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Rubio on The Ingraham Angle
Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) joined The Ingraham Angle to discuss Chinese espionage, Chinese interference in the presidential election, and the cyber attacks against the U.S. government. See below for highlights and watch the full interview here.
On Chinese espionage:
“We’ve been talking about this for a long time. I remember four years ago when I started going after the Confucius Institutes — we now have none left in Florida — we got a lot of pushback because universities would say this is just a group that teaches Chinese language, or these are just people that sponsor trips.
“And when you explain to people that the Chinese are the most holistic, whole of society threat this country has ever faced in terms of espionage — they will try to create relationships with a small town mayor who they think may one day grow up to be a governor or senator, a U.S. member of Congress, they will cultivate business relationships. They use businesspeople, they take them to China, they let them make some money, then they unleash them back in the U.S. and use them as lobbyists here in this country for their interests and against our national interest.
“They are in academia. You talked about students, especially at the graduate level, a lot of these students that are spying don’t consider themselves spies. They’re here. They’re serving their country. Many are even linked to the military. Their researchers. They steal secrets and take them back. And then you’ve got American researchers who have openly sold their research, and oftentimes leaving to China with it, other times just selling it to them. And in many cases, it wasn’t illegal or wasn’t prosecuted. This is a big, big challenge. We have a lot of work ahead of us.”
On China’s interference in the 2020 presidential election:
“Months ago we started saying the fact that China wanted to or had intentions to at least be in a position to interfere in elections … We also know that they had people out there trying to work and inject things in the public discourse or potentially be in a position to do it.
“I’m not in a position to talk about all of it, but suffice it to say that the Chinese are capable of doing anything any other country in the world can do, and I would argue that in some cases they have the ability to do far more. The Russians are proficient at cyber warfare, they’re proficient at hacking, and they’re proficient at information and propaganda. But the Chinese, they can do all of that, plus they actually have reporters. They actually have people in the media and academia and in think tanks that will further their narrative, that will further the Chinese narrative because they are funded by them, because they’ve been co-opted from years of travel to China, you name it. And so, I think their capabilities are greater than any other country in the world at messing around with us, not just in our elections, but in everything.”
On cyber attacks:
“Let me just say this, what we know so far, and it’s publicly available, a company named SolarWinds, a private company, provides a lot of security — online security in the private sector, a lot of agencies of government, including at the state and local level. And that was the method by which they got into these systems. Even as I speak to you now, we are learning more every single day about the scope of this intrusion. It is massive. It is still, I would argue, probably persistent. It is still ongoing. It probably is unprecedented.
“You saw the bulletin tonight, it went out, it’s a grave risk to federal, to state, to local governments, to critical infrastructure, to the private sector. And as far as attribution, when you attribute it to somebody, you have got to know it for sure because it’s a very — this is almost, I would argue — an act of war, absolutely.
“But let me just say, it was a patient effort, it was sophisticated, it was well-funded and well-resourced. And that indicates it was a nation state. This wasn’t two guys in a basement in North Korea somewhere looking to steal some cryptocurrency. This is a very serious intrusion, and we are learning a lot more about it. And we need to learn a lot more about it, and we need to take action.”