Christian Ditaputratama / CC BY-SA 2.0

U.S. officials report that foreign spy services, including those operated by China and Russia, are organizing hacked U.S. computer databases to target U.S. intelligence officers and agents.

The databases contain security clearance applications, airline records and medical insurance forms.

The Los Angeles Times reports:

At least one clandestine network of American engineers and scientists who provide technical assistance to U.S. undercover operatives and agents overseas has been compromised as a result, according to two U.S. officials.

The Obama administration has scrambled to boost cyberdefenses for federal agencies and crucial infrastructure as foreign-based attacks have penetrated government websites and email systems, social media accounts and, most important, vast data troves containing Social Security numbers, financial information, medical records and other personal data on millions of Americans.

Counterintelligence officials say their adversaries combine those immense data files and then employ sophisticated software to try to isolate disparate clues that can be used to identify and track — or worse, blackmail and recruit — U.S. intelligence operatives.

The Times reports that William Evanina, the top counterintelligence official for the U.S. intelligence community, said in an interview that digital analysts can determine “who is an intelligence officer, who travels where, when, who’s got financial difficulties, who’s got medical issues, [to] put together a common picture.”

Asked whether foreign governments had used this information against U.S. operatives, Evanina said: “Absolutely.”

Read more here.

— Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.

Wait, before you go…

If you're reading this, you probably already know that non-profit, independent journalism is under threat worldwide. Independent news sites are overshadowed by larger heavily funded mainstream media that inundate us with hype and noise that barely scratch the surface.  We believe that our readers deserve to know the full story. Truthdig writers bravely dig beneath the headlines to give you thought-provoking, investigative reporting and analysis that tells you what’s really happening and who’s rolling up their sleeves to do something about it.

Like you, we believe a well-informed public that doesn’t have blind faith in the status quo can help change the world. Your contribution of as little as $5 monthly or $35 annually will make you a groundbreaking member and lays the foundation of our work.

Support Truthdig