I-SEC Integrated Strategies

Being Effective or Being Secure?

Posted Dec 20th, 2013 in Articles

Enabling business activities around the world while securing an organization's resources (people and assets) is a critical balance to achieve.

by Ray Boisvert

Excerpted from the full article found at: Frontline Security Vol.7 No.3


James Angleton was the counter-intelligence chief to no less than six CIA Directors. A complex man, he was the first to raise the flag of suspicion regarding Soviet KGB mole Kim Philby (a senior British intelligence official and member of the infamous Cambridge Spy Ring). Angleton was also the chief interrogator of Yuri Nosenko and Anatoliy Golitsyn – both believed to be KGB officers, and one likely a plant to misinform and misdirect Western intelligence. Sadly for Nosenko, who was not believed by Angleton and his intimates, he spent several years in a solitary CIA interrogation cell. Golitsyn, however, became the source who fuelled Angleton’s single minded obsession with uncovering treachery within. Over two decades, he led the most invasive mole hunt at the CIA and which impacted all Western agencies. Unfortunately, however, it resulted mainly in shattered careers, strained alliances, and organizations beset with internecine warfare.

James AngletonTo this day, the Angleton legacy stands as a tale of caution for those considering the revival of enhanced counter-intelligence in the aftermath of the treacherous activities of Canadian Naval Lieutenant Jeffrey Paul Delisle.

It is clear that the depth of extremist violence in the decade following the collapse of the Twin Towers on September 11 re-focused our attention on the threat of terrorism. So much so, that it propelled both the general public and those charged with protecting national security or the proprietary information of private companies, to reduce priorities relative to “spying” in favour of anti-terrorism concerns. Critical life threatening cases or the need by the private sector to “harden” corporate assets from the threat of terror, demanded no less. Despite the legitimacy of emphasizing the prevention of terrorism or improving the physical protection of corporate activities abroad, it is now important for us to face a simple truth: spies are indeed among us.

While some now postulate that spies returned to the scene to commit new crimes, the reality is: they never left. Others believe the shift in the perceptual lens is the result of the growing list of cyber attacks and, more recently, the number of prosecutions of those effectively ­pursuing the art of human intelligence (HUMINT) – or in the vernacular: “spying”.

The 2010 arrest by U.S. officials of 11 Russian “illegals” who had assumed the identities of dead Americans and were ­living “normal” middle class lives in the homeland, was a stark reminder that classic ­espionage was alive and well. Lt. Delisle’s guilty plea makes it “local” or relevant for Canadians and, of course, shocking in terms of how he did it.

So what motivates the continuance of an activity that is often characterized as unseemly, yet has been with us since biblical times? Is it ideology, money, sex, revenge? The short answer is: yes. All of these drivers fit the pathology of spy cases through the ages. However, and in my experience, revenge has been a core motivation, with money or profit in immediate tow. Whether in a “spy versus spy” case snaring agents of the state, or one of corporate spying where intellectual property has been the prize, ego and greed have ­featured prominently.

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