By Alex Mooney
The U.S. is seeking a more muscular response to the growing threat from foreign hackers interested in obtaining U.S. businesses’ trade secrets.
The response, in the guise of a 150-page report unveiled by Attorney Gen. Eric Holder and other leading government officials on Wednesday, includes new pledges by the Justice Department and FBI to crack down on hacking, a guide for corporations vulnerable to attacks on how to beef up their own security, and a proposal to better coordinate efforts with U.S. allies to prosecute foreign hackers.
“In this time of economic recovery, this work is more important than it has ever been before,” Holder said Wednesday at a White House event that outlined the new response. “I am pleased to report we are fighting back more aggressively and collaboratively than ever before.”
The announcement comes a day after the Virginia-based Mandiant published a 60-page report that alleges the Chinese government is sponsoring cyber-espionage to attack top U.S. companies.
By CNN Money's Charles Riley
An American cybersecurity firm has linked one of the world's most prolific groups of computer hackers to the Chinese government, saying in a new report that an extensive cyber-espionage campaign is being waged from a location near Shanghai.
The security firm, Mandiant, detailed the allegations in a 60-page report published Tuesday that describes the group's tactics and history over a six-year period.
The Virginia-based Mandiant, which helps companies detect and respond to cyber threats, said it has observed the group of hackers - called the "comment crew" - systematically steal hundreds of terabytes of data from at least 141 organizations across 20 industries worldwide since 2006.
Mandiant claims the activity can be traced to four networks near Shanghai - with some operations taking place in a location that is also the headquarters of Unit 61398, a secret division of China's military.
By Elise Labott and Barbara Starr
North Korea's nuclear test Tuesday set off a diplomatic scramble for America's new secretary of state as the U.S. national security community began working with other countries to try to determine what North Korea truly achieved.
The test was was not a total surprise, senior administration officials said. North Korea warned the United States and China on Monday that it would be undertaking a nuclear test, two senior administration officials told CNN. The warning came in the form of a message through the "NY channel," which is the U.S. mission to the United Nations, North Korea's typical method for passing messages to the United States. The warning was not specific on timing, but the officials said Washington took it to mean the test could happen at any moment.
After the test was detected late Monday night, Secretary of State John Kerry spoke with South Korea's foreign minister. He's also expected to talk with the foreign ministers for China, Japan and Russia. The United States began coordinating its own response with inter-agency calls between Washington and Seoul, Tokyo, Moscow and Beijing. U.S. Ambassador to South Korea Sung Kim and Gen. James Thurman, commander of the US-Republic of Korea Combined Forces Command, met with the South Korean defense minister.
The U.S. intelligence community and military began the process of assessing the test and North Korea's claims and by morning concluded an underground nuclear test had probably been conducted.
By Ed Payne, CNN
Reaction to North Korea's nuclear test - its third since 2006 - poured in Tuesday from around the world:
Barack Obama, U.S. president:
"This is a highly provocative act that ... undermines regional stability, violates North Korea's obligations under numerous United Nations Security Council resolutions, contravenes its commitments under the September 19, 2005 Joint Statement of the Six-Party Talks, and increases the risk of proliferation.
North Korea's nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs constitute a threat to U.S. national security and to international peace and security. The United States remains vigilant in the face of North Korean provocations and steadfast in our defense commitments to allies in the region."
"The danger posed by North Korea's threatening activities warrants further swift and credible action by the international community. The United States will also continue to take steps necessary to defend ourselves and our allies."FULL STORY
By Matt Smith
The United States is likely to remain the leading world power in 2030 but won't hold the kind of sway it did in the past century, according to a new study by the U.S. intelligence community.
Washington will most likely hold its status as "first among equals" two decades from now, buoyed not only by military strength but by economic and diplomatic power. That's one of the conclusions of "Alternative Worlds," released Monday by the National Intelligence Council.
Rising powers such as China may be "ambivalent and even resentful" of American leadership, but they're more interested in holding positions of influence in organizations such as the United Nations and the International Monetary Fund than assuming that role, the report found.
"Nevertheless, with the rapid rise of other countries, the 'unipolar moment' is over, and "Pax Americana" - the era of American ascendancy in international politics that began in 1945 - is fast winding down," the report states.
South Korea is stripping the title of "honorary consul" from Jill Kelley, the Florida socialite embroiled in the scandal that brought down CIA Director David Petraeus, a South Korean official said Monday.
Kelley will lose that designation after a New York businessman accused her of trying to use the honorary title to solicit business, Deputy Foreign Minister Kim Kyou-hyun told the semi-official South Korean news agency Yonhap.
"It's not suitable to the status of honorary consul that (she) sought to be involved in commercial projects and peddle influence. It's also inappropriate as honorary consul," Yonhap quoted Kim as telling South Korean reporters during a visit to Washington.FULL STORY
By the CNN Wire Staff
China announced Sunday that it had landed a fighter jet on the deck of an aircraft carrier for the first time, but it may be years before the ship is fully operational.
China's "first generation multi-purpose carrier-borne fighter jet," known as the J-15, successfully completed its first landing on the Liaoning, an aircraft carrier China built using an abandoned Soviet hull, according to China's official news agency Xinhua.
The J-15's capabilities are comparable to the Russian Su-33 jet and the U.S. F-18, Xinhua reported. The Chinese-designed jet can "carry multi-type anti-ship, air-to-air and air-to-ground missiles, as well as precision-guided bombs, the report said.
By Jamie Crawford
China is modernizing its military at a "remarkable rate," including its own nuclear weapons capability, says a congressionally mandated panel exploring the relationship between the United States and China.
In its annual report to Congress, the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission said China has spent the past two decades improving and advancing its military nuclear posture and could have a "triad" of land, sea and air delivery systems "within the next two years."
China's People's Liberation Army "reportedly tested a variety of new nuclear ballistic systems in 2012, including a submarine-launched intercontinental ballistic missile," Dennis Shea, chairman of the commission, told reporters Wednesday.
From Jill Dougherty, CNN Foreign Affairs Correspondent
In a 911 call, aspiring socialite Jill Kelley demands that police in Tampa, Florida, help remove people from her property, describing herself as an “honorary consul general.”
"I am an honorary consul general,” the 911 recording says. “… I have inviolability. They should not be on my property. I don't know if you want to get diplomatic, uh, protection involved as well. It's against the law to cross my property …"
Kelley, it turns out, is an “honorary consul” for the South Korean government, according to the South Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. The official South Korean news agency Yonhap reports that Kelley had "good connections and network and a willingness to develop Korea-U.S. relations, including the free trade agreement between the two nations."
South Korean officials tell CNN that “an honorary consul can generally play a role of promoting trade and economic cooperation between the two countries.”
South Korean Presidential Decree No. 23706 describes the duties as anything from “work(ing) to protect Korean national/resident living abroad” to “promoting interacting of trade, economy, art, science and education.”
The honorary post, however, has no official responsibilities, in spite of Kelley’s attempts to invoke “inviolability.” Yonhap cites a South Korean official as saying that “she will be relieved from the symbolic post if she is found to be problematic.”
By Jamie Crawford
As President Barack Obama prepares for a second term in the White House, his administration is keeping an eye on another leadership transition now underway on the other side of the world in China. The ramifications will surely to have a global impact.
With Obama's re-election, any notion that complexity of the relationship between the world's two largest economies could somehow change overnight has been quickly dispelled.
Chinese state media issued its own view of the American election on Wednesday, saying Obama's re-election offered an opportunity to improve ties after a first term that many senior Chinese officials viewed as saying things one way then in many ways acting differently.
Regardless of the sentiment, China watchers say Obama's re-election, while not greeted with elation in Beijing, still provides some element of predictability going forward. There was perhaps greater concern if Mitt Romney had won, given how the Republican presidential candidate had turned China into the ultimate foreign policy bogeyman in the presidential campaign. Chinese officials made clear that any attempt to label their country a currency manipulator, as Romney pledged he would do his first day in office, would complicate the bilateral relationship even further.