U.S. spy agency leaders warned the Senate Intelligence Committee of the "unparalleled threat" posted by China, pointing out Beijing's regional aggression, cyber capabilities, and economic power.
"China increasingly is a near-peer competitor challenging the United States in multiple arenas, while pushing to revise global norms in ways that favor the authoritarian Chinese system," said Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines. "[China] also has substantial cyber capabilities that if deployed, at a minimum, can cause localized, temporary disruptions to critical infrastructure inside the United States."'
Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) also spoke on the dangers of international computer hacking.
"We may also want to develop new international norms where certain types of attacks are prohibited, just as the use of chemical or bio-weapons is banned," Warner said.
The hearing took place just one day after U.S. intelligence agencies released a report illustrating global threats. According to the National Intelligence Council, disease, the rich-poor gap, climate change, and national conflicts will create greater challenges in the future.