity.” - News.yahoo.com
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WASHINGTON — Michael Orlando, a career FBI agent who has been tracking Chinese spies and agents for much of his career, has no doubts about what the most significant strategic threat is to the U.S. in the years ahead.
“The bottom line is, intelligence services and our adversaries are going to do what they do regardless of who’s in office,” said Orlando during an interview with Yahoo News last month. “From my view, the Chinese Communist Party will be the long-term threat for us this century and beyond,” he continued. “They are going to be the economic and national security challenge of this time.”
On Wednesday, with the resignation of his boss, William Evanina, the director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center, Orlando effectively became the top counterintelligence official in the country. President Biden will need to nominate a new director to be confirmed by the Senate, but Orlando will perform those duties until he does. Both Orlando and Evanina have served under a number of presidents, and Orlando says the threat is the same, regardless of the administration.
Orlando’s career has involved more than chasing Chinese spies. He led the team that investigated Russian student and gun activist Maria Butina, launched the FBI’s Iran threat task force and analyzed Iranian threats to the U.S. after President Donald Trump ordered a lethal drone strike against Gen. Qassem Soleimani, a senior Iranian military official, and led the bureau’s response when a Saudi gunman killed three U.S. sailors in Pensacola, Fla., last winter.
In November, Orlando took on a new role as the deputy head of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center, a small division within the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. The center has assumed new relevance as concerns escalate over foreign spies infiltrating digital networks, academia and corporate suites.
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