China killed or jailed up to 20 CIA sources from 2010 to 2012
NEW YORK China killed or imprisoned 18 to 20 Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) sources from 2010 to 2012, The New York Times (NYT) reported.
Investigators are divided over whether there was a spy who betrayed the sources or whether the Chinese hacked the CIA's communications system, the newspaper reported, citing current and former US officials.
The Chinese killed at least a dozen people providing information to the CIA from 2010 through 2012, dismantling a network that was years in the making, said the report.
One was shot dead in front of a government building in China, three officials told NYT, saying that it was a message about working with Washington.
The breach was considered particularly damaging, with the number of assets lost rivalling those in the Soviet Union and Russia who died after the betrayals of spies Aldrich Ames and Robert Hanssen.
The Chinese activities began to emerge in 2010, when the CIA had been getting information about the Chinese government from sources deep inside the bureaucracy, including Chinese upset by the Beijing government's corruption, four former officials told the NYT.
The information began to dry up by the end of the year and the sources began disappearing in early 2011, the report said. - REUTERS