For those who've been wondering why such a big deal has been made about Hillary Clinton's private email server, this could add some context. A senior US intelligence official, as well as a "top-secret" NSA document from 2014, indicates that China has been reading the private emails of "many" top US administration officials for more than five years—and that this high-level snooping is still going on, NBC News reports. The senior official tells NBC that government email accounts weren't among those infiltrated, but the NSA briefing shows that private emails sent through Gmail and other providers were hacked, with targets including "all top national security and trade officials," per the official.
The email surveillance—first given the code name "Dancing Panda," then "Legion Amethyst"—was first discovered in April 2010, the briefing notes, though neither the anonymous official nor the NSA document provide the names or ranks of those whose emails were taken. And Dancing Panda/Legion Amethyst wasn't the only hacking operation going on during this time: The NSA briefing says that scheme was just one of more than 30 "intrusion sets" set off by China and IDed by the NSA and other agencies last year, a wide-scale initiative that ended up causing more than 600 successful hack attacks, NBC notes. There's been no comment yet from the NSA. (The American public doesn't seem too upset about these Chinese hacking reports.)