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Saturday, June 3, 2017

Intelligence Problems

At AEI, Gary J. Schmitt notes that China and other countries have nailed US intelligence agents but that we have a problem returning the favor.
Yet resource constraints complicate any effort to give Russian espionage the attention it might deserve. Keeping track of any intelligence officer requires physical and electronic surveillance—and a considerable number of bodies to do each if the coverage is to be effective. As one counterintelligence officer is quoted as saying, “They’ve just got so many bodies.” Toss in the Bureau’s resource-intensive efforts to stay ahead of the terrorism threat domestically and keep up with the expanding Chinese intelligence efforts in the United States and you have a counterintelligence effort here that is essentially fighting a three-front war with a largely one-war CI force structure.
As former National Counterintelligence Executive Michelle van Cleave explained in recent testimony, “increasingly,” hostile intelligence operations can be run outside:
the former safe havens of their diplomatic establishments.” More than ever, “the number of formal and informal ports of entry to the country, the ease with which people can travel internally and the relatively benign operational environment of the U.S. are tailor made for embedded clandestine collection activities. Thousands of foreign owned commercial establishments within the United States, the routine interactions of trade and transnational business and finance, and the exchange of hundreds of thousands of students and academicians, all potentially extend the reach of Chinese intelligence into the core structures of our Nation’s security.