Trump signs EO to protect US networks from China

Amid a deepening trade war with China, President Trump on Wednesday declared a “national emergency” via executive order to protect U.S. communications networks in a move that gives the federal government broad powers to bar American companies from doing business with certain foreign suppliers. But instead of Russia, it appears to target China.

Russian agents met with Treasury, Fed

Alexander Torshin, then a Russian central banker, brought his protégée, Maria Butina, for meetings with senior officials from the Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve in 2015. Torshin has since been sanctioned by the U.S. and cannot return, while Butina pleaded guilty to conspiring to serve as a Russian agent and is serving a prison sentence.

China’s cyber warfare

The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Joseph Dunford has warned Congress that China uses U.S. companies to steal secrets and benefit its military. A new report from the Pentagon says that China steals military secrets in many ways, saying China engages in “… [targeting] foreign direct investment, cyber theft, and exploitation of private Chinese nationals’ access to these technologies, as well as harnessing its intelligence services, computer intrusions, and other illicit approaches…”

Spy gal unhappy with sentence

While speaking with Russian reporters by phone, convicted Russian agent Maria Butina called her 18-month sentence a “disgrace” and said that she did not expect such a “severe punishment.” Butina pleaded guilty for failing to register as a foreign agent of Russia.

Record number of Americans in contact with foreign intelligence

A U.S. government report indicated that nearly 17,000 Americans were unmasked by U.S. cyber spies for their contact with foreign intelligence targets. Government protocol mandates that when a message is intercepted by the NSA, in which one of the participants is American, the American’s name and identity is blacked out. Unmasking can occur when requested by intelligence officers or high-ranking government officials.