Despite recent accusations, China is not responsible for the decision to temporarily suspend the processing of US visas all over the world, according to the Bureau of Consular Affairs (BCA) in the Department of State. The comments were made in response to growing public concern about visa interviews being temporarily closed and rescheduled at all international offices. The Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, last week indicated that China was the main suspect in a large theft of sensitive government records from the United States, which some reports are now claiming was even more extensive than previously believed. At least 18 million people have had their personal details stolen after the Office of Personnel Management’s systems were broken into by hackers.
The breach of the US government’s sensitive files came following the call for US Ambassador Jane Hartley to respond to claims that the US had been spying on France by the French government. President Obama’s response was “Not anymore”, a virtual admission that the WikiLeaks report that the US government had spied on previous French presidents prior to Francois Hollande had indeed been the case. Despite the rumor, the Bureau of Consular Affairs is certain that China had nothing to do with the incident. Over 500,000 applications for US visas are received worldwide every day and are affected by the hold. The BCA has apologized for any inconvenience caused by the delay and says that full operability will be restored as soon as possible.