Zach Dorfman
Zach Dorfman
National Security Correspondent, @yahoonews. Former Senior Staff Writer, @aspencyber.Source
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'Shattered': Inside the secret battle to save America's undercover spies in the digital age

'Shattered': Inside the secret battle to save America's undercover spies in the digital age

When hackers began slipping into computer systems at the Office of Personnel Management in the spring of 2014, no one inside that federal agency could have predicted the potential scale and magnitude of the damage. Over the next six months, those hackers — later identified as working for the Chinese government — stole data on nearly 22 million former and current American civil servants, including intelligence officials.The data breach, which included fingerprints, personnel records and security clearance background information, shook the intelligence community to its core. Among the hacked...

January 3, 2020
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Kidnapping, assassination and a London shoot-out: Inside the CIA's secret war plans against WikiLeaks

Kidnapping, assassination and a London shoot-out: Inside the CIA's secret war plans against WikiLeaks

In 2017, as Julian Assange began his fifth year holed up in Ecuador’s embassy in London, the CIA plotted to kidnap the WikiLeaks founder, spurring heated debate among Trump administration officials over the legality and practicality of such an operation. Some senior officials inside the CIA and the Trump administration even discussed killing Assange, going so far as to request “sketches” or “options” for how to assassinate him. Discussions over kidnapping or killing Assange occurred “at the highest levels” of the Trump administration, said a former senior counterintelligence official....

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Sep 28
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The Secret History of the Russian Consulate in San Francisco

The Secret History of the Russian Consulate in San Francisco

Overflights, mapping fiber-optic networks, “strange activities.” Moscow’s West Coast spies were busy.The first thing you need to understand about the building that, until very recently, housed the Russian Consulate in San Francisco — a city where topography is destiny, where wealth and power concentrate, quite literally, at the top — is its sense of elevation. Brick-fronted, sentinel-like, and six stories high, it sits on a hill in Pacific Heights, within one of the city’s toniest zip codes. This is a neighborhood that radiates a type of wealth, power, and prestige that long predates the...

December 14, 2017
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Tech Giants Are Giving China a Vital Edge in Espionage

Tech Giants Are Giving China a Vital Edge in Espionage

In 2017, as U.S. President Donald Trump began his trade war with China, another battle raged behind the scenes. The simmering, decadelong conflict over data between Chinese and U.S. intelligence agencies was heating up, driven both by the ambitions of an increasingly confident Beijing and by the conviction of key players in the new administration in Washington that China was presenting an economic, political, and national security challenge on a scale the United States had not faced for decades—if ever.This series, based on interviews with over three dozen current and former U.S....

Dec 23
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China Used Stolen Data to Expose CIA Operatives in Africa and Europe

China Used Stolen Data to Expose CIA Operatives in Africa and Europe

Around 2013, U.S. intelligence began noticing an alarming pattern: Undercover CIA personnel, flying into countries in Africa and Europe for sensitive work, were being rapidly and successfully identified by Chinese intelligence, according to three former U.S. officials. The surveillance by Chinese operatives began in some cases as soon as the CIA officers had cleared passport control. Sometimes, the surveillance was so overt that U.S. intelligence officials speculated that the Chinese wanted the U.S. side to know they had identified the CIA operatives, disrupting their missions; other times,...

Dec 21
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