The Obama administration has announced new efforts to fight the growing theft of American trade secrets. It's a broad but relatively restrained response to a rapidly emerging global problem that was brought into sharp focus this week by fresh evidence linking cyberstealing to China's military.

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Mentioning China but not specifically targeting that country, Attorney General Eric Holder announced the plan on Wednesday. It includes a new diplomatic push to discourage intellectual property theft abroad along with better coordination at home to help U.S. companies protect themselves.

The administration says indications are that economic espionage is increasing, not only through electronic intrusion over the Internet but also through the recruitment of former employees of U.S. companies with knowledge of inside trade information.

Earlier this week, a Virginia-based cybersecurity firm, Mandiant, accused a secret Chinese military unit in Shanghai of years of cyberattacks against more than 140  companies, a majority of them American.

The Chinese government denies being involved in cybertheft, with China's defense minister calling the Mandiant report deeply flawed. China's Foreign Ministry says that country has also been a victim of hacking, much of it traced to the United States.


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