An Untuned Instrument: Strategic Counterintelligence in the Sino-American Technology Competition

The People’s Republic of China (PRC) is after the treasures of our society. Besides aiming industrial espionage at commercial sectors for pure economic advantage, China’s strategic intelligence targets are private-sector dependencies of the American national security establishment. Gaping holes in the security practices of the defense industrial base, high-technology firms, academia, critical infrastructure, and government agencies are fueling China’s comprehensive policy of industrial modernization to surpass the United States as the premier scientific and technological (S&T) power of the world. Consequently, we have a national counterintelligence (CI) challenge to protect a whole-of-society target.

Conceptualizing counterintelligence only as a specialized security function of intelligence bureaucracies—or more narrowly, as the counterespionage mission of mole hunting and spy catching—obscures it as an instrument of statecraft for purposes of great power competition. One pithy definition of intelligence is “knowledge of the enemy.”[1] As intelligence, CI is a special form of knowledge: knowing what an enemy knows of you. As an instrument of statecraft, CI is the strategic use of that intelligence: neutralizing an enemy’s decision-making advantages that accrue from his accurate knowledge of you. 

In official U.S. usage, CI includes both “information gathered” and “activities conducted” to protect against espionage, sabotage, and other intelligence threats from foreign powers and non-state organizations that seek our harm.[2] Although CI has a defensive form, it is different from and goes beyond general security practices because it involves information gathered on the enemy’s espionage intent and clandestine capabilities. Armed with that specific insight, CI has an offensive form through operations aimed at degrading those very capabilities.  

In the toolkit of diplomatic, informational or intelligence, military, and economic (“DIME”) elements of national power, the United States desperately needs to sharpen counterintelligence as an instrument short of war. The fragmentation of the U.S. counterintelligence community has undercut defenses against China’s strategic intelligence threat. Some officials recognize the U.S. CI community is like an untuned instrument of American statecraft.[3] Yet, unlike the sweeping reorganizations of U.S. counterterrorism authorities and capabilities following the attacks on 11 September 2001, the country’s counterintelligence architecture has not been reformed even after multiple CI disasters rivaled those attacks in damage to the U.S. government’s prestige and to the impression that our country’s crown jewels are safe.[4]

If the United States reformed statutory authorities to improve strategic operational planning for counterintelligence offensives, the nation would tune this instrument of statecraft. A national CI program could be orchestrated with other coercive, but nonlethal, measures to deny China advantages in the linked contests of technology competition, military modernization, and power politics. Crafting tools short of war to derail China’s free riding on Western ingenuity depends on the willpower to implement counterintelligence in defensive and offensive forms for strategic effect. 

Applied to the Sino-American technology competition, defensive CI measures would harden defense industrial bases, academia, and high-technology firms against China’s industrial espionage and hostile information transfer. Offensive CI measures—conceptualized broadly as strategic deception and serving a policy of technology denial—could use knowledge of U.S. or Western technical chokepoints in critical sectors to stymie Beijing’s industrial modernization targets, force Beijing to resort to inferior indigenous technology, and slow China’s pace for catching up and surpassing U.S. industrial and technical capabilities.

China’s Industrial Modernization Policy as Strategic Competition

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has been on a protracted offensive to balance the United States through technology competition and economic statecraft. Specifically, the CCP systematically identified our scientific, technological, and economic foundations of military and political power and targeted them in a strategic competition below our threat perception for more than twenty years. Where Washington saw simple arts of peace—economic interdependence, foreign direct investment, and scientific research collaboration—Beijing saw indirect arts of war. Industrial espionage and intellectual property theft for technological and military modernization are only the most flagrant instances of this strategy. The CCP simultaneously cultivated American and foreign private sector interests that put personal gain above the national interest. These sympathetic interest groups then lobbied their governments to pursue what Beijing wanted, aligning policies of the target state to China.[5]

China’s comprehensive industrial modernization policy—to indigenize S&T research and development (R&D) and to secure domestic manufacturing for advanced sectors critical to 21st century economic and military dominance—is a function of this protracted competition with the United States.[6] For example, China has pursued a policy of reducing Beijing’s dependence on American information technology (IT) companies since 2014, when the CCP banned installation of Windows 8 on government computers and used its procurement power and antitrust authorities to privilege homegrown Chinese operating systems.[7] In 2015, Chinese officials declared a target that 15 percent of all government computers would transfer Windows to Chinese operating systems, partly to reduce a perceived backdoor vulnerability to U.S. cyber espionage.[8]

Moreover, China’s senior leadership wants innovation in national security capabilities that they believe the West gained through public-private partnerships. The CCP in the last two decades renovated China’s defense industrial base on an American model by linking private sector participation to sensitive R&D.[9] The CCP Central Committee in 2017 launched a commission headed by Chairman Xi Jinping to deliberate and coordinate on strategic issues regarding the partnership of military and civilian bodies for technology and weapons development.[10] Its goal was to boost “civil-military fusion,” helping private industrial and state enterprise sectors together to monopolize the factors of production for defense and technological innovation.[11]

A central plank for the catch-up policy of China’s “Americanized” defense industrial base was unprecedented economic espionage and hostile technology transfer by state and private proxies. Beijing’s technique of choice for this information transfer was cyber operations that probably relied on private hackers as auxiliaries to the main line of state clandestine intelligence gathering.[12] The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) estimates that China has more than 30,000 military cyber operators augmented by 150,000 private sector cyber specialists devoted to stealing trade and technology secrets.[13] For example, officials of a cyber department in China’s Ministry of State Security (MSS) probably collaborated with private sector individuals to hack into American corporations to steal sensitive commercial, aviation, and aerospace data.[14] Data stolen in the cyber breaches of the Office of Personnel Management, Marriott, Equifax, and many others almost certainly originated from Chinese government or state-sponsored hackers.[15]

The Nature of Our National Counterintelligence Challenge

Public and private sector cyber breaches draw attention for good reason, but to analyze them only through a cybersecurity lens is a mistake. Even if the United States implemented impeccable cybersecurity standards, the PRC would continue to use cyber espionage and other clandestine and overt means to achieve strategic intelligence objectives in the service of its broader political goals. 

The issue framed correctly for the United States is a national counterintelligence challenge because Chinese hacking operations are only one way for the PRC to achieve its basic intelligence objective: knowledge of us. Specifically, knowledge of what we know or do not know, what we have and do not have, and what we are doing or not doing. This knowledge promises to advantage Beijing’s decision making in the Sino-American technology competition, which underpins the race of military modernization and political power. With such knowledge, Beijing can understand how close it is to surpassing our technical and military capabilities and make bolder political moves. 

A national counterintelligence challenge implies why we should care that our enemies target information beyond classified government holdings. For example, the National Counterintelligence Strategy of the United States of America 2020-2022 notes that enemies such as China exploit the U.S. economy’s openness, threaten sensitive S&T through foreign direct investments, and collect intelligence from private sector entities not always associated with national security, such as the national labs, academia, and health care institutions.[16]

A whole-of-society counterintelligence risk analysis should cover five domains of public-private partnerships that the United States depends on to provide for the common defense and for national innovation and competition: first, cleared industry and defense contractors; second, big technology firms; third, academics performing classified or sensitive research; fourth, companies managing critical infrastructure; and fifth, the government itself. These five domains form a complex system that is not defended systemically, let alone mapped or known to any one person, department, or interagency body. Although, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency tries to identify public and private sector digital crown jewels at risk of foreign theft or disruption.[17]

The Five U.S. Domains of Greatest Counterintelligence Concern

The industrial base of cleared defense contractors is the most important domain threatened by China’s intelligence operations because of its direct access to U.S. military modernization systems and programs. U.S. enemies therefore target cleared industry for information and technology with defense applications that would shorten their development and production timelines. The Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency (DCSA) noted in their last publicly available account that defense contractors in fiscal year 2019 submitted over 6,000 reports of foreign attempts to obtain unauthorized access to sensitive technology or classified information, mostly in aeronautics systems and electronics.[18] 40 percent of all reported incidents—the highest share—originated in East Asia and the Pacific region, where Chinese MSS officers or their recruited hackers targeted intellectual property and confidential business information.[19]

Big U.S. technology companies (for example, Apple, Google, SpaceX, and Tesla) that innovate and commercialize technical advancements are the second domain under China’s intelligence threat.[20] These leading firms are adjacent to the U.S. defense industrial base because many of them provide indispensable technological systems or services with military or intelligence applications. They also constitute parts of the U.S. industrial innovation ecosystem that create national competitive advantage in critical sectors, such as artificial intelligence or semiconductor design. The Chinese military and intelligence agencies, in addition to unofficial state auxiliaries of Chinese mercenary hackers, routinely target cyber espionage attacks against hundreds of U.S. technology firms.[21]

U.S. universities and R&D on sensitive government projects are the third domain at risk. Foreign solicitation of cleared U.S. academics is a counterintelligence concern because enemies exploit U.S. higher education’s culture of openness to parasitically feed off R&D collaboration, conduct S&T espionage, or establish centers of influence.[22] Academic solicitation involves attempts by foreign students, professors, or scientists—under the guise of legitimate research about degree programs, internships, thesis assistance, or peer review of technical publications—to obtain sensitive, export-restricted basic and applied research or classified information.[23] Many American academics are willfully naïve to the intelligence dimension of foreign research collaboration, which China’s agents exploit for S&T espionage. For example, University of Tennessee professor John Reece Roth in 2012 was sentenced to a four-year prison sentence for transferring export-controlled defense technology to both Chinese national and Iranian national graduate students, while employing them on a classified U.S. Air Force contract that required participation of U.S. nationals only.[24] Some academics become witting agents of China, such as Harvard University’s Charles Lieber, who was convicted in December 2021 for lying to U.S. officials in an attempt to hide his participation in China’s Thousand Talents Program.[25]

Domestic critical infrastructure is the fourth domain of counterintelligence concern, where cyberattacks probably constitute the primary threat vector due to the increased convergence of IT and operational technology (OT) that used to be “air-gapped” from the Internet. The cyber-physical convergence of IT and OT elevates the risk to critical infrastructure in sectors ranging from energy and transportation to agriculture and healthcare.[26] Moreover, there is a CI concern from Chinese overt and legal acquisition of U.S. critical infrastructure—the great majority of which is privately owned and operated—through foreign direct investment.[27]

Finally, the U.S. government itself, anchoring the state side of public-private partnerships, constitutes the fifth domain of risk. The government is the classic target of foreign intelligence collection, but the government’s dependencies on IT companies and opaque, foreign supply chains are an indirect CI vulnerability that is only lately getting much needed scrutiny. For example, the 2020 cyber-intrusion into the SolarWinds company that gained Russia’s foreign intelligence service access to sensitive U.S. government unclassified systems, and which forced the Pentagon to shut down its classified communications that were running SolarWinds software, demonstrated the threat to state agencies from a digital supply chain attack on a private U.S. company.[28] And it was only in 2017 that the Department of Homeland Security directed U.S. federal departments and agencies to remove antivirus software by Russian company Kaspersky Lab, based on the CI risks of Kaspersky’s links to the Russian government.[29]

Can We Turn the Tables on China?

The sheer scale of U.S. targets for Chinese S&T espionage and industrial theft across these five domains is mind boggling. Taking a defensive counterintelligence approach at national scale is simply not enough. Obviously, tighter information security practices, better corporate counterintelligence and insider threat programs, and more seamless sharing of CI threat information between the public and private sectors is necessary. Even stronger reporting requirements for foreign investment and U.S. government supply chain screening mechanisms, such as the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) and the Federal Acquisition Security Council, is insufficient.[30] The reason is that defensive national CI approaches can never take the initiative. As in many things, the best defense is a good offense, which is why the rest of this article will focus on developing an offensive national CI approach that could really turn the tables on China.

Counterintelligence as an instrument of statecraft is about denying an enemy knowledge, either by thwarting its intelligence attempts or by distorting its picture of reality. Michelle Van Cleave, the first U.S. National Counterintelligence Executive (NCIX), provides the most relevant explication of CI’s strategic value. Van Cleave states: 

“The signature purpose of counterintelligence is to confront and engage the enemy… the potential for engaging CI collection and operations as tools to advance national security policy objectives… [is] to go on the offense to degrade hostile external foreign intelligence services and their ability to work against us.” [31]

The United States—as far as we know—has only conducted strategic CI offensives episodically, but their impressive effects illustrate their potential. For example, during the age of détente in the 1970s, Soviet intelligence executed a highly successful effort of covert technology transfer from the West. However, in the 1980s the United States received from a Committee for State Security (KGB) defector an authoritative list of the entire suite of S&T items the Soviet Union wanted to steal. The defector, Col. Vladimir I. Vetrov and codenamed “Farewell,” had photographed 4,000 KGB documents of its S&T espionage program, which were relayed to President Ronald Reagan via French intelligence in what became known as the “Farewell dossier.” This exquisite CI information led to a masterful strategic deception by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and Western intelligence services.[32]

Farewell revealed the names of more than 200 Russian intelligence officers serving in the KGB’s dedicated S&T espionage component, Line X, and the fact that Line X officers had stolen thousands of documents and component parts—for radar, computers, machine tools, and semiconductors—useful to Soviet national defense. To exploit this knowledge of Line X, the United States and North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) allies plotted a CI offensive of strategic sabotage. The United States doctored technical blueprints and other components on the Line X requirements list and supplied them as feed material to KGB collectors that Farewell identified. Then, as the coup de grâce, NATO governments expelled the 200 KGB collectors, effectively shutting down the Soviet Union’s entire Western technology theft operation.[33]

The use of the Farewell dossier imposed incalculable costs on the Soviet Union in wasted man hours and money. The episode is a premier example of American strategic deception in peacetime and how CI can be a tool of national strategy. However, despite episodic successes such as the Line X deception, the United States does not integrate offensive CI operations into national strategy, which is a noted gap in the U.S. arsenal for great power competition. 

For example, The Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the United States Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction in 2005 stated as its third recommendation:

“The CIA should expand its current counterintelligence focus beyond the protection of its own operations to conduct a full range of counterintelligence activities outside the United States. This will require that the CIA adopt the mission of protecting the equities of other U.S. government agencies overseas and exploiting opportunities for counterintelligence collection. We recommend that the CIA pursue this mission by establishing a new capability that would—along with the Agency’s existing Counterintelligence Center—report to the Associate Deputy Director of Operations for Counterintelligence. This new capability would mount counterintelligence activities outside the United States aimed at recruiting foreign sources and conducting activities to deny, deceive, and exploit foreign intelligence targeting of U.S. interests. In short, the goal would be for the counterintelligence element to track foreign intelligence officers before they land on U.S. soil or begin targeting U.S. interests abroad. In doing so, the new capability would complement the Agency’s existing defensive operations, and would provide the Intelligence Community with a complete overseas counterintelligence capability.” [34]

Why We Have Not (Yet) Turned the Tables on China

The United States does not integrate counterintelligence into national strategy because the architecture of the U.S. CI community is not configured to deliver a centrally planned CI capability. Van Cleave notes that CI operational authorities are distributed among the organizations in charge of internal national security and counterespionage (handled by the FBI), external intelligence collection and operations (the CIA), and military action (the Department of Defense).[35] In other words, the United States has no single organ for strategic CI operational planning. These departments and agencies, owning the relevant CI equities and authorities, are like an archipelago that reform efforts in the late 1990s attempted to bridge.

The Aldrich Ames espionage case in 1994 stimulated discussion and then executive action to begin to integrate the U.S. CI community. The Clinton administration in January 2001 issued Presidential Decision Directive (PDD) 75 to outline the basis for a national CI program. It constituted a CI Board of Directors and a national CI executive to serve as a hub for national CI strategic planning, analysis, program budgeting and evaluation, collection and targeting coordination, and outreach and warning to government and private sector entities.[36] PDD 75 was codified into the Counterintelligence Enhancement Act of 2002, which established a national CI enterprise through the office of the National Counterintelligence Executive (NCIX) responsible for threat assessments, strategy development, analysis, budgeting, and coordinating collection and targeting. However, the law excepted the NCIX from any ability to “carry out any counterintelligence investigations or operations” or to “establish its own contacts, or carry out its own activities, with foreign intelligence services.”[37]

In 2012, the CI Operations Coordination Directorate was created.[38] While this directorate helps to coordinate offensive and cyber CI operations, its role per the 2002 law is restricted to providing evaluation of operational implementation of strategy through the National Assessment of the Effectiveness of U.S. Offensive Counterintelligence Operations. [39] Consequently, the NCIX—now the National Counterintelligence and Security Center (NCSC)—is cemented as one of many bureaucratic pillars in the national intelligence enterprise, deprived of the ability to integrate operational CI equities into national strategy.

For CI Reform, the Spirit is Willing but the Flesh is Weak

Some American policymakers and intelligence officials recognize ongoing concerns with NCSC’s incomplete ownership of a strategic CI capability, but there is little appetite to revisit the basic outline of the national CI enterprise envisioned in PDD 75 and to reform the Counterintelligence Enhancement Act. The Senate noted during confirmation hearings for Bill Evanina, the previous NCSC director, that NCSC has “sweeping responsibilities but little by way of enforcement capability.” Evanina noted that NCSC’s tools for leading and prompting the CI community are limited to issuing strategy documents, policy directives, standards, and guidance. He also admitted that current threats demand “strategic orchestration of counterintelligence activities across the United States Government,” but he asserted no need to expand NCSC’s authorization to create an enforcement mechanism that one would expect from a genuine instrument of national power.[40]

Similarly, the Intelligence and National Security Alliance—a decades-old association of former national security professionals—published an analysis of U.S. CI capabilities for the 21st century and found the national enterprise wanting. Specifically, the report stated that placing the NCSC under the office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) made national CI dependent on the limited attention of the DNI and his staff.[41] Van Cleave is probably the most prominent advocate for overhauling the 2002 law’s restriction on the national enterprise from carrying out CI operations. As far back as 2007, she called for “a national CI strategic operations center, a true community operation, to integrate and orchestrate the disparate operational and analytic activities across the CI community to strategic effect.”[42]

Tuning Counterintelligence as an Instrument of American Statecraft

Fragmentation has been a persistent problem of the U.S. counterintelligence community, much to the benefit of China which exploits our inability to meet its whole-of-society CI challenge. For the United States to arm itself with additional measures short of war to fight China’s comprehensive S&T espionage, which underpins its technology and geo-economic influence strategy, there needs to be a fundamental expansion of authorities to integrate national CI operations as a tool of statecraft. 

NCSC was established to overcome that fragmentation but by law cannot direct strategic CI operations or the intelligence equities of departments and agencies, hindering the use of CI as an instrument of national power. If NCSC were authorized to integrate offensive CI operations into national strategy, CI could become for American statecraft a weapon of first resort, below the threshold of military conflict, against China. For example, an NCSC empowered to use the clandestine apparatus of U.S. departments and agencies to control apparent “leaks” to enemies about what the United States may or may not be doing could spark fruitless internal debates among enemies, creating friction in their decision making.

New authorities for strategic CI operational planning would presume on the departmental capabilities and competencies of the U.S. CI community for execution. However, a directorate of strategic operational planning that reported immediately to the President; assigned departmental roles and responsibilities to CIA, FBI, and the Department of Defense; and monitored implementation of that strategy would deliver the kind of strategic CI capability the United States currently lacks. 

There is a template for building this kind of national capability under the DNI. The National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) has a Directorate of Strategic Operational Planning (DSOP) to perform this role for U.S. counterterrorism (CT) efforts.[43] Specifically, the 2004 Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act established NCTC’s DSOP to provide strategic operational plans for U.S. CT action, to include defining “the mission, objectives to be achieved, tasks to be performed, interagency coordination of operational activities, and the assignment of roles and responsibilities.”[44] NCTC ensures unity of effort and planning across the government for CT, assigning roles and responsibilities to lead departments or agencies in the mission. The NCTC director is also empowered to monitor the implementation of strategic operational plans. By contrast, the NCSC director lacks any similar power and access to the President. 

Tuning U.S. counterintelligence as an instrument of statecraft is a matter of configuring the U.S. CI community—the whole of which now is less than the sum of its parts—for strategic deception. Then, it can credibly deliver on a truth enduring from antiquity to today: “All war is based on deception,” as Sun Tzu once said.

Any time gained from slowing the pace of China’s military modernization, or by distorting China’s understanding of American capabilities, would allow the United States to reverse its eroded military power over Beijing. But the hour is late. In critical areas—such as supercomputing and hypersonic missile systems—China’s technical and military modernization has already surpassed the United States. Even if successful reform of the U.S. CI architecture created a national CI program to take the offensive, we might be only delaying the day when the United States must resort to S&T espionage and industrial theft against a technologically superior China.

Nathan Hitchen was a 2020-2021 Security and Strategy Seminar Russia fellow, a 2021-2022 China fellow, and is a 2022-2023 Defense fellow. He studied nonviolent conflict at the Institute of World Politics, the Middle East and international economics at the Johns Hopkins Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, and political science at Rutgers University.


Image: Civilian Photo Technicians (in back of jeep) working for Counter Intelligence Corps, are accounted for by Captain… – NARA, 14 July 1945, from U.S. National Archives and Records Administration. Retrieved from:,_are_accounted_for_by_Captain…_-_NARA_-_198977.tif, used under Wikimedia Commons. 

[1] Thomas Troy, “The ‘Correct’ Definition of Intelligence,” International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence, vol. 5, No. 4, Winter 1991-1992, 433. 

[2] Executive Order 12333–United States intelligence activities, The provisions of Executive Order 12333 of Dec. 4, 1981, appear at 46 FR 59941, 3 CFR, 1981 Comp., 200, unless otherwise noted. 15 August 2016. Last accessed 28 April 2022.

[3] Frederick L. Wettering, “Counterintelligence: The Broken Triad,” International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence, 13:3 (2000), 265-300.

[4] Mike Levine and Jack Date, “22 Million Affected by OPM Hack, Officials Say,” ABC News, 9 July 2015,; United States House of Representatives, Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, “Review of the Unauthorized Disclosures of Former National Security Agency Contractor Edward Snowden,” 15 September 2016, 

[5] Mikael Wigell, Soren Scholvin, and Mika Aaltola, eds., Geo-Economics and Power Politics in the 21st Century: The Revival of Economic Statecraft (New York, NY: Routledge, 2019), 164-177.

[6] United States Senate, Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, “Threats to the U.S. Research Enterprise: China’s Talent Recruitment Plans,” 18 November 2019, %20China’s%20Talent%20Recruitment%20Plans.pdf.

[7] Zhang Yu, “Homegrown Developers Look to Unseat Microsoft’s Dominant OS,” Global Times, 22 October 2014,

[8] Hauke Johannes Gierow,  “Cyber Security in China: Internet Security, Protectionism and Competitiveness: New Challenges to Western Businesses,” Mercator Institute for China Studies, 22 April 2015,

[9] Yao Jianing, “Military Offers 2,000 Research Projects to Private Companies,” Global Times, 18 April 2017,

[10] “Xi to Head Central Commission for Integrated Military, Civilian Development,” Xinhua, 22 January 2017, accessed 7 April 2019,

[11] Elsa B. Kania and Lorand Laskai, “Myths and Realities of China’s Military-Civil Fusion Strategy,” Center for a New American Security, 28 January 2021, accessed 20 June 2022,

[12] Valentin Weber, “States and Their Proxies in Cyber Operations,” Lawfare, 18 May 2018, accessed 8 April 2019,

[13] Michelle Van Cleave, “HEARING ON CHINESE INTELLIGENCE SERVICES AND ESPIONAGE OPERATIONS,” The U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, 9 June 2016, accessed 8 April 2019, Van Cleave_Written Testimony060916.pdf.

[14] Office of Public Affairs, “Chinese Intelligence Officer Charged with Economic Espionage Involving Theft of Trade Secrets from Leading U.S. Aviation Companies,” The United States Department of Justice, 10 October 2018, accessed 8 April 2019,

[15] Ellen Nakashima, “U.S. Decides against Publicly Blaming China for Data Hack,” The Washington Post, 21 July 2015, accessed 8 May 2019,; Ellen Nakashima and Craig Timberg, “U.S. Investigators Point to China in Marriott Hack Affecting 500 Million Guests,” The Washington Post, 11 December 2018, accessed 8 May 2019,; Aruna Viswanatha and Kate O’Keeffe, “Before It Was Hacked, Equifax Had a Different Fear: Chinese Spying,” The Wall Street Journal, 12 September 2018. accessed 8 May 2019,

[16] “National Counterintelligence Strategy for the United States of America 2020-2022,” Office of the Director of National Intelligence, accessed 5 January 2022,

[17] Joseph Marks, “New DHS Cyber Center Meets with Industry to ID Most Valuable Assets,”, 2 November 2018, accessed 22 March 2019,

[18] “Targeting U.S. Technologies: A Report of Foreign Targeting of Cleared Industry,” Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency, accessed 6 January 2022,

[19] “Targeting U.S. Technologies: A Report of Foreign Targeting of Cleared Industry,” Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency, accessed 6 January 2022,

[20] Ellen Nakashima, “Chinese hackers who breached Google gained access to sensitive data, U.S. officials say,” The Washington Post, 20 May 2013. accessed 24 April 2022,; Craig Timberg, “Apple’s iCloud service suffers cyber-attack in China, putting passwords in peril,” The Washington Post, 21 October 2014, accessed 24 April 2022,; Davy Winder, “Lockheed Martin, SpaceX And Tesla Caught In Cyber Attack Crossfire,” Forbes, 2 March 2020, accessed 24 April 2022,; “Musk Confirms Tesla Nevada Factory was Target of ‘Serious’ Cyberattack,” Reuters, 27 August 2020, accessed 24 April 2022,

[21] Katie Benner and Nicole Perlroth, “China-Backed Hackers Broke Into 100 Firms and Agencies, U.S. Says,” The New York Times, 16 September 2020, accessed 24 April 2022,; Sean Lyngaas, “Suspected Chinese hackers breach more US defense and tech firms,” CNN, 3 December 2021, accessed 24 April 2022,

[22] “Higher Education and National Security: The Targeting of Sensitive, Proprietary, and Classified Information on Campuses of Higher Education,” Counterintelligence, 3 May 2016, accessed 22 March 2019,

[23] “Foreign Intelligence Entities’ Recruitment Plans Target Cleared Academia,” Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency, 2022, accessed 6 January 2022,

[24] “Higher Education and National Security: The Targeting of Sensitive, Proprietary, and Classified Information on Campuses of Higher Education,” Counterintelligence, 3 May 2016, accessed 22 March 2019,

[25] Paul LeBlanc, “Harvard professor found guilty of lying about Chinese government ties,” CNN, 21 December 2021, accessed 6 January 2022,

[26] “Critical Infrastructure Sectors,” Department of Homeland Security, 3 March 2019, accessed 22 March 2019,

[27] Adam Chan, “CFIUS, Team Telecom, and China,” Lawfare, 28 September 2021, accessed 6 January 2022, 

[28] CISA, Alert (AA21-116A), “Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) Cyber Operations: Trends and Best Practices for Network Defenders,” 26 April 2021, accessed 4 December 2021,; Ethan Huff, “Pentagon orders shutdown of all classified internal communications networks running SolarWinds Orion software,” NationalSecurity.News, 18 December 2020, accessed 4 December 2021,

[29] “2018 FOREIGN ECONOMIC ESPIONAGE IN CYBERSPACE,” 26 July 2018, accessed 22 March 2019,

[30] Lee Sutherland, “The Federal Acquisition Security Council: A Primer,” Lawfare, 24 September 2020,

[31] Michelle Van Cleave “Strategic Counterintelligence,” Center for the Study of Intelligence, 26 June 2008, accessed 8 May 2019,

[32] Gus Weiss, “The Farewell Dossier,” Center for the Study of Intelligence, 27 June 2008, accessed 8 May 2019,

[33] Weiss, “The Farewell Dossier.”

[34] Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the United States Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction, accessed 8 May 2019,

[35] Michelle Van Cleave, “Counterintelligence and National Strategy,” Defense Technical Information Center, April 2007, accessed 8 May 2019,

[36] White House Office, “Presidential Decision Directive 75: Counterintelligence for the 21st Century [Fact Sheet],” Homeland Security Digital Library, 5 January 2001, accessed 8 May 2019,

[37] “CI & Security Governance / Regulations” Office of the Director of National Intelligence, accessed 8 May 2019,

[38] “Time-Line of CI Milestones,” Office of the Director of National Intelligence, accessed 8 May 2019,

[39] Michael DeVine, “The National Counterintelligence and Security Center (NCSC): An Overview, CRS In Focus,” Congressional Research Service Reports – Intelligence, 18 October 2018, accessed 8 May 2019,; “U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Hearings,” 15 May 2018, accessed 8 May 2019,

[40] “U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Hearings,” 15 May 2018.

[41] “Counterintelligence for the 21st Century – INSA,” The Intelligence National Security Alliance – Building a Stronger Intelligence Community, 1 September 2009, accessed 8 May 2019,

[42] Michelle Van Cleave, “Counterintelligence and National Strategy.”

[43] “The National Counterterrorism Center / Who We Are / Organization,” Office of the Director of National Intelligence, accessed 13 January 2022.

[44] Public Law 108-458-DEC. 17, 2004, “Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004,”

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