John Schindler has everything you ever wanted to know about the OPM hack, but were afraid to ask. The short version is that our espionage efforts around the world are “wrecked.”
Here’s a somewhat longer version:
How bad this is was explained by Joel Brenner, who from 2006 to 2009 served as the Intelligence Community’s top counterintelligence official. Describing the hack as “crown jewels material, a goldmine” for China, who Washington insiders believe is behind the theft, Brenner added: “This is not the end of American human intelligence, but it’s a significant blow.”
The only good news in all this is that several of our big spy services like CIA and NSA don’t rely on outside agencies for security clearances. They do their own background investigations, while ninety percent of the Federal government relies on OPM. But that’s cold comfort since the CIA uses other federal agencies as cover so often. Besides, given the enormous extent of this compromise, which gets worse with each new revelation, many are wondering how much information the Chinese don’t have at this point.
“I’m really glad to be out of the game,” explained a recently retired CIA senior operations officer. “There’s bad, there’s worse—and there’s this,” he said, referring to the OPM story. “CIA officers are not supposed to be anywhere in OPM files,” he rued, “but I’m glad I’m not posted overseas right now, hoping that’s true.”
This isn’t Pearl Harbor and it isn’t 9/11 — it’s worse.
After Pearl Harbor, we replaced our personnel and laid down new ships. After 9/11 we cleared the rubble and rebuilt. After both attacks we also mercilessly went after the bad guys.
But these personnel files are out there, never to return. And the hackers who did this, have no doubt, will get away with it scot-free.