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If a story smells fishy, it probably is fishy!

Counterintelligence Indicators

Counterintelligence indicators are signs that an individual may already be involved in espionage or other improper use of classified information. The record of past espionage cases shows that co-workers and supervisors often overlooked or failed to report counterintelligence indicators which, had they been reported, would have permitted earlier detection of the spy.

Some of the following indicators are clear evidence of improper behavior. Others may well have an innocent explanation but are sufficiently noteworthy that your security office should be informed. If you become aware that any of the following indicators apply to one of your co-workers, you are expected to report this information directly to your security office or a counterintelligence office, or by calling any one of the Hotline Numbers that various organizations have set up for this purpose.

The security office will evaluate the information in the context of all other information known about the individual. Depending upon the circumstances, action may range from simply making a note in the individual's security file to conducting a discrete investigation. You may request that your identity be protected.

If your reporting helps stop a case of espionage, you may be eligible for a reward of up to $500,000. The reward is authorized by an amendment to Title 18, U.S.C., Section 3071, which authorizes the Attorney General to make payment for information on espionage activity in any country which leads to the arrest and conviction of any person(s):

  • For commission of an act of espionage against the United States.
  • For conspiring or attempting to commit an act of espionage against the United States
  • Or which leads to the prevention or frustration of an act of espionage against the United States.

Reportable Indicators

 Indicators of Potential Motivation

  • Disgruntlement with one's employer or the U.S. Government strong enough to make the individual desire revenge.
  • Any statement that, considering who made the statement and under what circumstances, suggests potential conflicting loyalties that may affect handling of classified or other protected information.
  • Individual has been offered financial assistance for self or family, or an opportunity to earn money with little work, by any foreign national.
  • Repeated statements or actions indicating an abnormal fascination with and strong desire to engage in "spy" work. Fantasies of oneself as a James Bond.

Potential Indicators of Information Collection

  • Asking others to obtain or facilitate access to classified or unclassified but protected information to which one does not have authorized access.
  • Obtaining or attempting to obtain a witness signature on a classified document destruction record when the witness did not observe the destruction.
  • Offering extra income from an outside activity to a person with a sensitive job, in an apparent attempt to entice that person into some unspecified illegal activity.
  • Undue curiosity or requests for information about matters not within the scope of the individualís job or need-to-know.
  • Unauthorized removal or attempts to remove classified, export-controlled, proprietary or other protected material from the work area.
  • Retention of classified, export-controlled, proprietary, or other sensitive information obtained at a previous employment without the authorization or the knowledge of that employer.
  • Extensive use of copy, facsimile, or computer equipment to reproduce or transmit classified, sensitive, or proprietary material which may exceed job requirements.
  • Taking classified materials home or on trips, purportedly for work reasons, without proper authorization.
  • Working odd hours when others are not in the office without a logical reason, or visiting work areas after normal hours for no logical reason.
  • Bringing cameras or recording devices, without approval, into areas storing classified or other protected material.
  • Downloading classified material to an unclassified computer.

Potential Indicators of Information Transmittal

  • Removing classified or other sensitive materials from the office without authorization.
  • Storing classified material at home or any other unauthorized place.
  • Short trips to foreign countries, or within the U.S. to cities with foreign diplomatic facilities, for unusual or unexplained reasons, or that are inconsistent with oneís apparent interests and financial means.
  • Excessive and/or unexplained use of e-mail or fax.
  • Failure to comply with regulations for reporting foreign contacts or foreign travel. Any attempt to conceal foreign travel or to conceal close and continuing contact with a foreigner, particularly a foreign official.
  • Foreign travel not reflected in the individualís passport to countries where entries would normally be stamped.
  • Maintaining ongoing personal contact, without prior approval, with diplomatic or other representatives from countries with which one has ethnic, religious, cultural or other emotional ties or obligations, or with employees of competing companies in those countries.

Potential Indicators of Illegal Income

  • Unexplained affluence, or life-style inconsistent with known income. Includes sudden purchase of high-value items or unusually frequent personal travel which appears to be beyond known income. Sudden repayment of large debts or loans, indicating sudden reversal of financial difficulties.
  • Joking or bragging about working for a foreign intelligence service, or having a mysterious source of income.

Other Potential Indicators

  • Behavior indicating concern that one is being investigated or watched, such as actions to detect physical surveillance, searching for listening devices or cameras, and leaving "traps" to detect search of the individualís work area or home.
  • Any part-time employment or other outside activity that may create a conflict of interest with one's obligation to protect classified or other sensitive information, and that has not been approved by the security office.
  • Attempt to conceal any activity covered by one of these counterintelligence indicators.

Related Topics: How Spies Are Caught, Exploring the Mind of the Spy, Treason 101, Spy Stories.




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