An army of “unnamed” U.S. officials on Friday were quick to allege that Chinese hackers were responsible for a breach of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM)’s computer system in December, which compromised the data of about 4 million current and former federal employees.
China’s foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei said the accusations were “irresponsible and unscientific” at a news briefing on Friday. “We know that hacker attacks are conducted anonymously, across nations, and that it is hard to track the source. It’s irresponsible and unscientific to make conjectural, trumped-up allegations without deep investigation.”
He added: “We wish the United States would not be full of suspicions, catching wind and shadows, but rather have a larger measure of trust and cooperation.”
Common Dreams is a not-for-profit organization. We fund our news team by pooling together many small contributions from our readers. No advertising. No selling our readers’ information. No reliance on big donations from the 1%. This allows us to maintain the editorial independence that our readers rely on. But this media model only works if enough readers pitch in.
We urgently need your help today.
If you support Common Dreams and you want us to survive, your gift today is .
According to NBC News, unidentified U.S. officials “said the breach—which exploited a ‘zero day’ vulnerability, meaning one that was previously unknown—could be the biggest cyberattack in U.S. history, potentially affecting every agency of the U.S. government.”
U.S. Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) was among those pointing fingers at China. “The ramifications are very serious,” said Collins, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee. “Potentially 4 million former and current federal employees have had their information compromised, and because OPM is the [agency] that holds security clearances, that’s giving a potential enemy like China very valuable information.”
Unnamed intelligence officials told CNN that “hackers working for the Chinese military are believed to be compiling a massive database of Americans,” though it was unclear what the purpose of such a database would be—and doubly unclear why CNN would report the unsubstantiated claims of unnamed “intelligence officials.”
SCROLL TO CONTINUE WITH CONTENT