NSA chief says leaks about US cyber spying on China, and techniques for doing it, will impair intelligence-gathering. Others play that down, saying the more significant hit will be to relations with China and to US global work on behalf of a free and open Internet.
International relations and leadership on global Internet policy, not US cyberespionage capability, are what will be compromised most as a result of revelations that the United States spies on computers used by civilians in Hong Kong and China.
That's the bottom line of several cyberespionage experts asked to assess the damage from Edward Snowden's most recent disclosures about the secret activities of the US government's National Security Agency (NSA). Mr. Snowden, a former NSA contractor and a self-described whistleblower, outlined for a Hong Kong newspaper this week how the NSA hacks into the Internet's "backbone" routers – the data traffic cops of the information superhighway – to spy on nonmilitary computer users in China.
Few seemed surprised by the allegations (probably not even the Chinese), but the NSA chief insisted that the leak caused "great harm" and will in fact impair the agency's cyberintelligence-gathering ability.
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