OAN’s Shawntel Smith-Hill
3:47PM – Friday, July 21, 2023
Chinese hackers linked to Beijing breached the email account of United States Ambassador to China Nicholas Burns, as well as several other top U.S. officials including the assistant secretary of state for East Asia, Daniel Kritenbrink, and Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo.
The breach comes amid a series of trips to China by top Biden officials and is a part of a larger intelligence-gathering campaign.
Allegedly hackers were able to gain access to hundreds of thousands of U.S. government emails although they were reportedly limited to unclassified mail, officials from the Biden administration believe hackers may have gained insight into internal communications regarding U.S. policy. This comes as U.S. secretary of State Antony Blinken is slated to travel to China.
The breach appeared to be surgical in nature, particularly honing in on a certain senior official tasked with managing the U.S. China relationship.
The hackers were able to leverage a flaw in Microsoft’s cloud-computing environment that according to the company has since been fixed.
Rob Joyce, the cybersecurity director at the National Security Agency, said at the Aspen Security Forum on Thursday. “It is China doing espionage.”
“That is what nation-states do. We need to defend against it, we need to push back on it, but that is something that happens.”
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