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US Assistant Attorney General warns Madison County businesses of China’s threat

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - John Demers, Assistant Attorney General, National Security Division traveled to Madison County to meet with local businesses and make them aware of the threat China poses to American industry and intelligence.

"The threat is, if you're stealing technology, then you're stealing jobs," Demers explained.

Demers said the Chinese are stealing all kinds of ideas here.

"Everything from corn seeds and rice seeds to high-end commercial airplane engines technology to big data," Demers said. "Wind power, nuclear power, but even the formula for the color white."

U.S. Attorney Jay Town also joined Demers for the meeting at the Huntsville-Madison County Area Chamber of Commerce Friday. It was a closed door, private meeting and Town said about 30 business leaders participated.

"They are trying to rob, replicate, and replace whatever product, whatever stream of commerce that you're engaged in," Town warned the audience of China.

Kim Lewis, a local business leader, said she feels better versed in threats posed by China. She said those in attendance learned those in China are infiltrating businesses through avenues like phishing emails and more.

"Actually just clicking on something, all the way up to someone actually coming in and trying to convince one of your employees to be somebody that's going to be a spy for China," Lewis said. "More than just cyber, I mean, there's companies being hit for anything from the products they're developing all the way down to something simple. So, I think it's just one of those things that made us more aware of stuff we need to pay attention too. It's something we've got to talk to our whole team about because they're all a point of contact."

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