As the United States tries to regain the efficiency of the nation’s spy operations, its top officials remember how the Chinese government killed and imprisoned over a dozen C.I.A. informants, thereby crippling the best ever spying system of America.
The incident can be traced between 2010 and 2012. Prior to the period, America used to receive all significant information about Beijing because of the efficient spy operations it implemented. Reports have revealed that China killed and imprisoned almost 20 C.I.A. informants and disturbed the intelligence system for years after the incident.
A reputed U.S. daily cited some current and former American officials who said that the intelligence breach that took place towards the end of 2010 was one of the worst in decades. The investigation on the matter led to the formation of two groups – one that claimed the presence of a mole in the C.I.A. itself while the other believed that the Chinese hacked the covert system via which America communicated with its foreign sources. Although the claims made by the two groups were different, both of them agreed that the damage done was huge.
The mole theory behind the killing or imprisonment of C.I.A. informants was supported as there was a reason to believe in this. The former officials said that during that period China compromised National Security Agency surveillance in Taiwan. Beijing claims that Taiwan is an island that is a part of China. China, at that point of time, infiltrated Taiwanese intelligence, an American ally.
The United States started its hunt for the insider who helped China in attacking C.I.A. informants. According to sources, authorities failed to gather sufficient proof against the mole and therefore no steps were taken against him. The officials believe that the suspect presently lives in another Asian nation.
The Chinese began attacking the C.I.A. informants towards the ending of 2010 and continued doing so until the end of 2012. Three of the officials said that one of the C.I.A. informants was shot dead in a government building’s courtyard in front of his colleagues. The rest of them were imprisoned.
In the present situation, when the C.I.A. is making efforts to find out the sources involved in the hacking of sensitive documents online as unveiled by WikiLeaks, it is important for America to ensure the quality of information coming from different nations to be up to the mark. Besides, the leak of the sensitive information online, America is also trying to find out how Russia impacted the U.S. presidential elections 2016, which led to the victory of Republican candidate Donald Trump over Democrat rival Hillary Clinton.
The investigation on all the matters is ongoing without the findings being made public. According to the reports, about 10 current and former U.S. officials said that the condition of anonymity is being maintained as far as the investigation on different American issues is concerned.
The Chinese attack on C.I.A. informants was a huge loss to America and was one of the most significant episodes in the American history. The Chinese government continued to disrupt spying efforts of the nation, and China had been successful in stealing American secrets. In 2015, a breach was reported that was declared well-publicized as it gave Beijing access to multiple records relating to government personnel, including intelligence contractors.
As a result, it is one of the most significant jobs of the C.I.A to ensure they have proper spying sources in China. However, the extensive security system of the nation makes it quite difficult for it to have spy sources there. America’s work is in progress of making an efficient spying system that could ensure the same quality of information that was guaranteed prior to the attack on C.I.A. informants.
[Featured Image by Carolyn Kaster/AP Images]