Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) participated in a Senate hearing on July 27 regarding a Chinese attack on U.S. companies. When he asked a panel of Biden administration cybersecurity officials why there had been no sanctions against China, he was met with dead silence.
A panel of officials from the Justice Department, the FBI, and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency were present at the hearing to answer questions about U.S. cybersecurity.
The hearing followed the White House’s earlier statements blaming the Chinese Ministry of State Security for an attack on the Microsoft Exchange Server that affected tens of thousands of computers worldwide. President Biden said that his administration’s officials were still determining what happened when he was asked on July 26 why the U.S. had not yet sanctioned China.
Cruz said during the hearing, “Let me ask anyone on the panel, do you have an answer as to why the administration has not sanctioned China for repeated cyberattacks over and over and over again against the United States?”
No member of the panel made any response to the question.
Cruz continued, “Well, I think that’s a question that the administration should answer. And showing weakness to China and weakness to Russia only invites more aggression and more cyberattacks attacking our nation.”
Biden was also asked why the U.S. has begun sanctions against Russia in response to cyberattacks but not China. The president responded, “My understanding is that the Chinese government, not unlike the Russian government, are not doing this themselves but are protecting those who are doing it and maybe even accommodating them being able to do it. That may be the difference.”
Earlier in July, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said, “The PRC’s Ministry of State Security has fostered an ecosystem of criminal contract hackers who carry out both state-sponsored activities and cybercrime for their financial gain.”
Rep. Mike Rogers (R-AL), ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee, also formally called on Biden to impose sanctions or criminal charges against the Chinese Communist Party over the Microsoft attacks.