EXCLUSIVE: Eleven Republican members of Congress penned a letter to the Biden administration demanding answers after a New York Times report revealed that the Biden administration believes Chinese malware is buried in networks that control a variety of utilities to military bases.
A Congressional official described the malware to the New York Times as a “a ticking time bomb” which could hand China the power to disrupt movement of the U.S. military by shutting off water, power, and communications to bases. U.S. officials also told the outlet that the malware has the potential to be much more disruptive because civilians in many cases use the same infrastructure.
The letter, authored by Rep. Mark Alford, R-Mo., addressed to Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and National Security Agency Director of Cybersecurity Rob Joyce, states that “Leaving CCP aggression unchecked only invites expanded CCP bellicose behaviors.”
“CCP aggression in the Cyber Domain must be met with a firm, resolute, and measured response from the United States,” the letter states.
The officials, according to the New York Times, also say that the alleged Chinese malware isn’t just apparent on U.S. soil, but on facilities that Americans control abroad.
U.S. officials also said that the malware has the potential to be much more disruptive because civilians in many cases use the same infrastructure.
The letter specifically asks Lloyd and Joyce “What is the extent of the Chinese cyber campaign(s) targeting U.S. military installations, and what specific critical U.S. infrastructure around U.S. military installations has been compromised?”
“Given the access the Chinese hackers obtained, how damaging could the attack have been on U.S. military mobility and operations?” the letter also asks.
Read the letter below. App users: Click here.
Alford told Fox News Digital, “The Chinese Communist Party is the greatest threat we face in over 30 years. The CCP has increasingly conducted cyber-attacks against U.S. installations and military infrastructure. We must ensure the proper guardrails are in place and eliminate any gaps in the event a conflict breaks out in the Indo-Pacific.”
“I am proud to lead my colleagues in this letter to ensure the Department of Defense and the National Security Agency (NSA) provide answers to Congress on if Chinese malware is embedded in software operating our power grids, communications systems, and water distribution systems near our U.S. military installations.,” he added.
Rep. Mike Waltz, R-Fla., told Fox News Digital that the reported infiltration is “both disturbing and detrimental to our national security.”
“The Biden Administration owes the American public answers on how our they plan to safeguard our technology and military installations, and importantly how we’ll respond to these cyber-attacks,” Waltz said.
Rep. Rob Wittman, R-Va., another co-signer of the letter, said “Congress needs comprehensive information from the Biden administration regarding the extent and impact of these CCP cyber campaigns.”
According to the letter, the government officials have until Aug. 14 to respond.
Adam Hodge, acting spokesman for the National Security Council, told the New York Times that “The Biden administration is working relentlessly to defend the United States from any disruptions to our critical infrastructure, including by coordinating interagency efforts to protect water systems, pipelines, rail and aviation systems, among others.”
“The president has also mandated rigorous cybersecurity practices for the first time,” he said.