Obama Ordered 'Turn' To Confront Chinese Officials Two Years Ago, Leading to Cyberhacking Indictments
May 24, 2014 • 11:17AM

President Obama carried out a plan to sharply escalate his Administration's confrontation with China by having the Justice Department indict five accused Chinese cyberhackers,Friday's Washington Post reports in a lengthy article by Ellen Nakashima. The newspaper was clearly approached by anonymous and named Administration sources to get the aggressive anti-China message out.

The escalation was ordered directly by Obama "in early 2012", the Post writes. The State Department and Pentagon raised the cyberhacking issue two years ago with Chinese officials, who denied it. On Monday, Attorney General Eric Holder announced the indictments of five People's Liberation Army members on charges of hacking for the benefit of Chinese industry. The decision to indict Chinese officers "was approved at high levels of government," says the Post, and "Both efforts—diplomacy and criminal prosecution—are part of a broader, previously undisclosed strategy by the Obama Administration to hold China accountable for what officials say is a growing campaign of commercial cyberspying."

"We are talking about a major change in Administration strategy and policy," another former official is quoted. "At a White House meeting, 'the message was sent from the president himself,' one senior U.S. official told the Post."

Assistant Attorney General John Carlin, the only official quoted directly, said that now, "criminal charges can justify economic sanctions" against China.

Since the Chinese bluntly denied the charges when made two years ago, the United States has raised the cybersecurity issue at every high-level meeting with the Chinese government, the Post says. Other confrontations ensued, which set the stage for what was to be a frank meeting between Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping in June, as the first of regular high-level talks on cybersecurity agreed to—which was elevated to a priority in the U.S.-China relationship. Two days before the meeting, Edward Snowden's first leak appeared in the London Guardian. When the United States complained about alleged Chinese hacking into private sector companies, according to the Post, the Chinese responded, "Well, the United States is actually the king of all hacking. So, who are you to talk to us about illegal hacking?"

Meanwhile, the DOJ's Carlin was investigating ways it might bring criminal cases against foreign government officials for cyber-industrial espionage, and began training a division of attorneys to prepare these cases.

Obama's behavior here clearly fits Lyndon LaRouche's characterization of his blundering, bluffing, and threatening war on behalf of the British imperials. But Obama is playing with fire, since economic sanctions can be cited as a cause of war.