FBI director says new probes into China launched 'every 12 hours'

The FBI is opening counterintelligence investigations into China as often as every 12 hours, Director Christopher Wray testified Tuesday during a Senate Homeland Security Committee hearing.

"There is no shortage of dangers to defend against," Wray said in his opening statement, pointing to the agency's efforts to combat foreign and domestic terrorism, cybercrime and gang violence.

Wray did not elaborate about the nature of the investigations into China, but has long warned about the dangers of cyber espionage and hacking coming from the country.

"The greatest long-term threat to our nation’s information and intellectual property, and to our economic vitality, is the counterintelligence and economic espionage threat from China. It’s a threat to our economic security— and by extension, to our national security," he said in a speech last year.

He stressed then that he wasn't talking "about the Chinese people" and "certainly not about Chinese Americans," but pointed a finger at government officials.

"The Chinese government is engaged in a broad, diverse campaign of theft and malign influence, and it can execute that campaign with authoritarian efficiency," he said. "The FBI and our partners throughout the U.S. government will hold China accountable and protect our nation’s innovation, ideas, and way of life — with the help and vigilance of the American people."