China, Russia and Iran ‘attempting to illegally acquire’ US technology, top DHS official says

(WASHINGTON) — The head of a top unit at the Department of Homeland Security says in a new interview that “sensitive” materials are showing up overseas — in Iranian weapons — in the latest warning about how U.S. adversaries are believed to be trying to steal American technology.

“The Iranian drones that are being recovered on the battlefield in Ukraine, that are being recovered on the battlefield throughout the Middle East, they do have sensitive U.S. communications systems and they have sensitive microelectronics,” Jim Mancuso, the assistant director of the Global Trade Division at Homeland Security Investigations, told ABC News.

Iran, China and Russia are all “attempting to illegally acquire” U.S. technology, Mancuso said.

Homeland Security Investigations is the Department of Homeland Security’s law enforcement arm.

U.S. leaders have already warned about China trying to cause harm to the country through cyber means — as well as stealing the United States’ intellectual property.

Mancuso said adversaries of America are using a “very extensive network” to get U.S. technology out of the country, in violation of export laws.

Specialized “procurement networks” are repacking the goods and routing them through China in order to get to places like Iran, Mancuso said.

Some of the technology that is being exported can be found in common household items like radios, he said.

“They’re going to go to China, and then from China, they’re going to be loaded on an Iranian aircraft and they’re going to be flown to Iran,” he said, giving an example of how an adversary could gain access to microchips and other tech.

A similar pattern has been seen with Russia, Mancuso said.

“We’re looking at these Russian networks that are operating in this country, and we know that they’re repackaging sensitive U.S. equipment and is going onward to further the Russian war effort [in Ukraine],” he explained.

Mancuso said authorities are targeting the “procurement networks” and HSI investigations begin when U.S. materials are found where they shouldn’t be.

“We’re always trying to stay one step ahead,” he said.

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