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Enemies Among Us
Foreign Economic Collection and Industrial Espionage
From a United States military purist perspective many could strongly state the case that the protection of military classified information is paramount. However even more individuals may argue that economic stability, prosperity, and progress should be our nations leaders number one concern.
That being said; in my opinion common sense would dictate that the husbanding of United States military and government secrets are of utmost importance to the National Security of our nation.
Therefore the goal of this post is to “bring to light” the Foreign Economic Collection and Industrial Espionage activities performed by both foreign state & non-state actors aimed at the United States of America. The attacks are a fusion of our military, government, academic, and private sector trade secrets being stolen by a wide variety of our enemies.
Moving forward the following information contained
in the Office of the National Counterintelligence Executive (ONCIX) Annual Report to Congress on Foreign Economic Collection and Industrial Espionage, FY 2008 is both enlightening and disturbing at the same time. Although the findings reflect back to 2008; I can only imagine that the impact of the activity is still felt. Please find brief excerpts of information from the very powerful (ONCIX) document:
(ONCIX) 2008 Key Findings:
“ The threat to the United States from foreign economic intelligence collection and industrial espionage has continued unabated since
the publication of the Annual Report to Congress on Foreign
Economic Collection and Industrial Espionage, 2007. Economic
espionage cases went up slightly and nearly every day brought
reports—in the press and in the classified world—of new cyber
attacks against US Government and business entities.
Additionally, the increasing use of new modes of communication
and social networking has provided uncharted opportunities for
transferring information and espionage for enterprising foreign
In my opinion Freedom to worship Almighty God anyway that one sees fit is the foundation of our society; this right along with Freedom of Speech is what makes America great! However the price of that freedom is being targeted by our adversaries. Lax immigration laws, an obsession for transparency in government, that is followed by a need for many members of our society to strive for a “political correctness” and acceptance to foreign influence that puts our American way of life in jeopardy.
Moving forward please find facts from the (ONCIX) 2008 document that revolve around collection operations run against the USA by two of America’s chief adversaries Iran & China:
Selected Arrests and Convictions for Economic Collection
and Industrial Espionage Cases in FY 2008
IRAN: 9 Arrests and Convictions for Economic Collection
and Industrial Espionage Cases which included:
• Engineering Software
• Telecommunications Equipment and Technology
• Electronics and IED Components
• Gas Valve Parts
• Nickel Alloyed Pipes
• Fighter Jet Components
• Chemical Purchasing Software
• Cryogenic Pumps
• Illegal Export of Three Key Master Software
CHINA: 7 Arrests and Convictions for Economic Collection
and Industrial Espionage Cases which included:
• Space Launch Technical Data
• Unmanned Aerial Vehicles
• Military Aircraft Components
• Thermal Imaging Cameras
• Amplifiers and Missile Target Acquisition Technology
• Controlled Amplifiers
• Military Source Code and Trade Secrets
I believe that the above facts speak to the strength of counterintelligence efforts within the United States intelligence community. My perception is that it would be overly simplistic to place blame on the IC as a whole; the “cards” are stacked against the United States IC as the masses in our nation become more tolerant and inviting to foreign entities.
Therefore the strength of counterintelligence experts is exposed in the aformentioned Iran & China cases as they sifted through a massive amount of information and mis-information in order to initiate the arrest of the foreign intelligence collection agents that were intent on stealing valuable information from our nation.
Again I reiterate that the easy way out is to provide a “scapegoat” in how did the Iran & China thefts occur in the first place; however please allow me to point out that without effective United States effective counterintelligence efforts those crimes against America would have never been discovered in the first place!
In closing as I attempt to address the two poignant questions; what are the US vulnerabilities? And where should the US concentrate its efforts currently?
My view of modern day vulnerabilities that the United States counterintelligence community must deal with is perception itself; prime example being the a segment of the United States leadership and society being drawn into a psychological warfare trap that would allow members of our society to find it acceptable to desecrate a small portion of land in New York City that should be dedicated to the memory of thousands of murdered Americans.
The United States counterintelligence community has the daunting task of protecting a nation that on the surface does not appear it needs protection; that was also our countries perspective on September 11, 2001. I thought the sight on the television of airplanes crashing into a building in New York City had to be trailer for an upcoming movie; sadly I was wrong.
The Office of the National Counterintelligence Executive (ONCIX) Annual Report to Congress on Foreign Economic Collection and Industrial Espionage, FYI 2008