US lawmaker hacked by Chinese points to his criticism of CCP, support for Taiwan
Chinese hackers gained access to the email accounts of Rep. Don Bacon, R-Neb., and senior officials at the Departments of State and Commerce from May 15 to June 16. Rep. Bacon told SAN that the FBI Cyber Division informed him hackers obtained all incoming and outgoing emails by exploiting a weakness in Microsoft’s system.
“Because I explicitly asked, did I push on something that I shouldn’t have pushed, or did I not have my system, you know, defended well enough, or did I do something that wasn’t right? And he goes ‘No, it had nothing to do with you. It was a vulnerability in the system’,” Bacon said.
In an exclusive interview with SAN’s Ryan Robertson, he explained why he thinks he was targeted out of 535 members of Congress.
“Well, I’ve been very vocal about Communist China, the government. I love the Chinese people, and I love the Chinese Americans. But the communist government, you know, they’re threatening Taiwan, they are committing crimes against humanity against the Uyghurs, a million people in slave labor,” Bacon said as he listed human rights violations committed at the behest of the CCP.
Bacon said the US should stand with Taiwan in the face of Chinese aggression. The retired Air Force General is calling on defense companies and the government to fulfill $19 billion in military sales to the island nation that have been delayed due to supply chain issues and limited production capacity.
“I think the Chinese government sees me as an adversary. And they were probably trying to find embarrassing emails that maybe I sent or received or whatever they could find that they thought they could undermine me,” Bacon. “And thankfully, I’ve been married 40 years, loyal to my wife, crime free and I don’t think there’s anything there that could even come close to being embarrassing on my emails.”
While Bacon believes hackers wanted to embarrass him, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimando and US Ambassador to China Nicholas Burns were also hacked in a cyber-espionage attack. The Wall Street Journal reported that the unclassified messages could have given hackers insights into internal policy discussions and planning for visits by senior administration officials.