China’s official news agency has slammed the United States as the world's “biggest villain” following new revelations about Washington’s cyber espionage against Chinese companies and institutions.
“These, along with previous allegations, are clearly troubling signs. They demonstrate that the United States, which has long been trying to play innocent as a victim of cyber attacks, has turned out to be the biggest villain in our age,” said a commentary published in the Xinhua news agency on Sunday.
In his latest revelation published by the South China Morning Post
on Saturday, former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden said US spying agencies have been hacking Chinese phone companies in order to access millions of private text messages in China.
According to the report, the NSA has also hacked China's top Tsinghua University and Pacnet headquarters in Hong Kong, which operates one of the Asia-Pacific region's largest fiber-optic networks, by using an electronic surveillance government program known as PRISM.
“But for other countries, Washington should come clean about its record first”" the Xinhua commentary added.
“It (Washington) owes too an explanation to China and other countries it has allegedly spied on. It has to share with the world the range, extent and intent of its clandestine hacking programs.”
US federal prosecutors have filed charges of “theft of government property, unauthorized communication of national defense information and willful communication of classified communications intelligence information to an unauthorized person” against Snowden.
The charges against Snowden, who is reportedly seeking asylum in Hong Kong, were based on his extraction of classified documents from servers of the NSA, which led to revelations about the agency’s spying programs.
The documents, disclosed to the Guardian
and Washington Post
revealed two major NSA spying programs, one for gathering US phone records and another one, called PRISM, for tracking the use of US-based web servers by Americans and other nationals.
The leaks also exposed “Boundless Informant,” a powerful tool developed by the NSA, which enables it to record and categorize intelligence it secretly collects from countries around the world.