USA Erin Nealy Cox Appointed to AG’s China Initiative
Attorney General Jeff Sessions today appointed U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas Erin Nealy Cox – along with four other U.S. Attorneys, from New York, California, Alabama and Massachusetts – to serve on the Justice Department’s China Initiative combating economic espionage by Beijing.
This group is led by Assistant Attorney General for National Security John Demers and composed of five U.S. Attorneys and several other Department of Justice leaders, including senior FBI officials and Assistant Attorney General Brian Benczkowski of the Criminal Division.
The new initiative will aggressively pursue high-priority Chinese theft of trade secret and economic espionage cases.
“We cannot and will not allow foreign actors to take advantage of American ingenuity to line their own pockets,” said Nealy Cox. “I am proud to join this important effort and look forward to advancing the China initiative with my DOJ colleagues across the country.”
As the Attorney General noted at a press conference in Washington, DC this afternoon, despite China’s public commitment that it would not target American companies for economic gain, Chinese economic espionage against the United States has been rapidly increasing.
“Discoveries that took years of work and millions of dollars in investment here in the United States can be stolen by computer hackers or carried out the door by an employee in a matter of minutes,” Sessions said today. “Enough is enough.”
• Identify priority trade secret theft cases, ensure that investigations are adequately resourced, and work to bring them to fruition in a timely manner
• Develop an enforcement strategy concerning non-traditional collectors (e.g., researchers in labs, universities, and the defense industrial base) that are being coopted into transferring technology contrary to U.S. interests
• Educate colleges and universities about potential threats to academic freedom and open discourse from influence efforts on campus
• Apply the Foreign Agents Registration Act to unregistered agents seeking to advance China’s political agenda, bringing enforcement actions when appropriate
• Equip the nation’s U.S. Attorneys with intelligence and materials they can use to raise awareness of these threats within their Districts and support their outreach efforts
• Implement the Foreign Investment Risk Review Modernization Act (FIRMA) for DOJ (including by working with Treasury to develop regulations under the statute and prepare for increased workflow)
• Identify opportunities to better address supply chain threats, especially ones impacting the telecommunications sector, prior to the transition to 5G networks
• Identify Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) cases involving Chinese companies that compete with American businesses
• Increase efforts to improve Chinese responses to requests under the Mutual Legal Assistance Agreement (MLAA) with the United States
• Evaluate whether additional legislative and administrative authorities are required to protect our national assets from foreign economic aggression
US Attorneys in Working Group:
• Erin Nealy Cox (Northern District of Texas)
• Richard P. Donoghue (Eastern District of New York)
• Andrew E. Lelling (District of Massachusetts)
• Jay E. Town (Northern District of Alabama)
• Alex G. Tse (Northern District of California)