July 26, 2023

Senator Schmitt Leads Bipartisan Coalition Demanding Answers Regarding China’s Hack of State Department Email Server

WASHINGTON – Today, Senator Eric Schmitt led a bipartisan group of Senators in sending a letter to the United States Department of State in order to find out the extent of the People’s Republic of China’s (PRC’s) recent breach of the Department’s unclassified email server preceding Secretary Antony Blinken’s trip to China:    

“China is our chief adversary, and Chinese Communist Party actors hacking into the State Department email servers before a scheduled visit to the country by the Secretary of State is unacceptable. We cannot allow any foreign nation to easily gain access to sensitive government information, and as a Senator, I have an obligation to ensure sensitive information is safeguarded at every level of government. The American people deserve answers,” said Senator Eric Schmitt.

“There is no doubt that the Chinese Communist Party is our greatest geopolitical and national security threat, and everything they do is as our adversary. From stealing our intellectual property and spying on our children through TikTok, to now breaching federal government employees’ emails, the CCP continues to take advantage of the weakness the Biden Administration has shown,” said Senator Katie Britt. “It’s past time to hold the CCP accountable and use every tool at our government’s disposal to protect American national security.”

“This alarming incident is a powerful reminder of how important cybersecurity is to our national security,” said Senator Tim Kaine. “It’s crucial that we examine this situation carefully in order to better understand how we can stay vigilant against future attacks.”

“The Chinese Communist Party is no friend to the United States and the American people deserve to know how much classified information it accessed during the recent data breach,” said Senator Cynthia Lummis.

Senators Tim Kaine (D-VA), Bill Hagerty (R-TN), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Mike Braun (R-IN), Rick Scott (R-FL), Cynthia Lummis (R-WY), J.D. Vance (R-OH), Katie Britt (R-AL), Pete Ricketts (R-NE), Josh Hawley (R-MO), Mark Kelly (D-AZ), and Tim Scott (R-SC) also joined the letter.


  • In recent years, China has committed increasingly brazen and frequent acts of cyber-espionage. The Chinese government is singularly focused on using its advanced hacking program to acquire sensitive information, especially from the United States.
  • Using a blend of state and non-state actors, China has sought to gain access to information systems across the U.S. Federal Government. Cyber-espionage originating from China has increased significantly, and will continue to do so.
  • The letter seeks information related to how we can empower agencies to protect federal information systems, chiefly, unclassified email systems such as Microsoft Outlook. 
  • With a significant increase in cyber-espionage incidents, information received from the State Department would allow government offices to make well-informed policy decisions around more resilient unclassified email systems that can stand up to adversarial cyber-espionage operations.