back to article WikiLeaked US cables link China to Google hack

A Chinese contact told the American Embassy in Beijing that China's Politburo "directed" last December's hack on Google's internal systems, according to the confidential US diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks and various news organizations on Sunday. As reported by The New York Times, an unnamed source told the American …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Needs to end

    This is just grandstanding now, and something needs to be done about it... Wikileaks does not have the right to tear up the very fabric of diplomacy which has formed over thousands of years. It's profoundly irresponsible and borderline criminal. They're playing with fire and meddling in areas that they couldn't possibly understand.

    Wikileaks used to be a force for good, now it is simply a tool of ego which could bring about disastrous consequences, disrupted alliances, strife and the potential even for wars - all as a result of people who need to be able to speak freely no longer feeling they're able to.

    Assange needs to be removed from the picture, and if they need to take the servers offline by force, they should, IMO.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. LPF

        @JaitcH et al

        I suppose you wont mind if someday someone posts your entire email history on the internet with all you private conversations then ?

        I still trying to work out what curruption this is exposing? By supporting just the egenral release of all US information, thne you will have no problem if the US starts intercepting all your comunications and posting it all for the world to see.

        Whats sauce for the goose and all that ;)

        1. Paul Crawford Silver badge


          "you will have no problem if the US starts intercepting all your comunications"

          I guess you have not heard about the warrentless wiretaps the USA has been using on its own citizens then?

          Or indeed that it has done so on "foreign" citizens who, of course, do not get the protection (for what is left of it) that the US constitution is supposed to provide?

          While I can see that diplomacy needs a large degree of privacy to be conducted effectively, I must say the actions of the US in recent years, both militarily (e.g. the invasion of Iraq on doubtful grounds) and legally, such as the odious and ill-named PATRIOT act, and their actions in pushing a US-centric bullying approach to copyright (e.g. the ACTA negotiations being held in secret, even from our elected representatives) result in little sympathy from me when this happens.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        I would imagine they would kill jfk again if they could so I'm not sure it's a good argument.

      3. Anonymous Coward

        @Destructors: But why would they bother?

        These leaks are so lame, Assange will be posting Sesame Street scripts next.

        It suits the powers that be that we get excited about trivia.

    2. Danny 14

      of course

      but it is fine to deny all knowledge, shoot down people who disagree and sabre rattle those who would say otherwise when this proved they not only knew about it all along but helped? At least keep quiet (ala the Israelis) and say nothing about events whether involved or not. But keeping quiet isnt the merkin way is it?

      Although I did like the german leak that confirmed Merkal isnt a risk taker or has any personality, surely a shocker!

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Means to an end.

      "Areas they couldn't possibly understand", my arse.

      We're not dealing with the force or quantum mechanics here: It's just diplomacy - powerful but sweaty little men doing powerful but nasty little deals to protect their own powerful but vested little interests. The King of Saudi's a dictator in all but name, the elected governments of the US (and the UK too for that matter) have a nasty habit of saying one thing in public and doing another in private (something I'm not bloody well comfortable with thanks very much), and the Chinese leadership are so far up their own backsides it's a wonder they can see any daylight at all.

      This isn't grandstanding - WikiLeaks is doing what it was set up to do. Has it really taken you (almost) 4 years to realise?

      The "potential even for wars" you refer to, btw: Would that be the King of Saudi Arabia lobbying the US to invade Iran?

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @JFK people

      You're not seriously suggesting that the American government killed JFK are you?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @JFK people

        You're not seriously suggesting that the American government killed JFK are you?

        Of course they did! it's mentioned somewhere in the 251,287 cables, if you look hard enough.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @"JFK people" People

        You're not seriously suggesting that Oswald did it alone are you?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          @ @"JFK people" people

          Err, yes. Like the vast majority of conspiracy theories, anything other than the official line, in this case "lone nut", doesn't stand up to anything more than cursory examination.

  2. JaitcH

    Wikileaks underscores the fact You Cannot Trust Government, most ANY government

    The Wikileaks release is a great service to the public: it illustrates that the U.S. is a government that cannot be trusted - it has already passed legislation that bypasses the provisions of the U.S. Constitution, so why should anyone have faith in any agreement or document it's seal is appended to?

    This bastion of secrets is no better than a kitchen cullender - hell it's messages rated 'Secret' can be legally read by some 3-million people, ordinarily. Today the number is much greater!

    Just post the rest, Wikileaks, forget about the redacting.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    So, even best friends criticize each other in private,. Well, who'd a thunk it.

    There's no news here, other than that some Swede with an overblown ego is still trying to make himself feel important.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      No secrets all right.

      It's just the Americans shitting all over themselves like babies and behaving badly.

      But we knew that all along.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      He's Australian you moron.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        mea culpa

        You're right, he's an Australian with an overblown ego (which is an impressive feat for an Australian), and only a wannabe-swede. My apologies to the Swedes, who didn't want him. I should get my morning coffee before posting to ElReg

    3. blackworx

      @AC 09:03

      Swedish is he? Well there's a turnip for the books.

      There's a lesson here somewhere. Perhaps get at least a passing knowledge of the facts before forming an opinion and venting it like so much hot gas.

  4. Steve X

    A Chinese contact told the American Embassy...

    I met a man whose brother said he knew a man who knew the Chinese hacker.

    Solid proof there, alright.

  5. Anonymous Coward

    Where's the secrets?


    * Diplomats spy on each other!

    * Gadaffi has a blonde nurse!

    * Iran makes neighbouring countries nervous!

    * Member of Royal Family is rude while abroad!

    This really is pisspoor. I thought Wikileaks role is to publish secrets that speak truth to power, not "stuff we already know". Either give us something decent or give up the ego trip Julian.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I fear you fail to understand the point of the leaking

      We "know" diplomats do bad stuff, we "know" governments are made up of not nice people doing not nice stuff and we "know" they say one thing in public and then dozens of different things in private depending on who they are talking about and to whom.

      But in this context "know" means we very strongly suspect it but have a tiny amount of doubt that allows us to carry on with our lives without having to worry aboutthe really terrible things our elected representatives are doing in our name. Kind of like the scenario of having one rifle loaded with a blank cartridge in a firing squad - each member can convince themselves they didn't kill anyone if they wish.

      However, the publishing of the actual documents means we now know what goes on - no grey areas, no doubt, no happy convincing ourselves that the world is actually a nice place. I suppose it is the difference between being almost sure your wife is having an affair and actually catching her in bed shagging someone else.

      as for: "I thought Wikileaks role is to publish secrets that speak truth to power, not "stuff we already know. Either give us something decent or give up the ego trip Julian"

      I though teh point was for Wikileaks to publish the information and then let us deal with it - if the information is not to your taste then that is up to you - but the information is what it is. Personally I would be happiest if all we learned about our political masters is that they are petty and childish towards each other.

      1. Anonymous Coward


        "However, the publishing of the actual documents means we now know what goes on"

        No we flipping well don't, and that's the point. You're kidding yourself if you think we ever would from diplomatic cables.

    2. The Fuzzy Wotnot

      Peter Gabriel was right!

      Politicians are people too, they are petty, vain and childish, just like the rest of us can be sometimes. The difference is that we hardly have any effect on the world, these people are paid shedloads to act like children.

      All together now...."Games without frontiers, war without tears."

  6. Lottie

    But surely...

    .. just like when governments talk of reading everyone elses emails, If they have nothing to hide, they have nothing to fear!

  7. Anonymous Coward

    Delicious tears

    If you're doing things that are legally and morally dubious, you can't take the moral high ground when you finally get caught.

    Most of this stuff was common knowledge anyway, it's not like we hadn't all realised that the Saudi King was batshit insane..

  8. despicable me


    Didn't somebody say "If you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear" ?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I think you miss the point...

      I think you miss the point that this is diplomatic communication, by definition it's something to hide. Diplomats are required to be candid with their bosses back home in order that their thoughts and opinions are fully understood with no room for error. This often results in sending messages that will upset or offend others. Upset and offence is not illegal, or immoral, but can seriously harm relations with other countries.

      1. despicable me

        Re: I think you miss the point...

        WRONG! It the messages are secret, candid or confidential then you encrypt them - you don't just mark them as secret and dump them on a network that about three million people have legitimate access to.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Try to understand what has happened...

          Encryption is useless if the endpoint is where the data is being leaked from.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    He aint no Swede!

    He aint no Swede!

    He was even denied asylum in Sweden.

    (He was born roughly as far from Sweden as is physically possible, in Queensland, Australia.)

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    "...assistance in promoting democracy and open government."

    Yeah, right. Where "democracy" means "a government acceptable to the US", irrespective of the citizens' real wishes. And "open" means "we want to know everything you say and do, even though the obverse does not hold".

    When will the Americans ever learn that what's good for America is NOT necessarily good for the rest of the world? In fact - it is usually to the detriment of the rest of the world.

    America must stop acting like a bully who intimidates everybody else to do what America wants and learn how to be a responsible government that respects the rights of other governments/countries to rule themselves.

    The fact that a country may be abhorrent to the US still does not give them the inalienable right to march in there with force and (try) to institute a government that is US-friendly. In any case, as everyone except the US know, all those efforts have ended in misery and colossal use of face for the good ole US (Vietnam, Iran, Afghanistan, Iraq, Iraq (the second time round under Junior), Afghanistan again, Sudan, etc, etc.).

    That is what diplomacy is for.

  11. Anonymous Coward

    Sowing the wind

    After Wikileaks had that video of the US helicopter gunning down unarmed civillians the Amerikans have been after them...

    This latest leak might not be as much "pulic interest" as the murder video, but this is payback for the aggro.

    I don't suppose it will stop here.

    I'm waiting to see what the story is on Prince Andrew... should be funny, haven't seen him stick his foot in it for a while :-)

  12. alain williams Silver badge

    ''open government''

    Quote: ''The White House. "To be clear — such disclosures put at risk our diplomats, intelligence professionals, and people around the world who come to the United States for assistance in promoting democracy and open government."''

    So open that when someone exposes their lies - they complain.

    The last time that this happened, they claimed that many lives were going to be put at risk, and what happened ? What about the many thousands of people killed by the illegal activities of this government ?

    If you aren't going to be proud of something that you are about to do: don't do it.

    1. Chris 3
      Black Helicopters


      "So open that when someone exposes their lies - they complain."

      I'm not quite clear which lies you think were exposed. The U.S government gets brutally frank appraisals from its diplomatic staff. I don't find that surprising. There is stuff in the brutal appraisals that they would like to keep secret. That's not surprising either.

      To be honest, I find most of the stuff in the leaks refreshingly forthright, but there's nothing very shocking in there that I've seen and the fact that the U.S wants to keep diplomatic communications under its hat isn't shocking either.

    2. Anonymous Coward

      @alain - thanks

      you saved me having to put my thoughts into words

  13. brale

    Troving the cables

    Just because a piece of information is found in the cables does not really mean that the information is really correct. In this case it's the 'an informant said' situation. Informants get paid when they say things.

  14. Anonymous Coward

    for all it worth..

    .. there is a difference between leaking the emails of a normal person, and leaking the communication of an elected official. There is a lot of private stuff in the first, there isn't anything private in the latter.

    any way, we are talking about the self proclaimed democracy who treats everyone in a fare manner. So their really shouldn't be anything to worry about in those documents. Those document are suppose to be archived after all!

  15. Anonymous Coward


    So, the next leak would be chinese diplomatic cables and it will be all clear then, I hope?

    Or is it just not going to happen cause chinese have designed their system better?

    1. Anonymous Coward


      It won't happen because if he posts Chinese info, somebody will come along and make him dead. (small loss) The reason they leak this info is because they can, and the chance for personal harm is low.

      I'll respect Assange when he leaks the same kind of info from Chinese, Iranian, Russian sources. Until then, I have the opinion that he's a garden variety pussy out there grandstanding for the publicity.

      He's already proved he can dish it out but not take it with his rape allegations.

  16. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Big Brother

    "The New York Times said it did not obtain the cables from WikiLeaks"

    Unapologetic War Enabler and all-around character assassination conduit of the Imperial Capital not a darling of the leakers?

    Colour me surprised.

  17. Allan George Dyer


    So the White House is claiming that revealing secret government information puts "open government" at risk?

  18. M.A

    well done wikileaks

    all gov should be there for people to see YES ALL maybe that way we wont al be shafted by our respected representative so often. GO GET EM GUYS.

  19. Danny 2

    wiki whacky

    It was hilarious to see Adam Bolton interviewing Jimmy Wales yesterday, he obviously booked the wrong man. .Most of the questions were about Wikileaks and Assange, including why Wikipedia didn't sue Wikileaks for using the word wiki.

    As for state cybercrime, I bet it's not the Chinese government who is blocking just now.

  20. PaulVD

    Calm down, folks

    I'm less astonished at the vitriol than at the ignorance of so many comments posted here. What has come out so far is routine embassy traffic; ambassadors and spooks reporting back to Washington what they have been told, what they guess, and what might be useful. Every country does this: the diplomatic traffic for the British or Chinese or Australian embassies back to their Governments would look much the same. So far I have seen no information about nefarious US plots, and very little information that was not already clear to anyone who reads the newspapers. (Surely we all knew that Sunni Arab countries are far more frightened of Shia Iran than of Israel, what ever they say in public. You didn't know that? - do try to keep up.)

    The shocking thing, and the IT aspect, is that this torrent of unevaluated and mostly confidential stuff was freely available to millions of people who had no need to see it and no way of making use of it. After 9/11 the US security agencies were told they had to share information more. I don't think this was quite what was intended - but, as usual, with a badly-thought-out requirements definition you get an unbelievably useless system. Nobody was willing to sit down and develop a proper data architecture with sensible security controls, because they would have been blamed if a later attack might have been prevented with more information sharing. So the safe bureaucratic position was to share almost everything. Nobody will be blamed for this, even though sharing with Julian Assange would not have been part of any sensible specification.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The government is known...

    ...for not reading every memo that they get, or linking one piece of information with another.

    Maybe someone could end up seeing something noone else noticed and stop the next 9/11

  22. A J Stiles

    What WikiLeaks do is important

    What Wikileaks do is important.

    Our elected officials -- and the officials we voted against but got limbered with anyway -- work for us; and as the people who pay their wages, we have a right to know *everything* they do while on the clock.

    If they need a reminder every now and again, so be it.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Diplomats aren't elected...

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

  23. Chris Young
    Black Helicopters


    I'm with those that think Wikileaks have crossed a line over recent months, and especially now. From all the 'downvoting' this clearly isn't a popular position, but I suspect there are a lot of Daily Mail readers in here today.

    While we may not like everything our governments do, at least in this part of the World we have the opportunity to say so, publicly. That is democracy, and we should all be thankful for it.

    What Wikileaks is doing nowadays is not helping this process at all, it's merely self-serving publicity for a site that used to do good work, but is now short of cash.

    If I was Assange, I'd be avoiding dark alleyways, and rightly so. He is playing dangerous games with the very same democratic process that he will no doubt hope will protect him from harm.


    1. The Fuzzy Wotnot


      However, how do we complain to the government about their behaviour if we do not know what the hell they are up to? If they had their way we would be forced fed a diet of lies. You only have to take a look at wonderful places like Turkmenistan to see what that would be like.

      We have a right to find out that the people we are paying to their job, are actually doing it to the best of their ability. I work hard in my job but my paymasters still expect me to report to them to show them that I am worth the money I get paid.

    2. Graham Marsden

      @Chris Young

      So anyone who disagrees with you is a Daily Mail reader, eh? Yeah, sure.

      I think you rather miss the point, though, you say "While we may not like everything our governments do, at least in this part of the World we have the opportunity to say so, publicly." but this is not enough, because they are doing it *IN OUR NAMES* and we should know what they are doing "for" us and be able to hold them to account instead of having it brushed under the carpet with a "Secret" tag on it.

      And for you to suggest that Assange should "avoid dark alleyways" just reinforces this: You seem to think that it is OK for our "democratic" Governments to harm those who call them to account and show what they are up to. But I suppose that's ok, because it's for our own good, isn't it??

    3. Anonymous Coward

      re: the very same democratic process

      That's what it's there for. Or are you concerned that 'the powers that be' will ignore their own laws.

  24. DavCrav

    This achieves only bad things

    There are two possible outcomes of this (or more likely some combination of the two):

    1) US diplomats abroad will not make truthful assessments, and have to use PC language (PC stands for "piece of crap" normally, not "politically correct"), so that the US government doesn't get correct appraisals, and makes bad decisions based on them. So well done.

    2) Diplomats won't write anything down, and either have meetings or use the phone. Hence we will have no paper trail to follow in 25 years' time when this stuff is normally released, and we lose all accountability, both now and in the future. So well done.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    the most interesting things

    The most interesting things are the ease at which low level people could get their hands on such information, which should make governments and security agencies think long and hard about their desires to silo all our data. As well as the falecy that if you provide ever more data to an ever wider group of people you increase the chances of preventing terrorist acts.

    The other interesting thing is the way Western governments react to deal with data that might embarass/destaibalize their regimes in comparison to governments that they criticise for their handling of data.

  26. Gnomalarta

    Freedom In Action

    I could say something about organising a piss up in a brewery but at least now we can see what we always thought! They may have bottle but they sure can't make beer.

  27. The Fuzzy Wotnot

    A good thing

    The rest of us free thinkers know the world's governments are dirty, lying ratbags, this brings it into the public arena and hopefully will make a few more Joe Publics think about how much lying goes on behind closed doors.

    You can't beat finding out about tittle-tattle like Gaddaffi's blonde strumpet on the same page as what the UAE wants blown-up in Iran!

    1. Anonymous Coward

      You must think we're stupid...

      if we didn't already know that governments lie.

      Damp squib.

  28. DanBroughton

    What about Bradley Manning?

    He's looking at a long stay in prison for helping people see what are governments are really like.

    Now where's my "Free Bradley Manning" T-shirt!

  29. Anonymous Coward

    Wikileaks, our own Mr. Universe

    You can't stop the signal.

    It's the brown one.

  30. Anonymous Coward

    WWIII imminent?

    Hmm, now all they need to release is proof that North Korea has been selling nuclear materials to Iran, China knew about it and ignored, and they now have a working nuclear device, and its WWIII time.

    AC, because there won't be any after a NK first strike...

    btw El Reg where is the mushroom cloud symbol?

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Bad security and rather banal information

    About the only thing that is really interesting here is how vociferous various Arab governments are about opposing Iran. We already knew that several gulf states were exploring nuclear technology, with an eye on being able to counter any Iranian bomb, but its interesting to see what these governments are saying privately. But the rest of this "newsworthy" info is stuff that has already been out in the public.

    Then you have all the tabloid-quality stuff, about how Merkel isn't charismatic, Khaddafi has a blonde babe he never travels without, a certain (and I guess unnamed) British MP is a bit of a skirt-chaser, and so forth. It's amusing, but its not

    If anything, Wikileaks (supposedly interested in stopping wars/covert ops and human rights abuses) seems intent on giving the U.S. or Israel cover to start bombing Iran. Having publicized how many Arab governments (powerful government figures in Bahrain, UAE, Saudis, Jordan, Egypt all mentioned in the cables) want to see Iran stopped by violent means, its going to be hard not to say that there is not a broad-based coalition that at least secretly supports taking out the Iranian nuclear program by force. The only thing that would make it better is if future releases show the same dynamic in Europe, with major governements secretly assuring or even pressuring the Americans to bom

    And then we have the crappy security system that allows one PFC in Baghdad to download hundreds of thousands of documents? I don't mind the widespread access bigt, Doesn't the system track what people download, and doesn't management look at why a low-level intel officer would be downloading all this stuff? He can't possibly be analyzing it all.

  32. Anonymous Coward


    "... promoting democracy and open government."

    Wow, my irony meter just went right off the scale there.

  33. Anonymous Coward

    I'm surprised...

    ...that it's taken nearly 20 years for something like this to happen. It makes you wonder if why didn't this cross anyone's mind when the internet was a military message shunter. After years of plugging the public version, now that some stuff has leaked from a "secure" source, I wonder if they'll "learn lessons"?

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