(National Sentinel) Intelligence operations: If you needed additional proof that President Obama and his foreign policy team, especially Hillary Clinton, were both tone-deaf to national security threats and completely ineffective in dealing with them, this should do it.
As reported by The New York Times on Sunday, the U.S. intelligence community, the CIA in particular, suffered major losses of human intelligence assets at the hands of the Chinese government early in the Obama administration, after the agency had spent years building a spy network in the rising Asian power.
In addition to the discovery by Chinese intelligence of the existence of the extensive American spy network, at least 18 operatives working inside the communist government were identified and killed.
The Times noted:
The Chinese government systematically dismantled CIA spying operations in the country starting in 2010, killing or imprisoning more than a dozen sources over two years and crippling intelligence gathering there for years afterward.
Current and former American officials described the intelligence breach as one of the worst in decades. It set off a scramble in Washington’s intelligence and law enforcement agencies to contain the fallout, but investigators were bitterly divided over the cause.
Some in the intelligence community, the paper reported, were convinced that a mole existed within the United States’ top foreign intelligence agency and had betrayed America, while others theorize the Chinese managed to hack the secretive communication system the agency utilized to contact its foreign sources. (Related: Read China disrupted CIA operations during Obama administration, killing informants and crippling intel for years.)
Even now, years after the fact, still no one is sure what happened; only that the CIA lost its ability to reliably track what Beijing was up to.
That said, there is near-universal agreement that the damage caused was substantial. Between late 2010 and the end of 2012, at least 12 CIA sources were identified by the Chinese and killed, American officials told the paper — three of whom said one source was actually executed in front of colleagues in the courtyard of a government building as a warning to others who may have also been working for the CIA.
Others were luckier in that they were only jailed for their suspected collusion. But in the end, sources said, 18 of 20 sources the CIA had managed to cultivate over the years were either killed or sent to prison.
How serious was the breach? It was on the scale of damage done by American spies Aldrich Ames of the CIA and Robert Hanssen of the FBI, who disclosed highly classified information to the Soviet Union, then to Russia, for many years.
The Times disclosure comes as Democrats working to unseat President Donald J. Trump by claiming somehow that he’s a risk are still attempting to defend Hillary Clinton as being the better choice for commander in chief. And yet, such ringing endorsements ignore the fact that, as secretary of state, she had blatantly disregarded national security protocols and procedures in setting up a private, unsecured server over which untold amounts of classified information traveled.
Then-FBI Director James Comey said in July 2016 there was no evidence that Clinton’s server was hacked, but he also added, “we would be unlikely to find such direct evidence” because nation states (including the U.S.) are very capable of masking all hacking activities.
What’s more, we have to remember that Obama was complicit in Clinton’s private server use, having emailed her on occasions using an alias to hide his identity.
Worse: Years after the loss of CIA assets in China, Beijing managed to penetrate the Office of Personnel Management, in which tens of millions of files on current and former U.S. government workers were stolen, giving China a who’s who of American intel agency employees.
Between the two of them, Obama’s inattentiveness to the problem of nation-state hacking and Clinton’s overt dismissal of the rules governing the handling of classified information, it’s no wonder the CIA lost one of its most valuable spying operations and, in the process, put ALL Americans at greater risk.
This article originally appeared at Whitehouse.news.