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She gets messages through LinkedIn and other social-media sites proposing various opportunities in China: a contract with a consulting firm, a trip to speak at a conference for a generous stipend. The offers seem tempting, but this type of outreach comes straight from the Chinese-spy playbook. They were old school. Meanwhile, intelligence experts tell me, Chinese intelligence officers have only been getting better at the traditional skills involved in persuading a target to turn on his or her country. Read: The Chinese influence effort happening in plain sight.
Donald Trump has made getting tough on China a central aspect of his foreign policy. He has focused on a trade war and tariffs aimed at rectifying what he portrays as an unfair economic playing field—earlier this month, the U.
The Spies Who Came In from The Continent
Since , the DOJ has brought at least a dozen cases against alleged agents and spies for conducting cyber- and economic espionage on behalf of China. And here China is using an age-old human frailty to gain advantage in the competition with its more powerful adversary: greed. They are also worried about current and former U.
Spy rings operating out of taxis are relatively unoriginal, he told me, and have long been an issue around U. He sees the risk of intelligence collection and hidden cameras in any hired car, he told me, and if a driver ever tries to make small talk, he immediately shuts it down. The person might have medical bills piling up, a parent in debt, a sibling in jail, or an infidelity that exposes him or her to blackmail. What really worries Evanina is that so much of this information can now be obtained online, legally and illegally.
Security breaches happen with alarming regularity.
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Capital One announced in July that a data breach had exposed about million people in America. During one of my conversations with Wright, she mused that whatever information the old man in the taxi might have wanted to glean from her, all that and much more may have been revealed in the breach of the U.
Office of Personnel Management. In that sophisticated attack, widely believed to have been carried out by state-sponsored Chinese hackers, an enormous batch of data was stolen, including detailed information the government collects as part of the process of approving security clearances. Russia, the U. While some of their intelligence efforts, such as election interference, are loud and aggressive and seemingly unconcerned with being discovered, Russians are careful and targeted when trying to turn a well-placed asset.
Russia tends to have veteran intelligence operatives make contact in person and proceed with care and patience.
List of spies | Britannica
They take extra time to increase the percentage of success. Many of those who have left U. If they still have a government clearance, they might advertise that too. Buried in the questionnaire Evanina filled out for his Senate confirmation is a question asking whether he had any plans for a career after government. When I asked him about this, he admitted that this is becoming less common among intelligence officials his age.
If a former intelligence officer lands a job at a prominent government contractor, such as Booz Allen Hamilton or DynCorp International, he or she can expect to be well compensated. But others find themselves in less lucrative posts, or try to strike out on their own. Evanina told me that Chinese intelligence operatives pose online as Chinese professors, think-tank experts, or executives.
They usually propose a trip to China as a business opportunity. And they get compromised. Once a target is in China, Chinese operatives might try to get the person to start passing over sensitive information in degrees. But by then the trap is set. And then they can blackmail you. It was money. Money was also the lure in two similar cases, in which suspects were convicted of lesser charges than espionage. Both apparently began their relationship with Chinese intelligence officers while still employed in sensitive U.
In , Kun Shan Chun , a veteran FBI employee who had a top-secret security clearance, pleaded guilty to acting as an agent of China. In exchange, Claiborne provided copies of State Department documents and analysis, prosecutors said. Larry Chin, a CIA translator, was arrested in on charges of selling classified information to China over the course of three decades. Whenever a current or former U. Two decades ago, Chinese intelligence officers were largely seen as relatively amateurish, even sloppy, a former U.
Usually, their English was poor. Hall learned fast. In a city overrun with refugees from occupied sectors, she recruited women helpers from marginalized communities.
HOW SPIES OPERATE
Hall quickly went way beyond her job description. She began collecting details on the political situation in France. She helped downed British pilots escape, organizing French women to escort them to safety. Much like successful women today, Hall was called brusque, and her handlers were reluctant to formalize her authority as chief.
Instead they elevated a reckless and incompetent agent codenamed Alain. Yet her self-taught professionalism and, yes, caretaking instincts made Hall a magnet for incoming operatives. Nazi reprisals became savage. Some were poisoned, others shot. She never divulged the information the Germans wanted.
Virginia Hall, though hunted by Klaus Barbie and arrested at least once, always managed to get away. Eventually she was exfiltrated, and worked in Spain until late She was then finally hired by her own country, and the OSS sent her back into France, under heavy disguise. She directed guerrilla forces to support the D-Day landings by destroying railway communications, organizing roadblocks and ambushes, and cutting telephone wires.
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Incredibly, the OSS refused to put her officially in charge. After the war, the contribution of these women was overlooked and then forgotten. Compared with men, they were seen as more emotional, less objective, and insufficiently aggressive.
Stalkerware: The software that spies on your partner
That was then. Now the CIA is directed by a woman, Gina Haspel, who has promoted veteran women to head top directorates. These leaders have antecedents, whether or not they know it. Thanks to these overdue volumes, they can now find out all about them. We want to hear what you think about this article.
Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters theatlantic. In the early s, Karl F. Hanna was a diamond dealer, blue-eyed On June 6, , Americans learned that their government was spying broadly on its own people. The material exposed a The January capture of the U. Pueblo during a spy mission in international waters cost the life of one American sailor and began a grueling month imprisonment for the other 82 Americans aboard. While the Pueblo crew was remembered for their bravery and defiance, A steady leak of information dripped from the highest ranks of the Confederacy to the Union.
Davis was wary of a mole in his house, but had no idea how to stop the flow of Tattoos are more common in the workplace than ever before, but they can still be an occupational hazard. Particularly when your profession happens to be spy. Spycraft often involves moving between legal and criminal worlds—and few things are as risky as being discovered while