WASHINGTON - The National Security Division’s mission is to protect our nation’s security by using every legal tool available to confront and defeat threats to our country.
Today, that tool is an indictment backed by the independence and credibility of our criminal justice system.
The threat is from members of unit 61398 of the Chinese military, who have targeted the U.S. private sector for commercial advantage.
We allege that members of unit 61398 conspired to hack into computers of six U.S. victims to steal information that would provide an economic advantage to the victims’ competitors, including Chinese state-owned enterprises.
In the past, when we brought concerns such as these to Chinese government officials, they responded by publicly challenging us to provide hard evidence of their hacking that could stand up in court.
Well today, we are.
For the first time, we are exposing the faces and names behind the keyboards in Shanghai used to steal from American businesses.
This indictment describes, with particularity, specific actions on specific days by specific actors to use their computers to steal information from across our economy.
It describes how they targeted information in industries ranging from nuclear, to steel, to renewable energy.
It shows that – while the men and women of our American businesses spent their business days innovating, creating, and developing strategies to compete in the global marketplace – these members of unit 61398 spent their business days in Shanghai stealing the fruits of our labor.
And it shows that the business information these individuals stole, including trade secrets, would have been particularly beneficial to Chinese companies.
Let me give you some examples of allegations from the indictment:
Right about the time SolarWorld was rapidly losing its market share to Chinese competitors that were pricing exports well below costs, these hackers were stealing cost, pricing, and strategy information from SolarWorld’s computers.
And while Westinghouse was negotiating with a Chinese state-owned enterprise over the construction of nuclear power plants, the hackers stole trade secret designs for components of those plants.
To be clear, this conduct is criminal.
And it is not conduct that most responsible nations within the global economic community would tolerate.
At the Department of Justice, we have repeatedly pledged that we would do more to hold accountable those that engage in these actions.
Today, we begin to fulfill that pledge.
And we will continue using all of the tools at our disposal to pursue those who steal our intellectual property, no matter who they are or where they reside.
Now I’d like to turn it over to David Hickton, the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania, whose office has been a crucial partner in this investigation. David?