This Ought to Make for an Uncomfortable Moment at the APEC Summit
“A-Space,” the Central Intelligence Agency’s social network for agents and analysts, may have seemed a grand idea when it was first announced. A tool that would improve the sharing of information across the traditionally stove-piped intelligence community. A SpySpace.
Doesn’t seem so ingenious now, though. Not when a “View All Friends” command might reveal People’s Liberation Army operatives. According to senior U.S. officials, the Chinese military hacked into a U.S. Defense Department network in June. The breach to systems serving the office of Defense Secretary Robert Gates forced the Pentagon to take the network offline for more than a week. “The PLA has demonstrated the ability to conduct attacks that disable our system? .?.?.? and the ability in a conflict situation to re-enter and disrupt on a very large scale,” a former official told the Financial Times. Another said there was “no doubt” that China was now monitoring email traffic on unclassified government networks.
Beijing denied the claims, which come as Chinese President Hu Jintao prepares to meet with President George Bush at the APEC summit in Sydney, Australia. “The Chinese government has consistently opposed and vigorously attacked according to the law all Internet-wrecking crimes, including hacking,” said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu. “Some people are making wild accusations against China … These are totally groundless and also reflect a Cold War mentality.”
Perhaps. But this isn’t the first time the PLA has faced allegations like these. It was only a week or so ago that Beijing was accused of breaking into the German government’s network.