The White House announced on Saturday that they are planning to retaliate against China for recent data breach of the Office of Personnel Management affecting more than 20 million Americans. The Obama administration is still debating the specific response and is not expected to be decided for weeks to come as officials formulate a plan that won’t provoke a counter attack. This decision is a change for the White House who previously suggested it might not even publicly name China as the suspect in the attacks. The administration had only quietly pointed the finger at China.
The Department of Justice in May of last year indicted five members of the Chinese military for hacking the United States but those charges were commercial not government related hacking. President Obama has faced increase pressure to respond to the attacks, which are the largest digital theft of government information. The administration reportedly explored economic sanctions, similar to those levied on North Korea after the East Asian regime was blamed for the massive cyberattack on Sony Pictures Entertainment. Attempting criminal prosecution opens up a risk of the case could expose American intelligence operations within China – including the placement of thousands of implants in Chinese computer networks to warn of impending attacks.
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