Chinese Hackers Access Email Of US Ambassador, Compromise "Hundreds Of Thousands" Of US Government Emails

Tyler Durden's Photo
by Tyler Durden
Thursday, Jul 20, 2023 - 11:20 PM

There go all the latest attempts by the Biden admin at a detente with China.

The WSJ reports that hackers "linked to Beijing" have accessed the email account of the U.S. ambassador to China, Nicholas Burns, in an attack that reportedly has "compromised at least hundreds of thousands of individual U.S. government emails." Daniel Kritenbrink, the US assistant secretary of state for East Asia, was also hacked in the cyber-espionage attack. While it remains unconfirmed, the two diplomats are believed to be the two most senior officials at the State Department targeted in the alleged spying campaign disclosed last week.

Unlike previous so-called "Russian hacking" campaigns which dominated the news between 2016 and 2022 and which were fabricated by the FBI to cover up the FBI's own criminal activity, and where everything about the perps was known instantaneously, the "contours" of the Chinese hacking campaign aren’t fully known. According to the Journal, while the infiltration was limited to unclassified emails, "the inboxes of Burns and Kritenbrink could have allowed the hackers to glean insights into U.S. planning for a recent string of visits to China by senior Biden administration officials, as well as internal conversations about U.S. policies toward its rival amid a period of delicate diplomacy that has been challenged repeatedly in recent months."

Burns and Kritenbrink are the second and third senior Biden administration officials to be identified in news reports as having their emails hacked. U.S. Secretary Gina Raimondo’s email was also compromised in the breach, U.S. officials have said, who also stated that the email of top US State official Antony Blinken, wasn’t directly infiltrated in the hack, nor were those in his circle of top advisers. Instead, the hackers appeared to focus on a small number of senior officials responsible for managing the U.S.-China relationship. That said, since this appears to be another planted deep state narrative which will change over time as the deep state's needs also change, the WSJ was quick to caveat that "the estimate of individual emails accessed is rough and could also grow, the people said."

“For security reasons, we will not be sharing additional information on the nature and scope of this cybersecurity incident at this time,” a State Department spokesman said. “The Department continuously monitors and responds to activity of concern on our networks. Our investigation is ongoing, and we cannot provide further details at this time.”

Kritenbrink accompanied Blinken on his trip to China a month ago, and Kritenbrink, Burns and Blinken all attended meetings with senior Chinese officials and with Chinese leader Xi Jinping. Before the high-level talks in Beijing, Kritenbrink led a trip of less senior officials to lay the groundwork.

Last week the State Department led the Biden administration’s effort to restart diplomatic communications with China and notch progress in select areas including climate change and synthetic opioid trade. However, deep-seated disagreements over Taiwan, spying and other issues have led to a deterioration in relations, with broad U.S. political concerns about China have "prevented any reversal of the trend."

According to the report, the hack was pulled off with the help of a flaw in Microsoft’s cloud-computing environment and has since been fixed; more than two dozen organizations globally were also affected. Fewer than 10 organizations were compromised in the U.S. and each of those appeared to have a small number of individual email accounts directly accessed by the hackers, a senior American cybersecurity official said last week. It isn’t known whether any federal agencies beyond the State and Commerce departments were targeted although we are confident that if they were then Hillary Clinton would gladly donate her version of BleachBit and a few hammers.

Microsoft hasn’t publicly disclosed how the breach began and has said it is continuing to investigate the incident.

Hilariously, the Administration of Joe "10 for the big guy" Biden, whose son is deep in China's pockets, has keep radiosilent about the hack, which U.S. officials have described as surgical in nature "something that targeted a small number of specifically chosen high-value victims... and have sought to play down its overall impact, likening it to routine digital espionage that is constantly going on between adversarial nations."

Right, because other nations routinely hack the email accounts of the most important US politicians.

Not surprisingly, Joe Bidem hasn’t formally blamed China for the hack, but senior Biden administration officials said they have no reason to doubt Microsoft’s assessment linking it to a Chinese hacking group. Meanwhile, China has denied the allegations and accused the U.S. of engaging in rampant cyber-enabled espionage around the world.