It's indeed Tsinghua that I was obliquely referring to in this post last March, where I say:
From the top, China sets goals. It may decide that in the next 10 years it wants to become the leading supplier of turbine engines. It then figures out what it needs in order to accomplish that goal. It’ll need a supply of titanium from Russia. It’ll need to setup factories in Guangdong. It’ll need to greatly expand it’s training of turbine engineers coming from technical universities.
What if you are a Chinese aeronautics professor tasked with expanding the turbine engine program at your university? How do you teach your students the latest cutting edge technology? Well, you go read papers on the subject published in the United States. You then grab the author’s email addresses. You send them e-mails saying “I enjoyed your talk at Xyz Conference. I was wondering if you had any comments on this paper I’m writing”. You attach a PDF document with an exploit (written by a student in CompSci). The recipient downloads it, gets pwned, and has all their research stolen, including the latest stuff funded by Lockheed.
How can you independently verify my claims? I'm not sure. I've gotten this from casual private conversations for over a decade. That's the problem with this whole NSA thing: it's over-classified, so it's hard to distinguish rumor from fact. At least in several cases, I've interviewed people with first hand experience, so I know some of it it true. On the other hand, I don't have anything close to the entire picture.
My point is this: Tsinghua University hacks the United States. It's not unreasonable to expect for the United States to hack back.