In an interview this week with the BBC, CIA director Mike Pompeop said China is as big a threat as Russia and that Chinese efforts to exert covert influence over the West are just as concerning as Russian subversion.
According to him, the Chinese "have a much bigger footprint" to carry out such covert activities than the Russians do.
He told the BBC that he also expected Russia to target the 2018 US mid-term elections.
The US intelligence community has said that it believes Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election.
"Think about the scale of the two economies," Pompeo said of Russia and China to BBC.
"The Chinese have a much bigger footprint upon which to execute that mission than the Russians do."
According to BBC, a former CIA officer was arrested earlier this year on charges of retaining classified information in a case thought to be connected to the dismantling of the agency's spy operations in China.
BBC stated that in the two years before Jerry Chun Shing Lee's arrest, some 20 informants had been killed or jailed - one of the most disastrous failures of US intelligence in recent years.
But officials did not know at the time whether to blame a mole or data hack.
Pompeo meanwhile told the BBC that countries could collectively do more to combat Chinese efforts to exert power over the West.
"We can watch very focused efforts to steal American information, to infiltrate the United States with spies - with people who are going to work on behalf of the Chinese government against America," he said.
"We see it in our schools. We see it in our hospitals and medicals systems. We see it throughout corporate America. It's also true in other parts of the world... including Europe and the UK."
According to the BBC report, Russian interference has been the focus of political debate in Washington with allegations of hacking and releasing information as well as using social media to sow division.
But the CIA director's claim to BBC that China has a more wide-ranging ability to exert influence and more needs to be done to confront it was surprising.