The U.S. recently revealed that China had
done some major damage to the NSA (National Security Agency) via penetration of
the NSA facility in Hawaii (which concentrates on monitoring China.) The
Chinese effort was two-fold. First, the Chinese set up a Chinese translation
service in Hawaii, and managed to make it appear as American owned (and able to
pass a security check). Eventually, this translation company got NSA contracts
to translate material obtained from China. The operators of the translation of
the company were able to pass the NSA material back to China, letting the
Chinese know what information the NSA was picking up, which helped the Chinese
figure out how the NSA was getting certain information, and with what. This
made it easier to prevent the NSA from getting certain information, or setting
up a trap, to feed the NSA false information.
But there was more. Many of the NSA
employees were Chinese-American. The Chinese set up a recruiting operation,
that was so carefully established and run, that it was several years before
U.S. counter-intelligence caught on, and shut it down.
All this was a major blow to the NSA,
and a reminder that, in the intel business, when you get sloppy, you get hurt.