12:51pm

Fri June 3, 2011
The Two-Way

Chinese Military Scholars Accuse U.S. Of Launching 'Internet War'

Writing in the Communist Party-controlled China Youth Daily newspaper, two military scholars accused the United States of launching a global "Internet war." The AP reports:

"Of late, an Internet tornado has swept across the world ... massively impacting and shocking the globe. Behind all this lies the shadow of America," said the article, signed by Ye Zheng and Zhao Baoxian, identified as scholars with the Academy of Military Sciences.

"Faced with this warmup for an Internet war, every nation and military can't be passive but is making preparations to fight the Internet war," it said.

While nuclear war was a strategy of the industrial era, Internet war is a product of the information age, the article said. Such conflicts stand to be hugely destructive, threatening national security and the very existence of the state, it said.

The comments come just days after Google accused Chinese hackers based in Jinan, China of using a phishing scam to try to acquire the email passwords of hundreds of Gmail users, including senior U.S. government officials. A military vocational school in Jinan was linked to another attack on Google's systems more than a year ago.

As we reported, yesterday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called Google's allegations "very serious." She added the FBI was investigating.

The AP reports that the military scholars did not mention Google in their piece. But the comments also come a few days after The Wall Street Journal ran a piece in which it said the Pentagon had concluded that a cyber attack could be considered an "act of war." The Journal reported:

The Pentagon's first formal cyber strategy, unclassified portions of which are expected to become public next month, represents an early attempt to grapple with a changing world in which a hacker could pose as significant a threat to U.S. nuclear reactors, subways or pipelines as a hostile country's military.

In part, the Pentagon intends its plan as a warning to potential adversaries of the consequences of attacking the U.S. in this way. "If you shut down our power grid, maybe we will put a missile down one of your smokestacks," said a military official.

Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.