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China has been reading White House officials' private emails

Jeffrey Meyer / Flickr

There's more bad news for federal employees, this time concerning privately held email accounts. According to a new report from NBC News, China has been actively targeting the personal email accounts of White House officials since April 2010, with the program continuing through at least 2014. It's unclear how many officials were successfully targeted and how senior those officials were, but according to senior intelligence officer, "many" top officials were successfully compromised.

Unlike similar efforts against the State Department or the Office of Personnel Management, this attack hasn't targeted official IT infrastructure, but focused on personally maintained accounts on Gmail or other services. Google spoke openly about the attack in 2011, but officials now say the attack spanned a number of different private providers and continued for years after the initial announcement, likely through to the present day. The attacks are particularly crucial in light of recent news that Hillary Clinton conducted State Department business through a private email account. Still, given the earlier compromise of the State Department's unclassified email system, it's not clear the private account exposed Clinton to any additional risk.