The United States’s premier spy agency, a New York Times report said,” From the last few weeks of 2010 to the end of 2012, China killed or imprisoned up to 20 sources cultivated by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).
The US daily dismantled ten current and former unnamed American officials who spoke on antimony and reveal how the Chinese systematically destroyed what had become the CIA’s most productive spying operation in China. The Times report described the intelligence breach as one of the worst in decades.
According to the report, the Chinese counter intelligence killed at least a dozen of the CIA’s sources. Reports said, According to One source and three American officials, was shot dead in front of his colleagues at a government building in China. The act was likely meant to serve as a message to others who may have been working for the CIA.
According to the New York Times report, the CIA had managed to build a vast network of spies in China by 2010 by cultivating sources within the bureaucracy in Beijing. Some sources were of the Chinese nationals who the CIA believed had become disenchanted with government corruption in China.
Thanks to the CIA’s intelligence operation that by 2010, a top priority for the agency that the Americans were receiving of the best intelligence they had gathered in China. However in early 2011 American officials soon started to realise that some of their Chinese sources were starting to disappear and the intelligence started drying up.
This incident set an alarm bells in the US, prompting the Federal Investigation Agency and the CIA to begin an investigation. Working out secretly in US the probe looked into each and every aspect of the CIA’s China operation. It is according to New York Times report, Nearly all officials at the United States embassy in China were probed.
In China, as more CIA sources started disappearing the investigation team started taking more urgency and by 2013, the joint CIA and FBI probe concluded that China had been successful in crippling the US’s intelligence operation in China.
What is MOLE?
According to NYT reports , the probe failed to discover exactly what happened. The investigators considered the possibility of a CIA inside who had leaked all the information to the Chinese.
However, the mole theory was rejected by other officials and believed that US operatives had become sloppy with their spy tradecraft, using the same routes to travel and meeting sources at the same locations, making it easier for Chinese counter intelligence to identify the movements of American spies.
According to the NYT report, it is also found in investigation that how Chinese counter intelligence bugged restaurants where US operatives met their sources and infiltrated the meeting spots with waiters who were actually spies.
Another theory was that the Chinese had been able to crack the cover method which is used by central Intelligence Agency to communicate with its sources. However the CIA FBI investigation did not reach on a final decision. The NYT report said, The CIA tried to rebuild its China operation, but it is a money and time consuming effort.