Describes Thousands of Hacked EU Diplomatic Cables
December 19, 2018
The New York Times reported late Tuesday that hackers, using methods
similar to ones long used by an elite unit in the Chinese military,
gained access to European Union diplomatic communications networks for
three years. The breach allowed the infiltrators to download thousands
of sensitive cables.
The report said the breach was discovered by cybersecurity company Area
1, which provided more than 1,100 of the cables to the newspaper.
According to the newspaper, the compromised material provides insight in
to Europe's concerns about "an unpredictable Trump Administration,"
including EU feelings that a negative attitude from Trump toward the
bloc "had created a lot of insecurity."
The material also highlights the regional bloc's struggle to "deal with
Russia and China and the risk that Iran would revive its nuclear
program," and includes memorandums of conversations with leaders in
Saudi Arabia, Israel and other countries shared across the European
The information the hackers accessed was classified, but at a low level
with cables labeled limited and restricted. The Times cited European
officials as saying more sensitive documents are kept in a separate
One cable from the EU's deputy head of mission in Washington recommended
other EU diplomats try to work directly with members of Congress,
instead of Trump, and to try to boost relations by describing the United
States as its "most important partner."
The Times said in another cable, European diplomats discussed Trump's
July summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki where the
U.S. leader went against the assessment of his intelligence agencies by
saying he did not see any reason why Russia would have interfered in the
2016 U.S. election that brought Trump to power.
cable described the summit as "successful (at least for Putin)" and
further included discussion of White House damage control efforts.
Another cable cited in the report dealt with a meeting between European
officials and Chinese President Xi Jinping and discussion about Trump
administration moves to escalate tariffs on Chinese goods as the two
countries engaged in a trade spat.
The cable said "U.S. demands were inconsistent, illogical, and
ultimately would hurt its own self interest." It also quoted Xi
asserting his country "would not submit to bullying" by the United
The Times said the operation included intrusions at more than 100
organizations in all, including the United Nations and a number of
foreign and finance ministries.