The American space sector was alerted by U.S. counterintelligence agencies on Friday to be wary of attempts by foreign intelligence organisations to acquire trade secrets and research in order to advance their own nations’ space programmes.
“We anticipate growing threats to this burgeoning sector of the U.S. economy,” a U.S. counterintelligence official mentioned while speaking to the Reuters, further stating that “China and Russia are among the leading foreign intelligence threats to the U.S. space industry.”
In a two-page bulletin, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the National Counterintelligence and Security Centre (NCSC), and the Air Force Office of Special Investigations (AFOSI) claimed that unidentified foreign entities were using cyberattacks and other strategies to gain access to the American space industry. These strategies included strategic investment through joint ventures and acquisitions.
The letter cautioned businesses to be alert for requests for facilities visits and attempts to get sensitive information during talks. It recommended businesses to document “peculiar incidents” and set up “insider threat” programmes as part of assessing people in critical positions, as well as to notify the FBI or AFOSI with any worries about being targeted.
Chinese native Tao Li was given a 40-month prison term in 2019 for conspiring to smuggle technology fit for the military and space into China, including radiation-resistant power amplifiers and circuits.
U.S. military sources said Beijing regards space as essential to its military strategy, despite the fact that China claims its space programme is for peaceful purposes.