Sanchez (D-Garden Grove) is “outraged” that Vietnam used
malware to illicitly monitor the Internet activity of human rights and
The cyberattacks were
first reported by Google, which recently shut down its search operations
in China after the government attempted to hack into the e-mail accounts
of local dissidents.
Sanchez weighed in as the co-chairperson of the Congressional Caucus on Vietnam and chairwoman of the House Armed Services subcommittee, which has primary jurisdiction
over the nation's cybersecurity.
Of course, it also does not hurt (especially in an election year) that her congressional district includes Little Saigon and scores of voters who intensely hate the Vietnamese government.
“I am outraged by new reports that
Vietnam's government has been using the Internet as a weapon against its
own people,” Sanchez says in a statement released by her office. “Time and time again, President Nguyen
Minh Triet has proven he will stop at nothing to silence critics of his
regime and shut down the free flow of information and communication in
She further accused the Triet and his government of blocking access to a
number of websites, including Facebook and other popular internet
forums, in the form of denial-of-service attacks.
“This is unacceptable
conduct from a country that wants to be an international political
player, especially one that has promised to adhere to basic human rights
standards and the rule of law,” says Sanchez.
She revealed she has applied for a visa to visit Vietnam in hopes of meeting with human rights activists “to get their side of the
story,” and Vietnam's Ministry of Information and Communications “to
discuss the importance of free speech and personally condemn these
(Note to congresswoman: Don't mark that down as your reason for visiting on the visa application.)
In light of the cyberattacks, a government crack down
on religious freedoms and other “abuses” against dissidents, Sanchez has urged the State Department to
re-designate Vietnam as a Country of Particular Concern and
to reassess its trade relations “until President Triet takes concrete action
to improve its human rights record,” according to her office.