Portman: China Tried to Infiltrate Fed, and the Fed Is ‘Questioning Its Own’ Findings to Deny It

On Tuesday’s broadcast of Bloomberg’s “Balance of Power,” Senate Homeland Security Committee Ranking Member Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) discussed a report from the committee’s minority staff finding that “For over a decade, China has engaged in a sustained malign influence and information theft campaign against the U.S. Federal Reserve,” and Fed Chair Jay Powell’s pushback against the report. Portman stated that the report is based on work done by the Federal Reserve itself, so “to the extent it’s being questioned, I guess I would say that the Fed is questioning its own report.”

Portman stated, [relevant remarks begin around 13:50] “Well, first of all, it’s not a surprise that our adversaries, in particular, China, are looking to make inroads in the Fed, just as they have in every other sector of our economy. So, we spent four years studying this. We did an investigation. We issued a report about this broader issue. As you know, this is coming up even today on the floor of the Senate in relationship to the so-called CHIPS bill, it’s to keep China from taking our taxpayer-paid research and using it for their own benefit. An ascendant China is ascendant in part because of taking our research and using it in their military, their economy very effectively. And we have not been able to protect ourselves up to now. We have legislation to do that. Same with the Fed. This report is based on the Federal Reserve’s own study, their own counterintelligence five-year study. It’s also based on some FBI reporting that we have had access to. So, to the extent it’s being questioned, I guess I would say that the Fed is questioning its own report. We’re simply summarizing that and talking about the very real issue out there. And I support Jay Powell. As you know, I voted for him for confirmation and I think that he understands that this is an issue. I think that it’s important that the Fed look at our recommendations, which [are] to tighten up further to avoid China getting access to the Fed. … I hope the report will be taken seriously. Again, the substance of it is from the Federal Reserve’s own analysis, own counterintelligence analysis that we were given access to by the Fed. And then again, additional FBI resources were devoted to this and we think this is a serious issue that should be addressed.”

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