WASHINGTON Dec 5 Foreign hackers targeted the
computers of Mike Mullen, ex-chairman of the Joint Chiefs of
Staff, the Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday, calling it
the latest in a pattern of attacks on computers of former
high-ranking U.S. officials.
The FBI is pursuing the hackers, the Journal reported. The
agency was not immediately available for comment.
Mullen's office confirmed that the retired admiral was
cooperating with a cyber investigation.
"Admiral Mullen, now a private citizen, has responded to
very specific requests and is cooperating with an ongoing cyber
investigation he has been informed is focused overseas," it said
in a statement.
The hackers targeted personal computers Mullen used while
working on the grounds of the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis,
Maryland, after his retirement in 2011, the report said, citing
officials and others familiar with the probe.
One official said the evidence pointed to China as the
origin of the hacking and that it appeared the hackers were able
to access a personal email account.
A spokesman for the Chinese Embassy in Washington told the
Journal he was not aware of the investigation and that his
government prohibits cyber attacks.
China is often cited as a suspect in various hacking attacks
in the United States and other nations. Beijing dismisses
allegations it is involved.
The Journal report said current and former U.S. cyber
security officials say the Mullen case is the most recent
example of a series of undisclosed hacker attacks on the
computer files of former senior U.S. officials.
Hackers view their computers as an easier way to get access
to sensitive information, said these people, who declined to
name the targeted former officials.
(Reporting By Patricia Zengerle, additional reporting by
Phillip Stewart; Editing by Xavier Briand)