Snowden docs: Chinese telecom giant targeted

The U.S. government targeted China’s government and a Chinese telecommunications giant in a major intelligence offensive, according to documents leaked by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden.

Snowden’s documents, reviewed by Der Spiegel and The New York Times, show the NSA snooped on former Chinese President Hu Jintao, the Chinese Trade Ministry, banks and telecommunications companies.

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Der Spiegel said a special effort was made to target Huawei, the world’s second-largest network equipment supplier.

As part of an operation named “Shotgiant,” an NSA unit infiltrated Huawei's network and copied a list of 1,400 customers as well as internal documents providing training to engineers on the use of Huwaei products, among other things, the German publication reports.

"We currently have good access and so much data that we don't know what to do with it," one internal document reads, according to Der Spiegel.

“Many of our targets communicate over Huawei-produced products,” an NSA document said, according to the Times. “We want to make sure that we know how to exploit these products,” it added, to “gain access to networks of interest” around the world.

Earlier this month, the NSA denied reports that it infected millions of computers around the world with malware by posing as Facebook and other sites.

In a statement, the spy agency said that it uses its technical tools “only to support lawful and appropriate foreign intelligence operations, all of which must be carried out in strict accordance with its authorities.”

“NSA does not use its technical capabilities to impersonate U.S. company websites,” the agency said. “Nor does NSA target any user of global Internet services without appropriate legal authority. Reports of indiscriminate computer exploitation operations are simply false.”

A website had reported that documents provided by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden showed the agency used “implants” to break into some computers and retrieve data from foreign networks, as part of a program codenamed Turbine.