For the past five years, Chinese cyber spies have been reading the private emails of an undisclosed but presumably large number of top Obama administration officials.

A report released Monday from NBC news sites an anonymous U.S. senior intelligence official and a secret document. Evidently, U.S. officials have been aware of the email security breech since April of 2010.

The email grab — first codenamed “Dancing Panda” by U.S. officials, and then “Legion Amethyst” — was detected in April 2010, according to a top secret NSA briefing from 2014. The intrusion into personal emails was still active at the time of the briefing and, according to the senior official, is still going on.

In 2011, Google disclosed that the private gmail accounts of some U.S. officials had been compromised, but the briefing shows that private email accounts from other providers were compromised as well.

The government email accounts assigned to the officials, however, were not hacked because they are more secure, says the senior U.S. intelligence official.

The senior official says the private emails of “all top national security and trade officials” were targeted.

The Chinese also harvested the email address books of targeted officials, according to the document, reconstructing and then “exploiting the(ir) social networks” by sending malware to their friends and colleagues.

As concerning as the hacking revelation is that Hillary Clinton served as Secretary of State until February 1, 2013.

The NBC report specifies, “government email accounts assigned to officials, however, were not hacked because they are more secure.” That Mrs. Clinton did not utilize a government email account, but used her own private email account along with a home brewed server raises even more questions about the security of embattled former Secretary’s email.

Last week, the Washington Post reported the FBI was investigating Hillary’s email practices.

The FBI has begun looking into the security of Hillary Rodham Clinton’s private e-mail setup, contacting in the past week a Denver-based technology firm that helped manage the unusual system, according to two government officials.

Also last week, the FBI contacted Clinton’s lawyer, David Ken­dall, with questions about the security of a thumb drive in his possession that contains copies of work e-mails Clinton sent during her time as secretary of state.

The FBI’s interest in Clinton’s e-mail system comes after the intelligence community’s inspector general referred the issue to the Justice Department in July. Intelligence officials expressed concern that some sensitive information was not in the government’s possession and could be “compromised.” The referral did not accuse Clinton of any wrongdoing, and the two officials said Tuesday that the FBI is not targeting her.

Officials from five different intelligence agencies are also reviewing Mrs. Clinton’s emails to address concerns that they, “were not being properly vetted for intelligence information,” reported Vice.

Mrs. Clinton is scheduled to testify before the House Select Committee on Benghazi October 22.

Follow Kemberlee Kaye on Twitter @kemberleekaye


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