by Xinhua writer Wang Zichen
BRUSSELS, Feb. 17 (Xinhua) -- While Washington continues to spin certain Chinese tech companies as data thieves with no solid evidence, new leaks detailing how U.S. intelligence, via rigged Swiss products, secretly intercepted classified government communications for decades have unmasked the real thief.
According to the classified documents obtained by U.S. and German media, the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), along with former West German intelligence which later exited the partnership, fronted a Swiss firm in secret to sell encryption devices to more than 120 countries, and by rigging the machines, the spy agencies were able to easily break the codes that unwitting customers used to send encrypted messages.
For decades, and well into the 21st century, Rubicon, as the CIA operation became known, ran so wide and deep that The Washington Post said it "ranks among the most audacious in CIA history." At some times, even the Germans "were taken aback by the Americans' willingness to spy on all but their closest allies," The Washington Post revealed. In a ruthless way, Washington harvested money and secrets, at the expense of credibility and trust.
A nation sets up covert vulnerabilities or lets them loose in communications equipment it makes or controls, enabling espionage into clandestine and sensitive messages it covets. Does this sound familiar? It has been the main point Washington holds to shut out telecoms devices made by some Chinese tech companies from as many places around the world as possible.
The leak caught Washington's global lobby off guard. While persuading even its closest allies in Europe to shut out Chinese tech companies from their 5G networks, Washington has seen the ruin of its own making.
Insidious as Operation Rubicon was, its revelation was not that surprising. As The Washington Post noted, "its reach and duration help to explain how the United States developed an insatiable appetite for global surveillance that was exposed in 2013 by Edward Snowden."
Though it is unknown whether the U.S. government is running other eavesdropping programs, suspicion is rising.
The latest incident only makes Washington's smear campaign against Chinese tech companies like a thief crying "Stop thief."
Next time Washington considers lecturing others on eavesdropping and being a threat to national security, it had better evaluate its own records first.