China hacks US Office of Personnel Management – the search for penalties

by Chris Zappone

The New York Times reported this story about an attempt to access personal information of US government employees.

After the US indictments of the PLA officers, the Chinese remained undeterred in their hacking efforts on US targets, according to an unnamed senior US intelligence official quoted in the article. The official says that currently, despite the complaints from the US: “There’s no price to pay for the Chinese…and nothing will change until that changes.”

And so as with many of these matters, timing is everything.

This New York Times story – picked up elsewhere – comes as the US and China sit down for the yearly US-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue in Beijing. I think the White House has learned that it’s not useful to show up at a meeting with their Chinese counterparts without a cringe-inducing example to be placed on the table.

That’s what the indictments of the PLA officers were about and what the Mandiant report was about. It wouldn’t surprise me if this latest story originated in a government leak to the media.

Whether this kind of public shaming of the Chinese has any effect within the US remains to be seen. Americans struggle to focus on China for cultural, geographical but also strategic reasons.

An interesting quote caught my eye in the readers’ comments on the New York Times, especially in light of the recent flare-ups in the Middle East.

quote

It was the top ranked reader response.