New US counterintelligence strategy to involve public and private sectors

President Bush has approved a new counterintelligence strategy that calls for expanding operations against foreign spies and terrorists worldwide and stepping up coordination among U.S. agencies.

The strategy, made public in a report released yesterday, emphasizes the need to penetrate foreign intelligence organizations, governments and foreign groups with agents or by electronic or other means.

"The intelligence activities of foreign powers afford us opportunities to exploit their operations and gain access to their intelligence in order to corrupt its integrity," says the National Counterintelligence Strategy report.

"We will conduct worldwide operations to disrupt or defeat our intelligence adversaries as they assess and respond to the United States. Each agency and department will contribute its own unique capabilities, authorities and resources in a unified effort."

The report, the second of its kind in as many years, was produced by the office of National Counterintelligence Executive Joel F. Brenner. The NCE was set up in 2002 after several damaging spy cases.

The strategy urges bolstering computer-based counterintelligence against foreign-government and private-sector hackers and says counterspy agencies need to "act jointly to understand, confound, manipulate and thwart" intelligence threats, and "when necessary, we will disrupt these activities through arrest and expulsion."

Gaps between domestic and international counterintelligence efforts, namely those carried out by the FBI and CIA, resulted in foreign penetrations that caused "incalculable" damage to U.S. security, from both compromised secrets and lives lost over the past decades, the National Counterintelligence Strategy report said.

A key priority is to prevent spies from corrupting U.S. intelligence, a major problem demonstrated by agents uncovered in recent years inside the U.S. government who were working clandestinely for China, Russia and Cuba and who were able to influence U.S. intelligence analyses and policies, reports.

The strategy 'describes a way forward by which the counterintelligence organizations of the US government will engage elements in the public and private sectors to address the threat posed by the intelligence activities of foreign powers and groups and protect our nation's secrets and the means by which we obtain those secrets,' McConnell said.

'The President and the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) expect us to make measurable progress on all of these goals soon,' said Joel F. Brenner, National Counterintelligence Executive. 'Our job now is to drive this strategy from the clouds down to the sidewalk.'

'By engaging the private sector and academia in meaningful dialogue,' he said, 'the community will learn and, at the same time coordinate the public dissemination of information on intelligence threats.'

The US faces substantial challenges to its security, freedom, and prosperity. Transnational terrorism, continued proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), asymmetric warfare, extremist movements, and failed states present severe challenges to a just and stable international order, Brenner said.

The war against terrorists, Brenner said has cultural, economic, diplomatic, and political as well as military dimensions. The potential consequences of counterintelligence failures can be immediate and devastating, putting in jeopardy US vital information, infrastructure, military forces and a wide range of US interests, technologies and personnel around the world, reports

In the wake of the attacks of Sep 11, 2001, the US counterintelligence community has begun to evolve from a confederation toward a unified enterprise able to bring the full range of counterintelligence capabilities to bear on national issues, he said.

Counterintelligence activities must be orchestrated and integrated to better protect America's secrets and vital assets while providing incisive intelligence to national security decision makers, Brenner said

Source: agencies

Prepared by Alexander Timoshik

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Author`s name Alex Naumov