WASHINGTON — The Obama administration is considering more assertive action against Beijing to combat a persistent cyber-espionage campaign it thinks Chinese hackers are waging against U.S. companies and government agencies.
As the New York Times and Wall Street Journal reported Thursday that their computer systems had been infiltrated by China-based hackers, cybersecurity experts said the U.S. government is eyeing more pointed diplomatic and trade measures.
Two former U.S. officials said the administration is preparing a new National Intelligence Estimate that, when complete, is expected to detail the cyberthreat, particularly from China, as a growing economic problem. One official said it also will cite more directly a role by the Chinese government in such espionage.
The official said the NIE, an assessment prepared by the National Intelligence Council, will underscore the administration's concerns about the threat, and will put greater weight on plans for more aggressive action against the Chinese government. The official was not authorized to discuss the classified report and spoke only on condition of anonymity.
Although the administration hasn't decided what steps it may take, they could include threats to cancel some visas or put major purchases of Chinese goods through national security reviews.