US Justice Department to charge Chinese military officials with hacking

Five people said to work for the Chinese People's Liberation Army are expected to be charged with hacking later Monday

The U.S. Department of Justice is preparing to charge Chinese military officials with hacking US companies to obtain trade secrets.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder is expected to announce the charges on Monday morning, according to reports in The Wall Street Journal and NBC.

The hacking charges, against five people alleged to work for the Chinese People's Liberation Army, would be the first against officials of another state.

Among the trade secrets allegedly stolen by the accused are information about a nuclear power plant design and a solar panel company's cost and pricing data, according to the Journal. The alleged hackers are said to work for the PLA's Unit 61398 in Shanghai, the newspaper reported.

The charges are the latest round in battle for influence and information between China and the U.S. Earlier this year, reports accused the U.S. National Security Agency of spying on Chinese network equipment manufacturer Huawei Technologies.

Peter Sayer covers open source software, European intellectual property legislation and general technology breaking news for IDG News Service. Send comments and news tips to Peter at

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