A cache of a quarter-million confidential American diplomatic cables leaked Sunday by the web site WikiLeaks, most of them from the past three years, reveals that the Chinese Politburo directed attacks on Google’s computer systems in that country, according to The New York Times
A Chinese contact told the American Embassy in Beijing in January, one cable reported, according to the Times. “The Google hacking was part of a coordinated campaign of computer sabotage carried out by government operatives, private security experts and Internet outlaws recruited by the Chinese government,” the Times reported. The Chinese also have broken into American government computers and those of Western allies, the Dalai Lama and American businesses since 2002, cables said.
Google announced in March that it would no longer follow the communist government's instructions to filter searches for sensitive material after attacks against the company and Gmail accounts of Chinese dissidents, according to AFP.
Hacking campaigns originating from China have been reported before, but US officials have stopped short of publicly accusing Beijing of orchestrating cyber warfare.
The thousands of leaked documents also recounted efforts by the United States to persuade China to rein in North Korea, AFP reported.
In one secret memo on the WikiLeaks website, the United States in 2008 instructed its embassies to press China and Central Asian nations to block a North Korean plane suspected of proliferating weapons to Iran.
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and American ambassadors around the world have been contacting foreign officials in recent days to alert them to the expected disclosures, according to the Times. A statement from the White House on Sunday said: “We condemn in the strongest terms the unauthorized disclosure of classified documents and sensitive national security information.
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