China: Fed hacking claims 'irresponsible'

China: Fed hacking claims 'irresponsible'
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Chinese officials are bristling at accusations of involvement in the cyberattack this week that laid bare the personnel records of up to 4 million current and former federal employees.

U.S. officials suspect China-based hackers are behind the network intrusion at the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), which was revealed Thursday. It’s believed the mammoth theft will touch workers’ information at nearly every federal agency.


But a spokesman for the Chinese Embassy in Washington warned the U.S. against “jumping to conclusions” and making a “hypothetical accusation.”

It’s “not responsible and counterproductive,” said Zhu Haiquan, according to the official Chinese news outlet Xinhua. “Cyber attacks conducted across countries are hard to track and therefore the source of attacks is difficult to identify.”

Chinese officials doubled down during a regular news briefing Friday in Beijing.

“It's irresponsible and unscientific to make conjectural, trumped-up allegations without deep investigation,” said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei, The Associated Press reported.

China is considered a top-tier cyber power in the world, developing advanced hacking and digital espionage techniques over the last few years.

Over the past year, the Obama administration has grown more bold in publicly blaming Beijing for turning its cyber efforts on U.S. networks.

The Department of Justice last May indicted five members of the Chinese military for hacking the U.S.

More recently, the White House and Pentagon used updated national security and cybersecurity strategies to specifically call out Beijing for orchestrating a massive cyber espionage campaign against the U.S.

Official cybersecurity dialogue between the two countries has frozen as a result.