The Chinese government is touting the execution of U.S. spies within recent years as a victory for its “anti-espionage activities.”
China reportedly dismantled CIA informant operations in the country between 2010 and 2012, which led to the killing or imprisoning of over a dozen spies and hindered intelligence gathering for years afterward.
Fox News reports the Global Times newspaper, which is published by the official People’s Daily, said in an editorial piece that dismantling the CIA ring with prejudice was a “sweeping victory.”
“If this article is telling the truth, we would like to applaud China’s anti-espionage activities,” read the editorial. “Not only was the CIA’s spy network dismantled, but Washington had no idea what happened and which part of the spy network had gone wrong.”
“It can be taken as a sweeping victory. Perhaps it means even if the CIA makes efforts to rebuild its spy network in China, it could face the same result.”
In short, this could be one of the worst security breaches of the U.S. intelligence services in decades, according to current and former American officials.
It resulted in Washington intelligence and law enforcement scrambling to manage the fallout and caused a deep divide among investigators over the cause. Many suspected a mole within the CIA while others were convinced the Chinese hacked into CIA communication systems.
Former CIA Deputy General Counsel for Operations Robert Eatinger told Fox News: “This would indicate an internal, insider threat type of person who was spying for the Chinese.”
Another former CIA officer, Mike Baker, weighed in: “When you start losing a number of assets, especially when they are all compartmentalized away from each other, you have to assume that one possible explanation is you’ve got a counterintelligence problem, that there is someone with knowledge on the inside – a mole…a traitor.”
As to why the story took years to come to the media’s spotlight, Eatinger speculates it could have to do with CIA employees retiring and finally being allowed to discuss it publicly.
Baker added that “there is no good reason” to be bringing this up now, “unless, and this is speculation, it’s to let the Chinese know that we’re on to something to create movement on the other side.”
Fox News reports:
The revelations come amid several incidents of attempted Chinese recruitment of Americans to spy on Beijing’s behalf, including a 28-year-old applicant to the CIA who had studied in China during his college years. Glenn Duffie Shriver was imprisoned for attempting to sell national defense secrets to Chinese agents for about $70,000.
After he was convicted and imprisoned, Shriver starred in FBI videos warning American students of the dangers of Chinese recruitment.
The Shriver case also made the CIA rethink recruiting Americans who have studied in China.
In addition, a veteran State Department employee has also been charged with lying to the FBI about gifts she received from Chinese spies, including an iPhone, a laptop, and vacations.
The report states the CIA has declined to comment on disappearing the spies in China.
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