Five Eyes Press Conference

October 19, 2023

Inside the FBI: The Emerging Technology and Securing Innovation Security Summit

On this episode of Inside the FBI, we’ll learn about the Five Eyes coalition, give you a glimpse into this week’s summit, and learn why the heads of some of the world’s foremost intelligence agencies all have the threat of Chinese economic espionage on their minds.


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Narrator: This week, FBI Director Christopher Wray convened a meeting of intelligence leaders from across the Five Eyes coalition—an information-sharing and security partnership between the U.S., the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand.

At the Emerging Technology and Securing Innovation Security Summit, Five Eyes intelligence chiefs, government employees, researchers, and private industry partners came together to discuss how innovators can protect their ideas and technology from being stolen or exploited. 

On this episode of Inside the FBI, we’ll learn about the Five Eyes coalition, give you a glimpse into this week’s summit, and learn why the heads of some of the world’s foremost intelligence agencies all have the threat of Chinese economic espionage on their minds. 

This is Inside the FBI. 


Narrator: To really understand the weight of this week’s meeting, you first need to meet the Five Eyes. As FBI Historian Dr. John Fox explains... 

Dr. John Fox: …the Five Eyes refers to a cooperative intelligence sharing agreement reached between Great Britain, the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, and it came about growing out of the cooperation between the Western Allied forces in World War Two.

During the early days of the US involvement in WWII—so, 1941/42—Great Britain and the United States began to exchange information about how to break German codes, and this eventually expanded to wider cooperation on those matters, as well as against the Japanese. 
And in the early days of the Cold War, as the penetrations of especially the U.S. government and Canadian and British governments by Soviet spies became apparent, the discussion turned to breaking the codes of the Soviet Union. 
And so out of that came an agreement called the BRUSA, or British USA Agreement on sharing signals intelligence about Soviet codes. 
And eventually, Canada was brought in as a formal partner, and in 1956, with the addition of Australia and New Zealand, it became officially the Five Eyes coalition. And that has been in effect since then and has led to significant benefits to the national security of each of the five nations involved because of their cooperation on these matters of collecting intelligence. 

Narrator: The Five Eyes member agencies include the FBI, the UK’s MI5, the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, and the New Zealand Security Intelligence Service.


Narrator: All five agencies have identified economic espionage, or attempts to steal the technology or intellectual property of one nation to give another an advantage, as a common problem.  
And while China isn’t the only nation-state that engages in this type of activity, it’s arguably the most egregious offender. Wray said that, in recent years, the FBI has witnessed an approximately 1300% increase in investigations linked to Chinese government attempts to steal things like intellectual property, technology, and trade secrets.    
Director Wray: There is a single common thread in just about every conversation about protecting innovation, really across the world's advanced economies, and that is the Chinese government—not the Chinese people, mind you, and certainly not Chinese-Americans—but the Chinese Communist Party is the number one threat to innovation, period.

China has made economic espionage, stealing others work and ideas, a central component of its national strategy. And that espionage is at the expense of innovators in all five of our countries. And it's certainly true right here in Silicon Valley.

The contrast with our own rule-of-law nations could not be greater. And that's why you see us all here, standing together for the very first time in a public setting, not only to demonstrate our focus and resolve, but to highlight our joint, worldwide work aggressively countering the threat posed by Beijing. 

That threat has only gotten more dangerous and more insidious in recent years. China has long targeted businesses with a web of techniques all at once—cyber intrusions, human intelligence operations, seemingly innocuous corporate investments and transactions. Every strand of that web has become more brazen and more dangerous.

Their hacking program is now bigger than that of every other major nation, combined. And it's aiming for targets like popular corporate email software and companies that, in turn, serve a whole bunch of clients so that it can steal not just from single businesses, but from hundreds or thousands at once. 

At the same time, we've seen aggressive uses of human intelligence, now powered by professional social media, while China also hides information about its own companies and harasses and arrests foreign professionals to make it harder and harder for our businesses to detect and avoid harmful investments, joint ventures, and other transactions intended to facilitate the theft of their IP and data. 

And now we see Beijing closing the malicious circle by bringing innovation and data they've stolen to bear to steal even more. Beijing has long targeted AI, a field where the U.S. and San Francisco and Silicon Valley, in particular, lead the world. And now, they're working to use AI to improve their already-massive hacking operations, using our own technology against us. It is outrageous. 

Director Wray: Beijing's economic espionage campaign hurts our nations and our people: individual engineers, entrepreneurs, families whose hard work and livelihoods are stolen.  

If China wants to be a great nation, it's time to start acting like one: Abiding by its commitments not to steal innovation, following other basic norms like not exporting repression, working with other nations against dangers that all nations face—like cybercrime, fentanyl trafficking, and money laundering—instead of siding with criminals against rule-of-law nations everywhere.  

Because until it does, everywhere it flouts the rule of law and tries to undermine our economic security, it's going to find us there together, disrupting their hostile designs, defending our security, together—not just as governments, but as five joined societies with public servants, private citizens, and businesses all united against the threat. 


Narrator: The Five Eyes partners believe that partnerships—both with each other and with academia and industry—are the best way forward.

As Director Wray told former U.S. Secretary of State Dr. Condoleezza Rice during the summit’s fireside chat… 
Director Wray: …despite some of the things we've talked about, I'm actually quite optimistic, which is not something you always hear from a security service head. But part of the reason I'm optimistic is because I think we have advantages.  

Advantages we have, you see it up here on the stage, partnerships that are true, partnerships that are based on shared values, on mutual trust, on a commitment to collaboration, on genuine friendship, and that—I will stack that kind of partnership against the sort of transactional partnerships that the Chinese government attempts to stand up with Russia or Iran any day of the week. 
And what we're seeing and have seen over the last few years is that same kind of partnership developing and growing and strengthening between our agencies and the private sector, our agencies and universities, our agencies and our counterparts who are not maybe part of the Five Eyes, but who are close friends and partners of all of ours. And the awareness that I see across all those audiences and the desire to partner against the threat is something that makes me optimistic. 

I'm confident that partnerships based on collaboration and trust and teamwork are going to outperform coercion, control, and pressure in the long run. 
Narrator: Ahead of the summit, Wray said the private sector and academia have never been more receptive to working with the FBI on this front. He said conversations with private sector partners have transformed from explaining why innovation theft is a threat to dialoguing about collaborating to counter it.
Director Wray: I find with our counterparts in other countries, including in Europe, that they are very, very focused on this threat in a whole new way.  

Narrator: He said universities are also far more open to partnering on this front since the threat impacts their research. 
Director Wray: There's no one single solution. It's a multidisciplinary response. ...We're arming the private sector with information that enables them to take better steps to protect themselves. 

Narrator: In this way, he said, the FBI is "tapping into an alignment of interests." At the end of the day, he stressed, businesses make their own choices. The government is just giving them information that can help them decide how to safeguard their intellectual property and bolster their cyber defenses. 

Narrator: Likewise, the Five Eyes partners this week released “Five Principles to Secure Innovation”  to help these private-sector and academic partners bolster their defenses against innovation theft.  The Bureau’s UK partners drafted the principles, but all Five Eyes member agencies will implement them. 
The FBI is also fighting the tide of stolen innovation through constant contact between the Bureau's 56 field offices and industry, investigations, disruption of Chinese attempts to steal intelligence, and by sharing lessons learned from private sector partnerships.  


Narrator: Throughout the summit, FBI Director Wray stressed that Five Eyes members were bonded by multiple factors—including, but not limited to, shared values, a dedication to upholding the rule of law, and genuine friendship.

Importantly, they also share an understanding of how severe the threat posed by China and other would-be nation-state thieves to their technology and intellectual property really is.

Australian Security Intelligence Organisation Director-General Mike Burgess called the summit "an unprecedented event in response to an unprecedented threat."

Australian Security Intelligence Organisation Director-General Mike Burgess: We recognize nations will spy. We recognize nations will seek strategic advantage.

Narrator: But, he said, the summit focused on conduct that transcends traditional espionage. He said the government of China is "engaged in the most sustained, sophisticated and scaled theft of intellectual property and expertise in human history."

Narrator: New Zealand Security Innovation Service Director-General of Security and Chief Executive Andrew Hampton said coalition members have a common desire to use partnerships to fight the threat—whether that looks like their governments exchanging threat intelligence or means trading notes with private-sector innovators to increase mutual understanding and collectively brainstorm threat response.

New Zealand Security Intelligence Service Director-General of Security and Chief Executive Andrew Hampton: For us, the key thing is awareness: Having your eyes open and being able to share that best practice to manage the threat.

Narrator: Canadian Security Intelligence Service Director David Vigneault echoed this dedication to using teamwork to protect innovation. He said that, via the summit, the Five Eyes leaders aimed to...

Canadian Security Intelligence Service Director David Vigneault: ...take the knowledge and the awareness that we have and bring it to you in your own respective way as experts working with government to find the right frameworks so that we can enable that openness, transparency and innovation, but at the same time, do it in a way that will protect what is important for us: freedom, democracy, freedom from interference and coercion, as well.

Narrator: And of innovators who might not think their efforts would matter to China or other adversarial nation-states, MI5 Director-General Ken McCallum said:

MI5 Director General Ken McCallum: Emerging technologies have such potential to change our world in quite fundamental ways that I think we should all care about where that power flows and goes. If you are working at the cutting edge of technology today, you might not be interested in geopolitics, but geopolitics is certainly interested in you.

Narrator: Visit to learn more about this week’s summit.


Narrator: This has been another production of Inside the FBI. 
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On behalf of the FBI’s Office of Public Affairs, thanks for tuning in.

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FBI Director Convenes Five Eyes Summit on Protecting Innovation, Preventing Economic Espionage

During an October 17 fireside chat with intelligence chiefs from across the Five Eyes partnership, FBI Director Christopher Wray called the Chinese Communist Party the foremost threat to global innovation and suggested that partnerships are the best way to fight back.

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