US President Obama and Chinese President Hu Jintao
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China arrests security official on suspicion of spying for US

Aide to Beijing deputy security minister implicated in what has been described as gravest espionage plot in two decades

Chinese state security official has been arrested on suspicion of spying for the United States, sources said, a case both countries have kept quiet for several months as they strive to prevent a fresh crisis in relations.


The official, an aide to a vice minister in China's security ministry, was arrested and detained early this year on allegations that he had passed information to the United States for several years on China's overseas espionage activities, saidd three sources, who all have direct knowledge of the matter.


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The aide had been recruited by the US Central Intelligence Agency and provided "political, economic and strategic intelligence," one source said, though it was unclear what level of information he had access to, or whether overseas Chinese spies were compromised by the intelligence he handed over.


The case could represent China's worst known breach of state intelligence in two decades and its revelation follows two other major public embarrassments for Chinese security, both involving US diplomatic missions at a tense time for bilateral ties.


The aide, detained sometime between January and March, worked in the office of a vice-minister in China's Ministry of State Security, the source said. The ministry is in charge of the nation's domestic and overseas intelligence operations.


He had been paid hundreds of thousands of US dollars and spoke English, the source added.


"The destruction has been massive," another source said.


The sources all spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of punishment if identified.


The sources did not reveal the name of the suspected spy or the vice minister he worked for. The vice minister has been suspended and is being questioned, one of the sources said.


China's Ministry of State Security rarely makes public the names of its officials and does not have a public web site.


The incident ranks as the most serious Sino-US spying incident to be made public since 1985 when Yu Qiangsheng, an intelligence official, defected to the United States. Yu told the Americans that a retired CIA analyst had been spying for China. The analyst killed himself in 1986 in a US prison cell, days before he was due to be sentenced to a lengthy jail term.



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פרסום ראשון: 06.01.12, 14:43
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