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Sunday, January 07, 2007

Pentagon Says Spies Busy in U.S.

PentagonJan. 04, 2007 - Efforts by foreign intelligence to obtain U.S. military secrets have increased dramatically, according to a 30-page report issued by the Defense Security Service Counterintelligence Office. It is the latest non-secret information available on espionage in the United States. Suspicious contacts with foreigner reported to the Pentagon increased by 43 percent, to 971, and the number of countries interested in American secrets increased from 90 to 106 in the fiscal year ending in September 2005, according to the report. Of greatest interest were information systems. They were the object of 21.8 percent of suspicious contacts. Lasers and optics followed, accounting for 10.7 percent of contacts, then aeronautics (9.7%) and sensors of various types (9.5%). In addition, arms and high-energy material (9.2%), electronics ( 6.6%), space systems (6.5%), naval systems (4.8%), material processing (4%) and signature verification (3.6%) were also pursued. Besides the higher number of countries active in espionage in the U.S., there were other changes noted in their lineup, as compared to tradition. Nonetheless, the top ten most active countries remained unchanged and accounted for 79.9 percent of the intelligence activity. The top five countries accounted for 57.4 percent of activity. The report says that foreign spies use a wide variety of techniques, ranging from setting up front companies that make phony business proposals to hacking computers containing information on lasers, missiles and other systems. But the most popular methods of attempting to obtain information was a simple “informational request” (34.2%) and attempts to purchase the information (32.2%). Attempts were also made using personal relationships, searching the Internet, making contacts at conferences and seminars, cultural exchanges. No specific countries are mentioned, but the report noted that the most active countries were in the East Asia and Pacific regions (31%), then the Middle East (23.1%), Eurasia (19.3%) and South Asia (13.2%). Africa, North America and South America accounted for 11.5 percent combined. The report does specify what areas of intelligence interest which regions most. The Eurasian regions, for instance, is most interested in arms, high-energy materials and naval systems. In 1997, U.S. counterintelligence was only able to identify 37 countries working against the U.S. The authors of the report suggest that the current level of intelligence activity will not fall again. They mention the globalization of the arms industry as a cause of potentially dangerous strategic competition, in which legal business steps may be taken with the goal of illegally obtaining information.

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