The Volokh Conspiracy

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A Wilderness of Mirror Imaging

China and the CIA: Episode 344 of the Cyberlaw Podcast


In this episode, I interview Zach Dorfman about his excellent reports in Foreign Policy about US-China intelligence competition in the last decade. Zach is a well-regarded national security journalist, a Senior Staff Writer at the Aspen Institute's Cyber and Technology program, and a Senior Fellow at the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs. We dive deep into his tale of how the CIA achieved remarkable penetration of the Chinese government and then lost it, inspiring China to mirror-image the Agency's techniques and build a far more professional and formidable global intelligence network.

In the news roundup, we touch on the disgraceful demonstration-cum-riot at the Capitol this week and the equally disgraceful Silicon Valley rush to score points on the right in a way they never did with the BLM demonstrations-cum-riots last summer. Nate Jones has a different take, but we manage to successfully predict Parler's shift from platform to (antitrust) plaintiff and to bond over my proposal to impose heavy taxes on social media platforms with more than ten million users. Really, why spend three years in court trying to break 'em up when you can get them to do it themselves and raise money to boot?

SolarWinds keep blowing. Sultan Meghji and Zach Dorfman give us the latest on the attribution to Russia, the fine difference between attack and espionage, and the likelihood of new direct or indirect cybersecurity regulation.

Pete Jeydel and Sultan cover the latest round of penalties imposed by the rapidly dwindling Trump administration on Chinese companies.

Nate dehypes the UK High Court decision supposedly ruling mass hacking illegal. He previews some Biden appointments, and we talk about the surprising rise of career talent in the new administration and why that might be happening. Nate also critiques DNI Grenell after accusations of politicization of intelligence. I'm kinder. But not when I condemn Distributed Denial of Services for joining forces with ransomware gangs to punish victims;  it's hard to believe that anyone could make Julian Assange and Wikileaks look responsible, but DDOS does. Speaking of Julian, he's won another Pyrrhic victory in court – likely extending his imprisonment with another temporizing win.

Download the 344th Episode (mp3)

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