Posted by lex, on December 23, 2007
Gentlemen may not read each other’s mail, but countries aren’t gentlemen and we need to do better than this:
China’s intelligence service gained access to a secret National Security Agency listening post in Hawaii through a Chinese-language translation service, according to U.S. intelligence officials.
The spy penetration was discovered several years ago as part of a major counterintelligence probe by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) that revealed an extensive program by China’s spy service to steal codes and other electronic intelligence secrets, and to recruit military and civilian personnel with access to them.
According to officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity, China’s Ministry of State Security, the main civilian spy service, carried out the operations by setting up a Chinese translation service in Hawaii that represented itself as a U.S.-origin company.
The ruse led to classified contracts with the Navy and NSA to translate some of the hundreds of thousands of intercepted communications gathered by NSA’s network of listening posts, aircraft and ships.
It’s not surprising that we listen in on China. It’s not surprising that they try to find out what we’re hearing. What is surprising is that we hire the Chinese security services to do our translations for us.