Are charges against Chinese hackers are 'meaningless'?

This is a rush transcript from "Your World," May 19, 2014. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: Then there's this.


ERIC HOLDER, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: Today, we are announcing an indictment against five officers of the Chinese People's Liberation Army for serious cyber-security breaches against six American victim companies.


CAVUTO: I think this is us hacking back, the Justice Department charging five Chinese military workers with hacking into U.S. companies' computers and stealing valuable information, including design plans for a nuclear power plant.

All those charged allegedly work for the People's Liberation Army and reportedly with the blessing of the higher-ups in the Chinese defense establishment. Scary stuff.

To cyber-security pro Morgan Wright on really what happens now.

What do you think? What do you think, Morgan?


This is -- this is the biggest exercise in futility since my seventh grade team took on the Chicago Bears for the world championship.


WRIGHT: I mean, there's just -- there's nothing there.

So, they indicted them. We don't have an extradition treaty with China. These guys are not going to stop. Five people? They got 26,000 people trained in the art of cyber-warfare. This is -- as a former cop, I got to tell you, I would love to see something done, but is this meaningless. Nothing will happen.

CAVUTO: The Chinese responded -- and I'm paraphrasing -- in a statement today that there's nothing to this and effectively said, boy, you're a fine one, United States, to be talking about spying.

So they seem to be shrugging their shoulders and moving on. But what's the risk in our just calling them out on it?

WRIGHT: Well, for one thing, people have to understand there's a big difference between what the Chinese did -- and this goes back to 2006-2007 of targeting our I.T. infrastructure, our metals, that they're -- they're trying to bend the R&D on things like solar energy, so they don't have to spend money -- vs. that, does our intelligence community spy?

Of course. That's what we pay them to do. But they do not take the results of their spying in order for us to get an economic advantage. They don't give it to Boeing. They don't give it to Cisco. They don't give it to anybody else.

CAVUTO: Right.

WRIGHT: So there's a huge difference between our stated purposes and what they do.

Now, what will this cause? It's a statement in the paper. It shows that they're trying to do something which is actually ineffectual, but at the end of the day, the amount of spying that they do and activity against us will either stay the same or increase. It's not going to go down.

CAVUTO: All right. But if you're China and you're looking at this and you want to respond in kind, much like Russia has responded in kind to threatened sanctions by saying, you know what, U.S., we won't provide these rides to the International Space Station, how does that sound?

What could China do? They own a lot of our debt and the fear is that they could play hardball with hardball. Where do you see this going?

WRIGHT: Well, look, they have a lot of economic advantage over us, especially, like you say, in the area of owning debt, and a lot of other things around economics and business and stuff.

Yes, they could make it very difficult for us to ship our goods over there. Look, we do have high-tech companies trying to establish joint ventures in China. You have people like Coke and Cisco and Alcatel-Lucent and people wanting to get a piece of this big market, over a billion people.

CAVUTO: Yes, but, you know, Morgan, I always think that we're always on defense with the Chinese.


CAVUTO: I think they need us a hell of a lot more than we need them. I mean, we buy a lot of this stuff. That's why we have this huge trade deficit and that's why they finance that, to buy back our paper, to keep it going.

So, you could argue that our responding in kind here, and being very tough, is our way of showing the Chinese, we're not going to take your crap. Or am I giving them too much of an advantage?


WRIGHT: No, look, it would be nice if somebody in the administration would recognize that they have the advantage. But right now, I think they play defense because that's what they're used to doing with China. China says, hey, we own this stuff and we're going to call in our debt. And what do we do? We say, OK, we will -- we will make concessions and do stuff.

But, Neil, the real fundamental problem here is that this program has not decreased, but increased, even when the Mandiant report came out back in January and said it took a private sector company to call the Chinese on the carpet and get the administration to do something. Had that not happened, we would not be having this press conference today.

CAVUTO: And talk is, they're still doing it.

Morgan Wright, cyber-security analyst extraordinaire, thank you.

WRIGHT: You bet, Neil.

CAVUTO: All right.

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