Intelligence: China Has the NSA For Lunch

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December 26, 2007: The U.S. recently revealed that China had done some major damage to the NSA (National Security Agency) via penetration of the NSA facility in Hawaii (which concentrates on monitoring China.) The Chinese effort was two-fold. First, the Chinese set up a Chinese translation service in Hawaii, and managed to make it appear as American owned (and able to pass a security check). Eventually, this translation company got NSA contracts to translate material obtained from China. The operators of the translation of the company were able to pass the NSA material back to China, letting the Chinese know what information the NSA was picking up, which helped the Chinese figure out how the NSA was getting certain information, and with what. This made it easier to prevent the NSA from getting certain information, or setting up a trap, to feed the NSA false information.

But there was more. Many of the NSA employees were Chinese-American. The Chinese set up a recruiting operation, that was so carefully established and run, that it was several years before U.S. counter-intelligence caught on, and shut it down.

All this was a major blow to the NSA, and a reminder that, in the intel business, when you get sloppy, you get hurt.

 


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