harrington34_Drew AngererGetty Images_avril haines Drew Angerer/Getty Images
en English

What Do America’s Spies Really Think About China?

While the US intelligence community’s latest threat assessment is right to focus on advances in China’s military, economic, and technological capabilities, it omits too much when it comes to the country’s domestic political challenges. These matter, because what happens in China does not stay in China.

ATLANTA – The US intelligence community’s annual threat assessment for 2023 certainly cannot be faulted for having a narrow focus or Pollyanna perspective. From a rising China, Russian aggression, and Iran’s nuclear ambitions to climate change, future pandemics, and the growing reach of international organized crime, the IC’s analysis is as comprehensive as it is worrying.

Inaugurated two decades ago as a gesture of transparency and to inform Congress and the American public, the annual threat assessment offers the intelligence agencies’ top-line conclusions about the country’s leading national-security threats – though always in ways that will not compromise “sources and methods.” As in the past, America’s spies and intelligence analysts have stayed in their lane and avoided policy questions or any suggestion that some problems are more important than others.

Yet when testifying to the Senate Intelligence Committee on March 8, US National Intelligence Director Avril Haines was not as constrained. She made it abundantly clear that the Biden administration regards China as “our unparalleled challenge,” and as America’s leading national-security threat.

To continue reading, register now.

Subscribe now for unlimited access to everything PS has to offer.


As a registered user, you can enjoy more PS content every month – for free.