China on Monday defended its right to investigate actions threatening national security but declined to comment on a report that authorities killed or jailed up to 20 CIA sources.
The New York Times reported on Sunday that Beijing had systematically dismantled CIA spying operations in China beginning in late 2010, in one of the worst US intelligence breaches in decades.
At least a dozen Central Intelligence Agency sources were killed between late 2010 and the end of 2012, including one who was shot in front of colleagues in a clear warning to anyone else who might be spying, the Times reported, citing 10 current and former US officials.
In all, 18 to 20 CIA sources in China were either killed or imprisoned, according to two former senior American officials quoted.
The paper called it a grave setback to a network that, up to then, had been working at its highest level for years.
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