House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy (CA-23) released the following statement condemning President Biden’s decision to revoke a ban on certain companies that are beholden to the Chinese government. Leader McCarthy also called for action to strengthen our cyber defenses and hold bad actors accountable:
“Over the past several months, it appears the United States has fallen victim to major cyber-attacks at what feels like a weekly occurrence. These weren’t inconsequential incidents – on each separate occasion there were real-life, near immediate negative implications to the American people. From rising gas prices to fuel shortages, and even an impact on a fifth of the world’s meat supply, international bad actors are testing our country at an unprecedented rate.
“There are no signs these attacks are going to stop. The Biden administrations’ own intelligence officials are warning we should expect more cyber hacks, and one official even compared the recent ransomware threat ‘to the challenge of global terrorism in the days after the Sept. 11, 2001 attack.’
“Unfortunately, we have a President in the White House who’s proven unwilling to hold our adversaries accountable.
“Earlier today, President Biden reversed a ban of certain companies that are beholden to the Chinese government, allowing the Chinese Communist Party easier access to spy on American citizens and institutions. This decision comes after China’s deception caused the worst pandemic in a century, their consulate in Houston was found to be a ‘hub of spying and intellectual property theft,’ and while they are actively trying to overtake the United States as the premier global superpower.
“President Biden’s actions will not make America stronger, they will only open us up to more attacks. We cannot allow this weak response to continue. This moment warrants that we take clear action to strengthen our cyber defenses, and send a message to our adversaries that there will be consequences if they act against America.”
Another unsettling trend has developed under President Biden’s watch: our country is falling victim to major cyberattacks on a seemingly weekly basis, and the bad actors responsible are not being held accountable.
The recent Colonial Pipeline Hack caused the worst gas shortage in decades, emptying over 17,000 gas stations and spiking gas prices to $7.00 per gallon in certain areas. And while evidence shows that a Russia-based criminal group is responsible, the Biden administration has done nothing to address our cybersecurity weaknesses or hold the perpetrators responsible.
Then, almost immediately after that attack, a ransomware attack against the world’s largest meat producer shut down one-fifth of U.S. beef production overnight. Again, those responsible are almost certainly from Russia; again, President Biden failed to hold Russia accountable.
Today’s news that President Biden is dropping President Trump’s attempted bans of TikTok and other companies beholden to China continues his trend of handing our adversaries geopolitical victories at the expense of America’s security, and comes a year after the Chinese Communist Party’s lies and deception caused the worst pandemic in modern history.
The Trump administration came to their decision because they understood the security risks these companies pose — Chinese law states that any Chinese company must share data with the Chinese government upon request. President Trump and Republicans knew that meant spying on U.S. citizens and data harvesting their personal information.
Unfortunately, the Biden Administration is either severely underestimating the threat this poses to our national security, or they’re simply too afraid to stand up to China.
China’s recent actions — from turning a consulate into a spy operation, to allowing COVID-19 to turn into a global pandemic — should have been more than enough reason for President Biden to prepare America for future Chinese threats and cyberattacks. His decision today to revoke President Trump’s ban of companies beholden to China, against evidence that they can and likely will be used against us in the future, is the opposite of what our government should be doing.
President Biden’s decisions will not make America stronger, they will only open us up to future attacks.