"We have, as the U.S. government, set up lawn chairs, told the burglars where the silver is in the bottom drawer, and opened up the case of beer and watched them do it," Rep. Mike Rogers, the Republican chairman of the House intelligence committee, told CBS' "Face the Nation" this week.
The U.S. has been preparing a new intelligence estimate that details cyber espionage as a growing economic problem. One official told The Associated Press last week that the estimate was expected to cite more directly a role by the Chinese government and favor aggressive action against the Chinese government. The official was not authorized to discuss the classified report and spoke only on condition of anonymity.
The report is expected to expand on a November 2011 report by U.S. intelligence agencies that accused Russia and China of systematically stealing American high-tech data for their own economic gain. China has denied the claims.
Richard Clarke, a former White House cybersecurity adviser during the Clinton administration, said that executive orders and intelligence estimates aside, the U.S. in 15 years of debate on the subject still hasn't answered the very practical questions of who exactly is in charge of stopping a cyberattack on commercial networks and at what point the government should deploy its own resources.
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