Hackers broke into the European Union’s diplomatic communications networks for years, and dumped hundreds of messages online that reveal their concerns about the Trump administration, Russia, China and Iran.
The Area 1 cybersecurity collective discovered the breach, which took place over three years and used techniques long used by China’s People’s Liberation Army, and the stolen cables were copied from a secure network and posted to an open internet site, reported the New York Times.
More than 1,100 of the cables were turned over to the Times by Area 1 for examination.
The newspaper found cables that summarized conversations with leaders in Saudi Arabia, Israel and other countries that were shared with diplomats across the European Union.
In one of those messages, European diplomats described a private meeting in Helsinki between U.S. President Donald Trump and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, as “successful (at least for Putin).”
The two leaders gave a joint news conference after their meeting, where they showered one another with praise, and Trump publicly displayed more trust in Putin than U.S. intelligence agencies.
Another cable, written after a July 16 meeting, provided detailed analysis of discussions between European officials and the Chinese president, Xi Jinping, who complained about Trump’s “bullying” — which he compared to a “no-rules freestyle boxing match.”
A March 3 message shows the deputy head of the EU mission in Washington recommending that the organization’s diplomats refer to the U.S. as its “most important partner” while continuing to challenge the Trump administration “in areas where we disagreed with the US (eg, on climate, trade, Iran nuclear deal).”
The hackers also infiltrated networks for the United Nations, the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO), as well as worldwide ministries of foreign affairs and finance.