Counterintelligence Briefing

Cleared employees are entrusted with a great responsibility in the safeguarding of our U.S. government customers’ classified information and a keen understanding of counterintelligence is critical to that responsibility. In this briefing you will review, among other things, targeted information, adversarial methods and tactics, concepts related to the Insider Threat, and employee countermeasures.

CounterIntelligence Threats

Counterintelligence Information

According to Executive Order 12333, Counterintelligence (CI) is information gathered and activities conducted to identify, deceive, exploit, disrupt, or protect against espionage, other intelligence activities, sabotage, or assassinations conducted for or on behalf of foreign powers, organizations, or persons, or their agents, or international terrorist organizations or activities.

Or simply stated CI is about identifying intelligence threats and developing mitigation strategies to address and neutralize those threats.

Threats to counterintelligence can come from several many different sources. Here are some examples:

Foreign Intelligence Services

In 2010, Dongfan “Greg”Chung was sentenced to more than 15 years in prison for his conviction on charges of economic espionage. Chung worked for defense contractors and stole more than 200,000 documents for the benefit of the People’s Republic of China.


Competitors (foreign & domestic)

In 2007, Joya Williams was sentenced to eight years in prison, followed by three years of supervised release and an order to pay $40K in restitution for her conviction on charges of theft of trade secrets. Williams was an administrative assistant for a large soft drink company when she conspired with two others to sell company trade secrets to an industry competitor.


Additional Examples

Insider Threat

In October 2002, Ana Montes was sentenced to 25 years in prison after pleading guilty to charges related to espionage. Montes was a high-level official in the U.S. Intelligence Community who had been recruited as a Cuban spy while still in grad school and supported her Cuban handlers throughout her career in the U.S. government.


 •Terrorist and Extreme Activist Organizations •Criminal Enterprises

•Criminal Enterprises

Targeted Information

Intelligence collectors will often target a wide array of information in order to piece together a larger picture. While classified information will always be highly coveted by our adversaries, oftentimes corporate proprietary data can be just as desirable. Employees should take care to properly safeguard all of the information they handle, to include:

Customer data (classified

and unclassified)

Employee data

Vendor information

Pricing strategies

Proprietary formulas and processes

Technical components and plans

Corporate strategies

Corporate financials

Computer access protocols

Acquisition strategies

Marketing strategies

Investment data

Business phone and

email directories


Which of the following items are desired intelligence?

  • Corporate Financials
  • Business phone and email directories
  • Customer Data (classified and unclassified)
  • Technical components and plans
  • All of the above

Recruitment and Coercion

Intelligence collectors employ a variety of techniques in their quest to illicitly obtain our information. Some of those techniques include:

•Elicitation (collection during seemingly innocent conversation)* 

•Coercion or blackmail 

•Electronic (i.e. listening devises, cyber intrusions, etc.) 

•Collecting information on social media or other open sources 

•Recruitment of third parties (i.e. flight attendants, restaurant staff, etc.) 

•Exploitation of joint ventures and/or research 

•Direct requests for information 

•Collection at conventions and air/trade shows 

•Hotel room and/or luggage searches •Inappropriate conduct during facility visits 

•Targeting cultural commonalities 

•Insider activity

More on Elicitation

Elicitation is a technique used to discreetly gather information in a way that does not raise suspicion. Conducted by a skilled collector, elicitation may be difficult to detect.

Trained elicitors exploit natural human tendencies or cultural norms, such as the desire to appear well-informed about our profession or a tendency to expand on a topic when given praise.

There are many different elicitation techniques, such as utilizing flattery or criticism, deliberately stating false facts or use of leading questions. You should politely deflect possible elicitations by:

 •Referring person to public sources 

•Responding with, “Why do you ask?” 

•Giving a nondescript answer 

•Simply stating that you do not know 

•Advise that you cannot discuss the matter

Data Collectors only try recruit people with security clearances to gain information?

  • True
  • False

Insider Threat

The Insider Threat is, current or former employees, contractors, or business partners, with authorized access to company information who misuse that information for their own benefit or that of a competitor or foreign nation

Possible motivations can include greed or financial need, revenge, ideology, divided loyalties, ego, vulnerability to coercion, etc. Some behaviors which might indicate insider activity include: 

•Seeks to expand access beyond job requirements 

•Sudden reversal of financial situation 

•Outward disgruntlement towards employer •Paranoia that they are under investigation 

•Works odd hours inconsistent with job assignment 

•Unreported foreign contacts or foreign travel (when required) 

•History of security infractions or indifference to policies

Employee Countermeasures

Employees are the first line of defense in safeguarding HumanTouch, LLC and U.S. government classified information. Some simple ways to lower your risk of recruitment and better fulfill your responsibilities as a cleared employee include:

•Maintain a responsible and professional social networking footprint. 

•Refrain from identifying yourself as a cleared employee on social or professional networking sites. 

•Always utilize encryption when sending sensitive email communications.

•Never release company information beyond what’s publicly available. 

•Adhere to all company and customer IT policies and procedures. 

•Never discuss sensitive information in public places (i.e. restaurants, public transportation, trade shows, etc.). 

•Don’t respond to questionable electronic communications. 

•Maintain a keen awareness of surroundings; notify security of any anomalies or concerns.

Now that I have a clearance I should inform my friends and relatives.

  • Yes, I should tell them
  • No, do they need to know?

Foreign Travel Considerations

International travel is advantageous for business and often enjoyed by employees. However, it is important to remember that travel abroad often increases many of the risks we’ve already discussed.

Some mitigation measures to those risks include:

•Travel with loaner electronic devices. 

•Use extra caution at airport security lines where theft of electronics devices is rampant. 

•Keep a low profile; avoid advertising employee status. 

•Refrain from using hotel business centers to log into company networks, and do not use hotel fax, printer, or shredder for sensitive data. 

•Disable Wi-Fi and avoid public Wi-Fi networks wherever possible. 

•Do not connect foreign storage devices to phone or computer. 

•Never leave sensitive data unattended; hotel safes are not secure. 

•Understand you have NO expectation of privacy while abroad!

After letting my FSO know I am planning international travel I should always do the following?

  • Pay for and use the hotel wifi (it should be secure if I pay for it)
  • Talk about my work details with my brand new friend at the bar
  • Call the office from my hotel room to complete the details on the classified project I was working on
  • Leave my baggage unattended at the hotel or airport
  • Always be aware of my surroundings, cognizant of my conversations and aware that I may have NO privacy

Reporting to Security

Timely and accurate reporting from cleared industry is critical in identifying and mitigating collection efforts aimed at our technologies, people and processes. Employees should inform their Facility Security Officer (FSO) immediately upon observation of any suspicious activities, contacts, or behaviors. Some examples include:

▪ Indications of hotel room

and/or luggage searches

or intrusions

▪ Instances of forced

surrender of electronic

devices during travel

▪ Suspicious or probing

questioning (in person,

via telephone, etc.)

▪ Contact with a known

or suspected intelligence


▪ Actual or attempted

unauthorized access

▪ Direct requests for


▪ Anomalous or suspicious

behaviors in your workplace

▪ Abnormal occurrences

on electronic devices

(i.e. sluggishness, unusual

updates, pop-ups, etc.)

▪ Any unsolicited post-travel contact via email, social media, etc.

▪ Phishing or attempts at

social engineering


Remember to Contact your FSO Immediately for any concerns, attempted breaches or other issues.

For more information see the attached classes:

Phishing Awareness DS-IA103.06

Cybersecurity Awareness CS130.16

Cybersecurity Awareness CS130.16 [description] [register]

Cybersecurity for Security Personnel CS160.16 [description] [register ]

Portable Electronic Devices / Removable Storage Media DS-IA109.06 [description] [register ]

Smartphones and Tablets DS-IA108.06 [description] [register ]

Phishing Awareness DS-IA103.06 [description] [register ]