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Surprising Science

China’s Skill in Stealing America’s Secrets

The intriguing case of China’s success in obtaining the secret design of the American W-88 nuclear warhead illustrates the expertise of its espionage service—one that rivals the C.I.A..

What’s the Latest Development?

China’s success in obtaining the secret design of the American W-88 nuclear warhead illustrates what U.S. counterintelligence agencies have been slow to see: China not only has global economic clout, it has a top-class espionage service, even penetratring the F.B.I. It actively spies on U.S. defense and intelligence agencies, nuclear weapons labs, and Silicon Valley.

What’s the Big Idea?

Intelligence and espionage writer and historian David Wise says Washington’s counterintelligence agents, accustomed to the comfortable parameters of the cold war and more recent battles against Al Qaeda, must rethink their priorities and shift their focus and energy to counter China’s spies. “If not, more secrets like the W-88 nuclear warhead will continue to find their way to Beijing.”


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