Don't miss




Turkish troops to go further into Syria, says foreign minister

Read more


Court ruling expected on Gabon's contested election results

Read more


Clinton's Comedy Turn

Read more


Sarkozy's Populist Pivot, Bahamas Leaks, Syria Truce, Rome Olympic Bid (Part 2)

Read more


US Police Shootings: Race relations and the race to the White House (Part 1)

Read more

#TECH 24

Breaking the wall between technology and people

Read more


Rural France: Challenges and opportunities

Read more


Video: In Burma, ex-political prisoners struggle to return to normal life

Read more


Xavier Dolan: Wunderkind of Québecquois cinema

Read more


Cyber-surveillance leaks ‘could hurt US-China ties’

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2013-06-13

An analyst cited by Chinese state media has said the leaked US surveillance programme PRISM will likely test the already rocky relationship between Washington and Beijing amid revelations that the US has hacked into computers in China since 2009.

Shaky US-China relations could face further challenges in the wake of the whistleblowing scandal over the massive electronic surveillance programme PRISM by the US National Security Agency (NSA), Chinese state media said on Thursday.

Edward Snowden, a former spy-agency contractor who has caused a furore by exposing the top-secret programme to gather and analyse Internet and phone data, told Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post on Wednesday that there had been more than 61,000 NSA hacking operations globally.

Snowden also told the daily that the NSA has hacked computers in China and Hong Kong since 2009.

The leaks were meant to demonstrate "the hypocrisy of the US government when it claims that it does not target civilian infrastructure, unlike its adversaries," Snowden added.

Reacting to those revelations, Li Haidong, an analyst quoted in the state-run China Daily said the programme “is certain to stain Washington's overseas image and test developing Sino-US ties.”

Washington has repeatedly accused Beijing of cyber-spying, but President Barack Obama and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping adopted a conciliatory tone at a two-day summit in California last week.

“How the case is handled could pose a challenge to the burgeoning goodwill between Beijing and Washington given that Snowden is in Chinese territory and the Sino-US relationship is constantly soured on cybersecurity,” Haidong added.

Adding to the diplomatic complications, the rogue contractor Snowden has flown to the semi-autonomous Chinese city of Hong Kong and vowed to resist attempts to extradite him to the US.

On Thursday China said it had "no information to offer" on Snowden.

Parliamentary grilling scheduled

Meanwhile, National Security Agency chief General Keith Alexander, who is in charge of the leaked programme, defended the intelligence tactic on Wednesday, insisting it had helped thwart dozens of terror attacks.

Facing sceptical questions from lawmakers Alexander insisted the programme operates under proper legislative and judicial oversight.

"It's classified but it's dozens of terrorist events that these have helped prevent," he told the hearing, the first time he had been questioned in public since Snowden went public last week.

"I want the American people to know that we're being transparent in here," he insisted, warning that "the trust of the American people" was a "sacred requirement" if his agency was to be able to do its job.

Asked if the light shone on the programmes could help terrorists avoid surveillance, Alexander said: "They will get through, and Americans will die."

A new confidential briefing for the US Senate is set for Thursday to discuss details of the NSA surveillance. 

(FRANCE 24 with wires)

Date created : 2013-06-13

  • USA

    Whistleblower Snowden vows more revelations

    Read more

  • USA

    Ex-CIA whistleblower ‘missing’ as leak rocks US

    Read more


    France's Le Pen demands political asylum for Snowden

    Read more