Botched CIA Communications System Helped Blow Cover of Chinese Agents

S Aufrecht

It was considered one of the CIA’s worst failures in decades: Over a two-year period starting in late 2010, Chinese authorities systematically dismantled the agency’s network of agents across the country, executing dozens of suspected U.S. spies. …

When CIA officers begin working with a new source, they often use an interim covert communications system—in case the person turns out to be a double agent. …

This interim, or “throwaway,” system, an encrypted digital program, allows for remote communication between an intelligence officer and a source, but it is also separated from the main communications system used with vetted sources, reducing the risk if an asset goes bad. …

In the words of one of the former officials, the CIA had “fucked up the firewall” …

—Zach Dorfman, Foreign Policy1


  1. Dorfman, Zach. (2018-Aug-15) Botched CIA Communications System Helped Blow Cover of Chinese Agents. Foreign Policy. Retrieved from https://foreignpolicy.com/2018/08/15/botched-cia-communications-system-helped-blow-cover-chinese-agents-intelligence/