Commentary and information about public safety and security, intelligence and counterintelligence, open government and secrecy, and other issues in northern Idaho and eastern Washington.

Location: Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, United States

Raised in Palouse, WA. Graduated from Washington State University. US Army (Counterintelligence). US Secret Service (Technical Security Division) in Fantasyland-on-the-Potomac and Los Angeles. Now living in north Idaho.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Americans Who Spy

What motivates Americans who spy against the United States? What causes someone to provide information to his country's adversaries?

There is no one answer, because each agent's motivations are uniquely his or hers. There may be generalized categories of motivations such as ideology, money, duress, etc.

From time to time the Defense Personnel Security Research Center (PERSEREC) examines the cases of espionage committed by Americans and tries to better identify what motivates them to espionage. In March 2008 PERSEREC published the latest in its series of reports, this one titled Changes in Espionage By Americans, 1947-2007.

The PERSEREC reports are worth reading because they do reveal changing motivations. While we think of espionage as a crime against the nation, it is also a highly personal and unique crime. The observations about spies against the country may be equally valid about spies against a company.


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