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Treason 101

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Overview

Your short course in Treason is a series of articles on how spies are caught, the prevalence of espionage, and why people spy.

It starts with a short piece on How Spies Are Caught. That comes first, as it is so important for anyone who may be considering espionage to understand that they WILL be caught. Perhaps not right away, but eventually. The statute of limitations does not apply to the crime of espionage. Anyone who commits this crime will have to be looking over their shoulder for the rest of their life.

The Insider Espionage Threat identifies four conditions that must exist before espionage occurs – opportunity to commit the crime; motive; ability to overcome inhibitions such as moral values, fear of being caught, and loyalty to employer or co-workers; and a trigger that sets the betrayal in motion. The article then analyzes how these pre-conditions for betrayal are increasing as a result of changes in social and economic conditions in the United States, and in our relations with the rest of the world.

Explosive growth in information technology is increasing exponentially the amount of information that can be collected and compromised by a single, well-placed spy. Insider Threat to Information Systems examines some of the unique security issues associated with computer professionals.

Exploring the Mind of the Spy discusses what psychologists have learned by interviewing and testing arrested and convicted American spies. Motivations for espionage are far more complex than commonly believed. Selling secrets is usually the last act of a long-simmering emotional crisis. In many cases, the symptoms of this crisis have been observable, identifiable, and even treatable before the damage was done. Typically, however, the potential significance of the "at-risk" behavior has not been recognized or reported at the time by coworkers or supervisors.

Espionage by the Numbers describes an unclassified database on all Americans arrested for espionage since the start of the Cold War. Based on media reports, trial records and unclassified official documents, the data base records information characteristics of the spies, characteristics of the espionage activity, and prevalence among the spies of several behaviors that are commonly associated with security risk. 

Related Topics: Counterintelligence Indicators, Reporting Improper, Unreliable, or Suspicious Behavior, How Do I Know When I'm Being Targeted and Assessed.

 

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SECURITY BRIEFING TABLE OF CONTENTS