China is conducting human testing in efforts to create biologically enhanced super soldiers according to a top U.S. intelligence official. In an interview with Fox News on Tuesday, National Intelligence Director John Ratcliffe said that the U.S. has intelligence that China has conducted these biological tests on their own soldiers in attempts to enhance their abilities. The interview comes just days after Ratcliff included the claim in a Wall Street Journal op-ed declaring China to be the pre-eminent national security threat to the U.S.
While this may sound like another very wild 2020 moment -- especially with the recent claims made by a former head of Israel's security space program that aliens are real and are just waiting for mankind to be read in order to reveal themselves -- this actually isn't the first time China's interest in super soldiers has come up. NBC News reported that last year, two American scholars wrote a paper that examined China's interests in this area and noted that there was some evidence that China was interested in using gene editing technology, including the CRISPR tool, to enhance human performance.
However, while the idea of genetic editing to create enhanced performance in humans sounds like something out of a Marvel movie or comics, NBC's report notes that scholars see it as currently only a hypothetical and something that researchers have only begun to explore.
"While the potential leveraging of CRISPR to increase human capabilities on the future battlefield remains only a hypothetical possibility at the present, there are indications that Chinese military researchers are starting to explore its potential," wrote the scholars, Elsa Kania, an expert on Chinese defense technology at the Center for a New American Security, and Wilson VornDick, a consultant on China matters and former Navy officer.
VornDick, in an interview with NBC, also noted the larger concern was the consequences of gene editing -- something that remains unknown.
"When we start playing around with genetic organisms, there could be unforeseen consequences," he said.
Of course, China isn't alone in being interested in super soldiers -- at least in terms of having a plan on how to deal with them. A report in 2019 noted that the U.S. Army is already planning for a future in which machines rather than biology may be used to augment the abilities of soldiers, essentially creating cyborgs that the American people may not be completely prepared for or comfortable with.
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