Obama, Xi promise not to commit cyber-theft
And, of course, we believe that lying commie thug.
President Obama inked a totally unenforceable agreement with China that is supposed to stop the Chinese from stealing our business secrets and attacking our power grid.
The fact that all we have is President Xi's word on it would normally cause a lot of people to balk at such an agreement. But our trusting president, who thinks Iran's nuclear program is in a box because of a piece of paper, seems satisfied.
The joint promise, announced at the White House by President Barack Obama and Chinese leader Xi Jinping, goes beyond merely vowing that the countries won't launch cyber first strikes against each other’s power grids and other critical infrastructure. But it doesn't include assurances against traditional government-to-government espionage, such as the massive thefts of federal personnel data that anonymous federal officials have blamed on hackers in China.
It immediately ran into skepticism from lawmakers, with former House Intelligence Chairman Mike Rogers calling the deal "absolutely worthless."
Still, a binding promise against thefts of U.S. companies' intellectual property and trade secrets would be a major win for the Obama administration, if China complies. The pledges came after administration officials spent weeks hinting that they might announce retaliatory measures against Chinese hacking — even indicating it might come before this week's summit between Obama and Xi.
In a joint news conference Friday that dwelt at length on the new agreement, Obama said the U.S. will trust but verify.
“What I said to President Xi, and what I say to the American people, is the question now is are words followed by actions,” Obama told reporters. “We will be watching carefully to make an assessment as to what progress has been made in this area.”
Obama also told Xi the U.S. may still impose targeted sanctions or use “other tools in our toolkits” to punish cybercriminals in China.
Xi asserted that the Chinese government does not engage in or support economic hacking, but he praised the deal. "It’s fair to say we’ve reached a lot of consensus on cybersecurity, including some new consensus,” he said.
But members of Congress like Rogers expressed doubts, as did some outside cyber experts.
"This will change absolutely nothing other than more American companies continuing to get ripped off by the Chinese," the Michigan Republican said, criticizing the agreement for lacking an enforcement mechanism. He said the wording also buys into a Chinese "narrative" by implying that the U.S. is just as guilty of economic hacking as the Chinese.
House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) said the agreement "would be a big step forward if China abides by it,” but he sees little reason to think it will. “These cyberattacks will almost certainly continue until the Obama administration puts forward a credible deterrence policy,” he added.
So the Chinese hack the records of 21 million government workers, stealing vital information including fingerprints, medical histories, and data from sensitive background checks, and they are rewarded with a completely uneforceable deal that acknowledges that America is as bad as China in cyber-espionage?
It is unavoidable that very soon, Russia or China is going to hit us hard somewhere sensitive. It may be the internet, it may be our power grid, it may be another massive attack on a big company. But the hacks will continue as long as we have a president who refuses to offer any deterrence for an attack, and places his childlike faith in useless agreements.
President Xi will be laughing all the way home.