Skip to comments.Snowden: Classified US data shows Hong Kong hacking targets
Posted on 06/16/2013 8:14:49 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
Classified US government data shown to the South China Morning Post by whistle-blower Edward Snowden has provided a rare insight into the effectiveness of Washington's top-secret global cyberspying programme.
New details about the data can be revealed by the Post after further analysis of information Snowden divulged during an exclusive interview on Wednesday in which the former CIA computer analyst exposed extensive hacking by the US in Hong Kong and the mainland.
The FBI said yesterday it had launched a criminal investigation and was taking "all necessary steps" to prosecute Snowden for exposing secret US surveillance programmes.
FBI Director Robert Mueller told the House Judiciary Committee: "These disclosures have caused significant harm to our nation and to our safety. We are taking all necessary steps to hold the person responsible for these disclosures," he said.
Snowden, the man behind explosive leaks of information on the US government's Prism programme that collected phone and web data from its citizens, has pledged to stay in Hong Kong to fight any attempts by his government to have him extradited.
The detailed records - which cannot be independently verified - show specific dates and the IP addresses of computers in Hong Kong and on the mainland hacked by the National Security Agency over a four-year period.
They also include information indicating whether an attack on a computer was ongoing or had been completed, along with an amount of additional operational information.
The small sample data suggests secret and illegal NSA attacks on Hong Kong computers had a success rate of more than 75 per cent, according to the documents. The information only pertains to attacks on civilian computers with no reference to Chinese military operations, Snowden said.
"I don't know what specific information they were looking for on these machines, only that using technical exploits to gain unauthorised access to civilian machines is a violation of law. It's ethically dubious," Snowden said in the interview on Wednesday.
Snowden, who came to Hong Kong on May 20 and has been in hiding since, said the data points to the frequency and nature of how NSA operatives were able to successfully hack into servers and computers, with specific reference to machines in Hong Kong and on the mainland.
According to a New York Times report yesterday, US government lawyers, working with their counterparts in Hong Kong, are understood to have identified several dozen criminal offences with which Snowden could be charged under both Hong Kong and American laws. One of the targets Snowden revealed was Chinese University, home to the Hong Kong Internet Exchange which is a central hub of servers through which all web traffic in the city passes.
A university spokeswoman said yesterday that staff had not detected any attacks to its "backbone network".
Yesterday's revelation that the US was secretly hacking computers in Hong Kong and on the mainland sent shockwaves around the world and came just days after Snowden first exposed the Prism programme to The Guardian newspaper in Britain.
"The primary issue of public importance to Hong Kong and mainland China should be that the NSA is illegally seizing the communications of tens of millions of individuals without any individualised suspicion of wrongdoing," Snowden said. "They simply steal everything so they can search for any topics of interest."
Snowden's most recent job was as an NSA contractor with Booz Allen Hamilton but he was fired shortly after he identified himself on Sunday as the source of one of the most significant leaks in US history.
Formal charges are the first necessary step that would prompt an extradition request to the Hong Kong government.
Snowden could find himself at the centre of a diplomatic storm between Washington and Beijing as he has explicitly chosen to seek refuge in Hong Kong, a move that will test the Sino-US relationship. He said he had chosen Hong Kong because he believed the city's semi-autonomous status and rule of law would protect him from attempts to extradite him to the US.
It is understood that Snowden arrived in Hong Kong after leaving his home in Hawaii, telling his girlfriend that he would be away for a few weeks.
He stayed at the Mira Hotel in Tsim Sha Tsui before checking out on Monday and has been in hiding since.
Snowden said he has not spoken to his family since the revelations were made and lives in constant fear for his own safety.
American citizens not going to get excited about the NSA monitoring foreign Governments or foreign entities.
PGR88: “American citizens not going to get excited about the NSA monitoring foreign Governments or foreign entities.”
Agreed. Other nations spy on the US, and we should spy on them. I thought Snowden was a hero when he revealed the US government was spying on its own citizens. If he’s providing intelligence to the Chinese, who are clearly involved in massive intelligence gathering against the US government and businesses, then he’s a traitor.
During the Cold War, would Snowden have went to the KGB and given them evidence the US was spying on the USSR? That’s a similar situation. They were spying on us, and we were spying on them.
I suppose espionage wouldn’t exist in an ideal world, but other nations aren’t going to stop spying on us if we stop spying on them.
Every time I hear the question asked is Snowden a hero or a villain I say he’s both. Leaning toward the latter with this info. I’m very glad we’ve learned what is going on yet I do not trust this young man.
I am in Thailand and since you are reading this the NSA can now 'legally' monitor your communications. Enjoy.
So he tells on spying of US citizens, then disappears for a day or so, and VOILA! tells about spying on China. He has not made it more difficult for people of good will to support him. This is what we pay NSA to do- spy on our enemies. China is our enemy. /probably preaching to the choir, so ignore me...
The FBI said yesterday it had launched a criminal investigation and was taking “all necessary steps” to prosecute Snowden for exposing secret US surveillance programmes.
PuhLeeze!!! What frickin things, products, ideas or, programs has he revealed of any significance???
I have been asking for a week and to date no one has pointed out anything other than he revealed a name of a presumed or known program.
Why is Snowjob the shinny object for everyone’s amusement?
No one is asking and I actually have some answers but, no one is asking?
No, I will not reveal my thoughts on Snowjob. I want critical and deep thinking on others part, as to why he is a supposed traitor????
What did he reveal?
Snowden is just making certain the Chinese won’t extradite him.
I’m not able to come up with any other location other than Russia and Hong Kong(China)where he would not get extradited.
Well, perhaps some hideous rat hole somewhere.
[During the Cold War, would Snowden have went to the KGB and given them evidence the US was spying on the USSR? Thats a similar situation.]
Snowden’s generation of demoralized McSheeple know nothing more about the Cold War than what their tattooed, face-metal adorned, communist NEA indoctrinators fed them.
Russia and China are the only two countries I can think of that can stand up to American “bullying” ( for want of a better word ).
Even Switzerland CAVED to the IRS and revealed the names of American bank account holders.
RE: Well, perhaps some hideous rat hole somewhere.
Iran and North Korea are the other two that come to mind, but who would want to live there?
If this revelation of blatant violations of protections guaranteed by our constitutions 4th amendment is not worrisome to people here... I have to believe that some of the posts that seem to be advocating murdering the whistle blower are... from well... plants. My expectation is that being a member of Free Republic is more than enough justification for this administration to search you hard drive.
I read this as Snowden letting his hosts know that the NSA is spying on them so as to decrease the chance that they will agree to extradite him. He would be of little use to his cause sitting in a U.S. prison. Note that he does not provide IP addresses. He is protecting his person.
Enough is enough. Would someone round up this guy already?
Good idea. That way we won’t have the bother of a fair trial.
The discovery process can be sooooooo messy...
Good idea. That way we won't have the bother of a fair trial.
The discovery process can be sooooooo messy...
His options are rather limited.
We even have FReeprs who would murder him on sight, rather than risk a fair trial (and what the discovery process would do to the obama regime).
The places where he might remain safe are limited. Might be bargaining for his life.