On Security

The Risk to Undercover Operatives in the Digital Age

Scott Stewart
VP of Tactical Analysis, Stratfor
Oct 29, 2015 | 08:00 GMT
The CIA confirmed the hacking of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management

On Sept. 29, the Washington Post reported that the CIA had pulled an undisclosed number of officers out of the U.S. Embassy in Beijing following the hack on the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) computer system, which exposed data on some 22.1 million government employees. The U.S. government blames China for the hack, and the move to withdraw agency personnel from Beijing based on fears their identities could be exposed would seem to indicate Washington is confident in its charge.

The hacking of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management computer system is a good case study of why digital advancements make it increasingly difficult for intelligence officers to operate undercover. The U.S. government blames China for the hack, and the move to withdraw agency personnel from Beijing based on fears their identities could be exposed would seem to indicate Washington is confident in its charge....

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