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On March 13th, 2019, Nicholas Eftimiades, a professor at Penn State University, gave a lecture at The Institute of World Politics regarding Chinese Espionage and the impacts it has on the United States. Prof. Eftimiades broke down his lecture by discussing the reasoning behind Chinese espionage efforts, modes of espionage, targets of espionage, and the impacts that Chinese espionage has on the United States.
Mr. Eftimiades provided a cultural background of the Chinese perception of law and the differences between how the West views laws versus how the Chinese perceive laws. The variance in perception also extends to how the Chinese view the government and its institutions and the overall impression of the West by the Chinese. Mr. Eftimiades also made the case that the variance in perception does not encompass the entire Chinese populace, but these perceptions lay the foundation as to why the Chinese are able to develop sophisticated espionage operations against the United States.
Prof. Eftimiades continued his lecture by explaining the modes of espionage used by the Chinese. The modes of espionage range from traditional espionage to covert actions. Mr. Eftimiades defined covert actions as actions that are meant to be secret but can lead back to the source, which differs from clandestine activities. Mr. Eftimiades elaborated on economic espionage and Chinese efforts to steal trade secrets and intellectual property.
Prof. Eftimiades then discussed Chinese espionage organizations, which were described on a continuum of overt to clandestine activities. Mr. Eftimiades analyzed the various organizations that conduct open source and clandestine intelligence for the Chinese, covering the methods and tactics the Chinese use. Mr. Eftimiades continued by expanding on the specific tradecraft techniques used by Chinese intelligence services. Mr. Eftimiades concluded his lecture by explaining the impacts that Chinese espionage has on the economy, national security, and governance.
Nicholas Eftimiades has served for over 34 years in government service. His career includes serving as a Technical Operations Officer with the CIA, a U.S. State Department Special Agent with the Bureau of Diplomatic Security, and a Senior Intelligence Officer with the Defense Intelligence Agency. Mr. Eftimiades serves as a subject matter expert on Chinese espionage and has an M.S. Strategic Intelligence, National Defense Intelligence College; and a B.A. East Asian Studies, George Washington University.