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U.S. Readies Aggressive Counterintelligence Plan

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  • Greg Cannon
    http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=564&ncid=564&e=2&u=/nm/20050305/ts_nm/security_counterintelligence_dc_1 U.S. Readies Aggressive
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 5, 2005
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      http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=564&ncid=564&e=2&u=/nm/20050305/ts_nm/security_counterintelligence_dc_1

      U.S. Readies Aggressive Counterintelligence Plan

      Sat Mar 5,11:04 AM ET

      By David Morgan

      COLLEGE STATION, Texas (Reuters) - The Bush
      administration has adopted a new counterintelligence
      strategy that calls for pre-emptive action against
      foreign intelligence services viewed as threats to
      U.S. national security, officials said on Saturday.

      The first national U.S. counterintelligence strategy,
      which President Bush (news - web sites) approved on
      March 1, aims to combat intelligence services from
      countries hungry for U.S. military and nuclear
      secrets, such as China and Iran (news - web sites),
      both at home and abroad, counterintelligence officials
      said.

      Officials at a counterintelligence conference at Texas
      A&M University described the strategy as an extension
      of the post-Sept. 11 foreign policy initiative known
      as the Bush doctrine, which calls for pre-emptive
      action against nations and extremist groups perceived
      as threats to the United States.

      "The United States has become the No. 1 target for the
      intelligence collection of other nations," said John
      Quattrocki, a senior U.S. counterintelligence
      official.

      "What we'd like to do with the counterintelligence
      program is what we've done with counterterrorism,
      which is take the fight to other guy's back yard and
      exploit and interdict where we can, and at home,
      interdict where we must."

      The strategy is due to be released to the public as an
      unclassified document in coming days.

      Officials said the plan aims to protect U.S.
      intelligence and information systems from foreign
      agents including al Qaeda by integrating
      counterintelligence through a recently formed agency
      called the Office of the National Counterintelligence
      Executive.

      Counterintelligence efforts are currently dispersed
      across the 15 agencies that make up the intelligence
      community.

      "We have a great deal of bilateral cooperation between
      agencies. But we need strategically orchestrated
      operations directed against prioritized foreign
      intelligence threats," said National
      Counterintelligence Exacutive Michelle Van Cleave, who
      will oversee the plan.

      REVITALIZE COUNTERINTELLIGENCE

      Former intelligence officials described the strategy
      as an attempt to revitalize counterintelligence after
      years of neglect and demoralization following
      notorious espionage cases including CIA (news - web
      sites) agent Aldrich Ames and FBI (news - web sites)
      agent Robert Hanssen (news - web sites), who were both
      caught spying for the former Soviet Union.

      "Today we are at war and the potential harm to this
      country from intelligence losses is far more
      immediate," said Van Cleave.

      The strategy marks a departure from a long-standing
      counterintelligence practice of waiting for
      foreign-sponsored agents to act against intelligence
      and law enforcement agencies.

      "Instead of being willing to take a punch and be
      damaged, we in fact take the skills of
      counterintelligence and ... impose damage on other
      intelligence services," explained Quattrocki, a top
      aide to Van Cleave.

      He declined to identify countries seen as potential
      targets. But other officials cited China, Russia,
      Iran, North Korea (news - web sites), Cuba and Libya
      as nations that have tried to collect U.S. secrets
      through means including cyber espionage.

      Van Cleave's office produced the new strategy with
      input from the CIA, the FBI, the Pentagon (news - web
      sites) and other agencies.

      A former top intelligence official said the strategy
      offered an opportunity to establish a much-needed
      cadre of officers to carry out investigations across
      the intelligence community.

      Much of the implementation will depend on priorities
      set by John Negroponte, Bush's nominee for director of
      national intelligence.
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