The FBI’s Counterintelligence National Strategy: The Fight Against Espionage

It may appear as nothing more than the makings of a good spy movie, but espionage remains a real threat to our nation’s security.

The threat of espionage—which may include everything from traditional spies passing U.S. secrets to foreign governments to scientists stealing trade secrets through American universities and businesses —is a problem that the FBI has chosen to keep front and center in its quest to protect America’s secrets and prevent others from capturing our ingenuity and using it against us.

For example, just a couple years ago, the FBI was engaged in a multi-national operation that led to the indictment of Singapore citizens for illegally exporting radio frequency modules out of the U.S. Although it may, at first, seem like a fairly benign case of theft, it was revealed that some of the modules were found in improvised explosive devices in Iraq.

It is this case, as well as countless others, that spurred the development of the FBI’s Counterintelligence National Strategy, which is focused on the most serious current and emerging threats affecting our nation.

Although the overall strategies of the Counterintelligence National Strategy are classified, its goals are clear:

  • To keep weapons of mass destruction and related technology close at hand and out of the hands of criminals
  • To protect the secrets of the U.S. intelligence community through collaboration with government partners and through comprehensive investigative efforts
  • To protect the critical assets of the United States, such as technologies and information related to defense, economic, public health, financial, intelligence, science, and technology by minimizing vulnerabilities and identifying the source of threats
  • To prevent the activities of foreign spies through proactive investigations and the identification of perpetrators
  • To detect and deter cyber intelligence threats to both private-sector and government computer systems

The FBI’s Counterintelligence National Strategy is also focused on developing and maintaining strategic partnerships by:

  • Sharing expertise and resources and collaborating with other government agencies and the U.S. intelligence community
  • Encouraging a community atmosphere among federal agencies and the U.S. intelligence community as to prevent threats within the intelligence community
  • Partnering with businesses and institutions of higher learning as to strengthen collaborations and awareness of counterintelligence


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