FILE - In this file photo taken Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2012, Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping, left, meets with President Barack Obama in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington. Chinese have long been fascinated with U.S. presidential elections, but interest is particularly high this year because Americans are voting at the same time Beijing is going through its own political transition. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Public evidence is mounting that the Chinese military is responsible for stealing massive amounts of U.S. government data and corporate trade secrets, and that's prompting the Obama administration to plan trade actions against countries caught at cyberespionage.
According to officials familiar with the plans, the White House is eyeing fines, penalties and other trade restrictions. The officials say the new strategy will be released tomorrow.
The White House plans come after a Virginia-based cybersecurity firm released a torrent of details that tied a secret Chinese military unit in Shanghai to years of cyberattacks against U.S. companies. After analyzing breaches that compromised more than 140 companies, Mandiant has concluded that they can be linked to the People's Liberation Army's Unit 61398.
Military experts believe the unit is part of the People's Liberation Army's cyber-command, which is under the direct authority of the General Staff Department, China's version of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.