If we are to ask American citizens, “What is the most terrible crime of all? ” would we be surprised if most of them immediately relate to the 9/11 tragedy and choose terrorism as the answer? Of course not. A different answer, however, might be given to us if we asked them several years ago, before the disaster happened. It is human nature, to underestimate the proportion of an issue, until they have experienced it, first hand. But the Americans have now experienced the bitterness of terrorism, they have lost husbands, wives, parents and siblings during the shocking tragedy, and certainly they have taken lessons from it as well.
For decades, United States has been the most powerful nation on the surface of the earth. Is it logical to figure that an attack on this country was made without months, or even years of preparation? The attackers must have reliable information about the country’s defense before they start planning, where have they retrieved them? Should not these kinds of information be classified? These are necessary questions, and they will lead us to anticipate the next threat of terrorist actions. Information leaks about sensitive defense system are certainly important factors that made the 9/11 attack possible.
Other leaks of information might cause another threats to America in the future. Here is where American Counterintelligence takes a vital role. American Counterintelligence has found that leaks of information have often happened in the United States governmental and intelligence environments. It turned out; the history of Americans sold out their country goes back a very long way. II. Is Espionage Treason? In its nature to jeopardize the life of hundreds or even thousands citizens, espionage should be consider an act of treason.
But different of opinions still exist regarding actions that is classified as treason. Is espionage valued as low as defecting or a conspiracy against one’s country? A little trip in history will give us the solution. The crime treason has first found itself inside a constitutional foundation in 1350. It was a part of the Statute of Edward. Among the seven categories found in the statute of Edward, the words “adhering to enemies” and giving them “aid and comfort” has been classified as an act of treason. These words had also appeared in the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, on the year 1787.
In its formulated Article III, section 3, the Constitutional Convention mentioned that treason consists of levying a war against the country, adhering to their enemies, and giving to them aid and comfort. After the Second World War, A review of eight convictions of treason has made the Supreme Court established four elements of treason, and providing “aid and comfort” to the enemy is still one of them (“Why Not Call It Treason? ”) So it is obvious that espionage has and still considered as treason by US constitution, ancient and modern. Therefore, for the sake of many, sentences for espionage should not be made light.
III. America’s First Counterintelligence Chief It was John Jay who’s first coordinated a national level of counterintelligence efforts. His job was leading a legislative committee to investigate a plot to sabotage defense and infrastructure targets in New York. In his investigations, Jay employ at least 10 agents, a few of the famous ones are Nathaniel Sackett, Elijah Hunter and Enoch Crosby. All of his agents were operating under enormous pressure. Some were undercover; being unmasked meant death to all of them (Rose P. K. ,1999). Enoch Crosby, is the best secret agent that John Jay have.
He uses various names and identity to retrieve information about the pro-British’s activities. After he get “to famous” for his work in one place, he was assign to another area, joining another pro-British Colony (Rose, 1999). IV. Cases of Modern Espionage Although cases of treason by espionage are abundant since the Independence Day, we will elaborate new ones, in order to recognize an up to date espionage practices. Aldrich Ames’s treason was one of the most popular counterintelligence cases. How could it not be? Ames was the director of CIA Counterintelligence at the time.
He was recruited by the Russian and has been supplying staggering amount of information for 10 years. A great number of US agents working undercover in Russia were arrested and killed because of Ames. Ames’s capture in 1994 didn’t come easy, especially after James J, Angleton (his predecessor) was falsely accused by his rivals as a Russian spy also (Hermon). Soon after Ames started to work for the Russian in 1983, suspicion about a spy in American Counterintelligence emerged. But in 1985, when John Pollard, a Jewish agent was arrested with spying for Israel, Aldrich Ames took the opportunity and put the blame to Pollard.
In 1987, Pollard was sentenced to life in prison in 1987. His other successful attempt to turn away the spotlight was by sacrificing another “more expendable” Russian Spy in the CIA. His name is Edward Lee Howard. But by the help of Ames, Howard managed to flee to Moscow which granted him Political Asylum. Finally, by the testimony of Raffi Eitan, Director of the Office of Scientific Liaison that activated Pollard, Aldrich Ames was uncovered as one of the highest ranking Russian Spy in US Intelligence Agency (Carmel, 1994). But this is already 8 years longer than it supposed to be.
Robert Philip Hanssen, age 56, was a veteran counterintelligence agent who was captured selling highly classified national security information to Russia and the former Soviet Union. He was with his colleague “defending the country” while secretly stabbed them from the back also. He sold up to 6. 000 pages of valuable documentary material in over than 20 separate occasions. In one occasion, FBI agents found that he trade the information with diamonds and more than $ 600. 000 US. Along with the sold documents, Hanssen had compromised FBI counterintelligence investigative techniques, methods and operations.
Hanssen has been charged with espionage and conspiracy to commit espionage which are violations with a possible sentence of life in prison or the death penalty (US Department of Justice, 2001). Katrina Leung, a businesswoman and a fundraiser for the Republicans, has successfully compromised 20 years of intelligence work on the People’s Republic of China. Katrina poses as an informant, paid by the Bureau to give information about Chinese Intelligence Operations in America. But at the same time, she was also seducing two senior FBI agents for information.
That information regarding the American intelligence was then delivered to Beijing, ruin two decades of counterintelligence work (Marshall, 2003). V. Mistakes and Suggestions One of the factors making it hard for the FBI agents to perform their duty is the organization’s structure. The bureau is apparently assigned on 2 similar missions which required the opposite skills and quality. The first mission is law enforcement and the second is Intelligence work. Although the two missions are similar, but sharing information, which is a necessity in law enforcement activities, would be disastrous for intelligence work.
The double mission structure is making the work complicated and even impossible for FBI agents. Furthermore, the effort to change the structure is made difficult by the decision “not to change” of the newly arise Republicans (Marshall, 2003) The culture of working alone or in a small team has not make situations any easier. Once an agent is recruited, he/she is referred to as “special agents” and considered a part of a certain powerful group. This group is unlikely to have suspicion against its fellow agents unless there is no one else to be suspected. This is an obvious mistake.
An intelligence agency is an organization working on the basis of suspicion. None should be consider above suspicion, even ones with seniority. The cases of Aldrich Ames and Robert Philip Hanssen should teach the FBI a very important lesson. In the world of intelligence, it is rather difficult to keep guard on every single possibility of breach. One intelligence agency will always do their best to penetrate all the others. If we are an American agent, working undercover in Russia for instance, we will always worry about a mole in American Agency, exposing our identity to the Russians, and vice versa.
So how will we ensure the safety of our agents? , or how would we make easy to discover a mole inside our agency? One way to do it is, by what is called “compartementation” “Compartementation” is a design or organization, where individuals are sealed apart from others as humanly possible and information is shared only on a need to know basis. Although the design will make information sharing a little difficult, without it, a mole in the crowd could operate long enough to cause immense destruction before getting caught.
A very good example of this is the Aldrich Ames case that we have elaborated before (Marshall, 2003). VI. Conclusion Since the Independence Day, intelligence has always been a mandatory but dangerous work. But due to its role keeping sensitive and classified information regarding a nation’s system of defense, being a dangerous job, is not all that surprising. As an attack on a country has always started with their leak of information, counterintelligence is nothing to be taken lightly. Severe punishment over traitors must also be made to set an example for others, in order not to have it repeated.
Experience has shown us that the US counterintelligence activities have not been maximized. Possible reformation to increase the efficiency of the organization hasn’t been conducted yet. Meanwhile, double agents have reached as far as the highest level of American Counterintelligence Organization, and have been compromising national security for years before being captured. It is imperative for the organizations to really work on the basis of suspicion, to increase compartementation for a more trustworthy system of investigation.
Hopefully, tragedy of counterintelligence such as Ames’s and Hanssen’s would never again be repeated for the sake of the country. Bibliography Carmel, Chezi. 1994. “The Conspiracy Against Pollard”. Maariv Weekend Supplement (on-line). Available from http://www. jonathanpollard. org/1994/031894. htm Accessed March 29 2005 Freeh, Louis J. 2001. US Department of Justice (on-line). Available from http://www. fbi. gov/pressrel/pressrel01/hanssen. htm Accessed March 29 2005 Hermon, Haim. “Free Jonathan Pollard”. Available from http://hhermon. tripod.
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