Counterintelligence in American History


Counterintelligence is the practice and art of defeating enemies. Counterintelligence is meant to neutralize or counter intellect collection efforts via technical and functional, production and analysis, operations, CI investigations, and collection services. It incorporates all actions employed to neutralize, exploit, identify, and detect the multidiscipline intelligence action of enemies, adversaries, opponents, competitors, and friends. It is the contributor of the main intelligence community to safeguard US equities and interest. Counterintelligence has been used for quite a long time in the American history (Department of Army, 2012). The purpose of this paper is to evaluate the transformation of two counterintelligence functions from early American history during post 9/11 incident. This paper will focus on investigation and collection functions.

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Investigation and Collection Counterintelligence Functions

Investigative activity is important in countering the opponent intelligence danger to interests of the Army. CI emphasizes on investigative function to support technology, infrastructure and force protection, security programs, information assurance, and homeland security. Investigations in the CI centers on resolving suspected or known allegations which might constitute crimes against national security based on the law of the United States. The prime aim in any investigation in CI is the neutralization, exploitation, identification, and detection of intelligence adversary threats targeting the US Army.

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Collection activities focus on adversary threats of intelligence which target multinational and US interest. CI collection is performed via the use of official contacts, assets, sources, and other multimedia and human sources to get information which affects the supported unit.  CI collection function on the other hand is employed to gather information on direct dangers to the US Army personnel, activities, organizations, and installation. Collection activity can be employed to identify possible leads for aggressive operations, initiate counterintelligence investigations, or create addition collection activities leads. These activities are structured to collect particular information or create leads regarding adversary intelligence collection personalities, structure, operations, efforts, capabilities, requirements, and techniques of operation focusing on multinational and US interests (Department of Army, 2012).

Counterintelligence Employment after 9/11 Incident

The 9/11 incident was one of the most shocking incidents that have ever happened in the world. It was marked as the major terrorist attack in the American soil. The incident was linked with a number of loopholes in the US intelligence system and thus, more needed to be enhanced to ensure that America is safeguarded from such incidences in the future. One of the major adjustments that had to be done was the reinforcement of the counterintelligence system of the United States. Previously, the counterintelligence department could do their data collection and investigation using manual method such as using moles and other spies, tailing particular identified criminals among other manual applications, However, the drastic change of technology has pushed the American intelligence agency to consider applying more improved measures to keep up with the current terrorism issues since its one of the major threat to the Americans and the entire world. The process of investigating and collecting information regarding American enemies has advanced greatly especially with swift change of IT technology. The intelligent department has employed so much effort to keep up with the enemies’ effort to outshine the intelligence (Sims & Gerber, 2009).

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Neutralization spying is one of the major roles played by the counterintelligence. CI also analyses and compiles information of the enemy’s security system with intent of disrupting their collection of intelligence against the US, and enhances the penetration of US intelligent officials in the enemy’s ranks. This is made possible by investigation process that allows the disclosure of where the enemy’s system areas, after which spies sent to discover more for the US government. The counterintelligence offers critical support collection of intelligence through vetting sources to guarantee that information is accurate, comprehensive, and not structured to deceive. In this terrorism era, deception would easily divert the intelligence agency from the actual attack. The actual tactical nature of terrorist, depending on surprise, compartmentation, and clandestinity has pushed intelligence into a core role in terrorism war which is characterizing post 9/11 era (Norris, 2003).

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One of the major characteristic of counter intelligence in this error is its possible convergence with counter-terrorism. The role of countering terrorism and that of countering aggressive intelligence systems are hardly differentiable from the other. Although the counter-terrorism mission focuses on terrorist enemies only the counterintelligence focuses on the country’s enemies where terrorists appears to be a common enemy for both counter-terrorist and counterintelligence. With great terrorism threats the US CI center is still depending highly on spies to collect all information regarding terrorist and other enemies of the country. However, the CI center is facing a great challenge with regard to the collaboration of some of foreign countries where spies should be accommodated. During the post 9/11 era, the CI have considered advancing its knowledge on an adversary service of intelligence. This involves the personalities, modus operandi, organization, capabilities and employment of cover. This thorough knowledge have assisted in the development of defensive measures to disturb intelligence collection of terrorist, though its main is to enhance offensive terrorism where spies are recruited in the adversary intelligence-like institutions ranks. The most appropriate defense over enemy spies, either from terrorist groups or foreign intelligence services has and will always be the US spies’ recruitment in terrorists’ ranks.

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Most terrorist in post 9/11 era have managed to enter into different organizations in the targeted areas as employees or other qualified workers in higher ranks. This is basically meant to ensure that they have effective information regarding their target. Although with difficulties, the CI center has tried to send a number of its officers to the Al-Qaeda and other terrorists organizations. However, to ensure the spies safety the center has been forced to seek the collaboration of various foreign allies who can manage to be recruited in these organizations without being detected. Due to the difficulties involved in extracting vital and useful information in their sophisticated systems, the CI center has to consider the spies knowledge on systems and their high ability of being promoted to access more and vital information. With this information, the CIC is able to monitor the terrorist moves and to prevent attacks in the US soil and also in any other targeted country’s ally (Sulick, 2013).

The counterintelligence center is also enhancing collaboration and information sharing as another way of collecting information regarding the enemies of the state and neutralizing their destructive missions. The U.S. Counter intelligence community introduced various incremental steps to transform information distribution channels and use. This was highly initiated by the 9/11 event which pushed the CI center define new efforts to counter terrorism and other attacks in the country.  The new reforms allowed sharing of information among all intelligence departments in the country where in, a common pool of intelligence information is shared from all departments and each department use this information for their own good or to enhance their operation (Hagen, 2014). Narrow boundaries of information were crumbled in post 9/11 era and new analytical tools and systems displaying past library as well as historical processes of filing. The previous and current information files can now be access at similar points and each department uses this information for their good or only picks what is relevant to them. In this regard, the post 9/11 era counterintelligence agency seeks to support each other and not to compete regarding the efficiency and power of an agency in unmasking enemies. In this regard, the aspect of information collection has been made much easier with most of the interrelated agencies sharing vital information irrespective of whether complete or not. This ha highly facilitated projection of a number of terrorist plots as one agency produces related piece with more information as compared to its previous competitor. This has highly eased compilation and interpretation of data, and projecting the unknown to uncover terrorist and other criminals’ plan (Hagen, 2014).

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Counter collection is another strategy commonly used in the post 9/11 counterintelligence era. Successful collection by the enemies enriches their source of information, making it harder and harder to deceive them and making them stronger to launch their attacks. Counter collection focuses on limiting the opponent’s ability to get more information regarding the government intelligence unit. Some of the counter measures in this case include providing deceive information, and ensuring only repetitive information can be found. This is attained by developing trailered systems of information collection. Apart from disrupting or blocking the collection act, collection countering can also involve disrupting and blocking the orchestrating and building engineering that underlies it. The post 9/11 counterintelligence era has also enhanced the collection activity by developing good communication network among the employed spies. This enables them to share information and ideas on how they can overcome a certain barrier to their goal. This has highly been facilitated by the advancement of the IT technology which allows easy sharing of information. To ensure maximum security especially for the spies working in the most dangerous institutions, a high level of security in the sharing platform is enhanced. The sent information is also highly encrypted to ensure that the communicated information is never understood even if it could get to the wrong hands. Although encryption is a security technique that was used even during the World War II, it has highly been facilitated by the modern technology (Sims & Gerber, 2009).

Collection manager also need to manipulate systems of sensing that include imaginary human and aircraft spy networks to guarantee that they operate well together over their targets. Whether a spy networks, a satellite system, or a pigeon-based, each collector contains five important components that include data exfiltration, exploitation and processing, sensors, platform, as well as control and command. While arraying and manipulating these components over adversaries and competitors, managers focus on maximizing the security, depth, and range of the whole system of collection, therefore optimizing its general performance. This performance is normally evaluated with regard to attributes that include timeliness, efficiency, agility, and productivity.

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Another form of collecting information is interception. The counter intelligence department focuses on conducting safe interceptions where the communication line of suspects is tapped and all communication recorded to monitor the suspect moves. Information collection is also done by collaborating with different governmental and private institution for instance the financial sectors including virtual banks or transaction platforms to gather more information on huge unusual transactions from a suspect to others or from unknown person based on the intelligence service data to a known criminal. This can also involve any other person without a defined source of earning but involved in huge financial transactions. Transport system can also be used to evaluate the movement of suspects and to project their possible future plan. Therefore, a high level of collaboration and national and global level is highly regarded in counterintelligence services in post 9/11 era (Norris, 2003).


The US government has for a long time enhanced intelligence measures in the country where the CI services were offered as a way of weakening the opponent and strengthening the American intelligence service. However, more advanced measures were employed in the country’s counterintelligence services after the 9/11 attack. This resulted to advancement in the information sharing among the intelligence agencies and security systems of the country, employment of advanced technology in investigation and collection in CI, need for international collaboration, need for advanced knowledge in various advanced information systems, and need for more intelligent and fearless spies in the top most ranks in the terrorism organizations. Basically, terrorism became one of the major threats in the America and the world at large and most of the intelligence effort was diverted to focus on fighting terrorism. The post 9/11 era resulted to a convergence between counterintelligence and counter-terrorism as the US government tried to employ all means to overcome the terrorism issue.

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