Monday, October 18, 2010


The discipline of studying and penetrating an adversary’s intelligence organization. Counterintelligence is arguably the acme of the intelligence profession. The orthodox approach is to use physical and technical  surveillance to study the opposition’s  order of battle, identify the internal structure, and then seek to take control of it, either by infiltration, which requires the introduction of external assets, or by penetration, which
is dependent on an ability to attract  defectors, recruit sources, or “turn” individual agents.
The cases of Kim Philby and Karl Koecher are good examples of the long-term preparation required to infiltrate a dedicated individual into a target organization, but quicker results can be achieved by “pitching” a candidate considered susceptible, as happened with Vladimir Petrov and  Oleg Lyalin. The recruitment of  double agents offers considerable scope for compromising case officers and persuading them to cooperate, but the management of such operations requires considerable skill and experience. However, once accomplished, the contamination of an agency may spread to the point that its effectiveness has been  neutralized, as happened to the Abwehr during World War II and to the Central Intelligence Agency’s Cuban operations in the 1970s.