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    How China Wiped Out U.S.Clandestine Operations In Its Yard

    Ministry of State Security (MSS), the most feared secretive organization on the planet. Image: GETTY
    It is a living testimony that China’s domestic counterintelligence capabilities have crippled major U.S. Clandestine Operations in its yard if not reduced them to none.

    China’s successful counterintelligence operation exemplifies the continued advancement of Chinese national intelligence and its capabilities to identify foreign sleeper cells. For decades, the United Sates has been locked in a game of espionage with China. In 2010, the espionage game between the U.S. and China came to a climax point when the Chinese government strategically dismantle some of CIA espionage operations that were taking place inside its national borders.

    The mission of Intelligence

    Intelligence agencies are the first line of defense against potential internal and external threats. They are tasked with gathering intelligence, conducting various forms of conspiratorial wig-hogs ( spreading fake information), espionage, advising the government when it comes to national security matters and in extreme cases carrying out political assassinations. This must be stated that some intelligence agencies are better than others. The robustness of an intelligence entity is based on the sheer determination, morale or technical capability on dealing with threats quickly.

    Logo: China Ministry of State Security
    This special article gave a pivotal focus on the Ministry of State Security (MSS), the most feared secretive organization on the planet thus far. The organization was formed in 1983, as a state security agency and intelligence outfit of the People's Republic of China. It is headquartered in Beijing and has about 17 known bureaus or divisions, including a counterintelligence division in military, civil and a social research division. 

    The MSS plays a central role in curtailing the political influence on the internet especially social media in China. The agency is also responsible for handling internal security matters and anything that might instigate citizens to rebel against the Communist government. The MSS works on external involvement heavily in economic espionage and industrial intelligence, which gave speculation that the Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei is contracted by the Chinese intelligence service to gather technical and scientific intelligence from around the world or perhaps helping in spying process. The agency employed over 100,000 intelligence personnel both inside and outside China, the MSS has been able to play its part effectively, especially in regard to national security.

    Diplomatic fall out

    On the diplomatic fallout with the United States, China escalates its counterintelligence operations against the U.S. whose oftentimes attempting to penetrate the oriental societies through the concept of promoting democracy, creating political division, and civil influencers. As countermeasure China has become more aggressive in its detection and prevention of U.S. espionage within its soil. Pentagon increasingly became fed up by the lack of effective operations against China. It looks like the country is impenetrable. Chinese counterintelligence always seems to have an advantage over foreign operatives in the country. 

    In early 2010, China launched a counterintelligence operation against the United States which resulted in either the killing or imprisonment of up to 20 CIA agents operating within China's mainland.  U.S. government and intelligence officials have come to describe the incident as one of the worst intelligence breaches ever since the Cold War. Dozens of American spies were secretively killed in China and elsewhere. Some senior Pentagon officials said the exposure was caused by the flawed in communications service using a Google Apps that allowed foreign foes to see what the agents were up. The number of American assets lost in China, officials said, paralleled to those lost in the Soviet Union and Russia during the betrayals of both Aldrich Ames and Robert Hanssen, formerly of the C.I.A. and the F.B.I., who divulged intelligence operations to Moscow those years.

    Between 2009 and 2013 the US Central Intelligence Agency suffered a “catastrophic failure'' in their secret communication channels used by officers and the case agents around the world when speaking to each other, according to a report in Washington Post, “We’re still dealing with the fallout,” said one former national security official. “people around the world were killed because of this.” The internet-based communications platform was first used in the Middle East to communicate with soldiers in war zones and had not been intended for widespread use but due to its ease of use and efficacy, it was adopted by agents despite its lack of sophistication, the sources stated.

    While the extent of compromise was not wholly revealed, it is evident that the intelligence breach severely hindered the U.S. intelligence interests as well as morale to operate in China. Former Deputy Defense Minister of Taiwan, Lin Chong-pin stated that the event demonstrates that “both China and the US are working on countering espionage, but obviously the US lags behind. It’s very hard for the US to conduct intelligence gathering [on Chinese intelligence] because it takes quite some courage to acknowledge that.” The U.S. intelligence community is still investigating the cause of the CIA intelligence network breach in China. 

    Reports released by the United States government have indicated that some suspects are mole within the CIA whose jobs to leak the information to the Chinese intelligence. However, other security analysts argued that it was not the work of a mole but rather a Chinese cyber attack on US agencies which led to the exploitation of 20 CIA operatives covers being a blowout. To this day, the debate between which hypothesis caused the intelligence leak still remains unresolved.

    Chinese national security determined to bolster its foreign exploitation, improve collection capabilities and effectuate domestic countermeasures. In previous year China’s National People’s Congress (NPC) passed the National Security Law which tasked China’s National Security Commission, led by Xi Jinping, with overseeing various aspects of China’s national security. The National Security Law served as a catalyst in forming China’s most recent national security legislation. The National Security Law of 2017 was recently implemented by the NPC. 

    The new security law increased the legal capabilities of China’s intelligence agencies in terms of monitoring and investigating both foreign and domestic individuals on account of protecting China’s national security. Specifically, the law allows Chinese intelligence officials to enter any premise regarded “restricted access areas” and deploy superstitious “technological reconnaissance measures” to collect intelligence on suspected agents or individuals. Moreover, the law gives Chinese intelligence agencies the legal capability to seize real estate, communication devices, vehicles, and homes without first obtaining a warrant. Both of these laws highlight Xi Jinping’s attempt to bolster China’s intelligence/counterintelligence capabilities.

    In 1995, Chinese intelligence agents successfully stole U.S. design plans of a next-generation miniaturized nuclear warhead, the W-88.  This event was the first significant example of Chinese espionage defeating the counterintelligence capabilities of the United States. Twenty-two years later, China’s international spy network continues to be a significant threat to U.S. intelligence and national security. In July of 2017, Guo Wengui, a Chinese businessman who had previous ties to the Chinese Ministry of State Security (MSS), reported that China’s spy network in the United States currently includes 25,000 Chinese intelligence officers and 15,000 recruited local agents.  

    According to Wengui, the Chinese intelligence operatives have four primary strategic objectives. The first, and most important, is two obtain military and weapons-related technology. The second objective is “buying” senior U.S. officials to gain political influence. The third is to buy family members of American political or business elites. The fourth and final objective is to penetrate and embed America’s internet infrastructure with malicious software.

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