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FBI Countermeasures in Business Espionage

FBI agents and other law enforcement personnel recently brought a Counter Espionage case to the Southern District of New York, alleging that a suspected foreign national stole U.S. government held classified documents through an Air Force spy program codenamed “OGAP.” The alleged perpetrator is said to have stolen a classified NSA computer from an Air Force office. The documents allegedly removed by the thief were recovered and NSA is said to be involved. There were initial discussions of a grand jury investigation and potential criminal charges from the FBI, but no charges have been filed at this time. Currently there is a threat of a lawsuit and possible class action suit from the Air Force Office of Special Investigations (OSIS) and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ).

OIG is one of two National Security Division (NSA) agencies that monitors foreign language radio frequencies and internet usage for national security purposes. They were not present at the recent SLAA workshop in Las Vegas, nor did they bring any countermeasures to protect against this attack. According to a spokesperson at the NSA, “OIG was not invited to attend the Counter Intelligence Media Activities seminar in Las Vegas. We received notification of the meeting from a press release of an individual”

The FBI has several names for people who engage in electronic surveillance, including: bugging, electronic eavesdropping, and psychological operations. Electronic eavesdropping is the term used to describe a phone call where the person on the other line has their voice modified to make it seem like they are talking to the victim without their knowledge. This is often done with the use of an earpiece or some type of recording device. Most likely, if a person has their voice modified, it was done by a professional in an effort to catch the victim red handed. Some electronic eavesdropping involves a third party listening in on conversations (such as an employee who is trying to monitor the computer activities of a coworker) and using that information to incriminate the person being spied upon.

The other form of electronic eavesdropping is done by a third party who is not a part of the intelligence community and/or law enforcement agency. In this instance, there is no clear evidence that the subject of the surveillance performed had done anything wrong. In a counterstrategy to prevent their knowledge of the existence of a counterstrategy, many people engage in mental activity such as writing down all of the ideas that they can think of in order to explain why they did not do something legally. People who are caught engaging in these activities may be charged with obstruction of justice, a felony. If they are convicted of obstruction of justice, they could face years in prison.

Electronic eavesdropping can also involve more serious activities, such as planting a bug or camera in a building and capturing images. It takes a trained individual to plant a camera without someone in the building noticing, and without the camera and images of anyone being recorded surreptitiously. Likewise, electronic eavesdroppers might install a GPS tracking device on a vehicle without leaving any tracks on the vehicle itself. Most employees use their car for business, but sometimes, a vehicle owner does not realize that the car has been spied on and does not feel comfortable leaving the vehicle idling away while an investigator tailgate and secretly camera footage their car. An employee might install a spy cam in the restroom of a hotel room in order to catch employees stealing from the hotel room.

There is much more to undetected spy programs than just bugging the office. Employees, customers, competitors and even competitors’ children might be compromised if an employee discloses his or her full name and location. A business that is having its communications monitored by a legal company could have its assets seized, or a competitor could launch a propaganda campaign against the business over its usage of spy technologies. Therefore, in terms of countermeasures to increase in business espionage, it might make more sense for businesses to purchase and deploy the latest surveillance and monitoring systems available. Such systems can allow a business to protect itself from such activities as sabotage attempts, human error, and intentional attacks.

Transfuture Media
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