fog.png
Saturday December 3rd, 2022 1:11PM

US needs to reform efforts to stop enemy spies, report says

By The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — A new Senate study warns that U.S. spy agencies’ efforts to stop China and other adversaries from stealing secrets are hampered by miscommunication and a lack of money and staff at the office intended to coordinate those efforts.

The report comes amid warnings that Chinese and Russian attempts to obtain sensitive data and meddle in elections are on the rise.

The Senate Intelligence Committee report released Tuesday says the National Counterintelligence and Security Center, which is supposed to coordinate efforts by the U.S. government, doesn't have a clear mission and is limited in its authority. NCSC cannot fund or mandate programs for many government agencies or private companies that hold secrets prized by foreign spy services.

There's also disagreement among intelligence officials about who should lead responses to cyberattacks and campaigns trying to influence Americans — and whether those efforts should be categorized as counterintelligence, the report says.

Washington has long accused Beijing in particular of sanctioning wide-ranging campaigns to steal secrets through spying, cyberattacks, and corporate espionage, as well as spreading disinformation about the COVID-19 pandemic and considering efforts to influence American democracy. The FBI has said it opens a new counterintelligence investigation involving China every 10 hours on average.

“The Chinese government is set on stealing your technology — whatever it is that makes your industry tick — and using it to undercut your business and dominate your market,” FBI Director Christopher Wray told business leaders in a recent speech in London. “And they’re set on using every tool at their disposal to do it.”

The Senate report primarily focuses on NCSC, an element of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. ODNI was created in the 2004 reforms following the Sept. 11 attacks and revelations that agencies did not share information about some of the hijackers involved.

ODNI was intended to coordinate priorities across the rest of the 18-member U.S. intelligence community and ensure better information sharing through centers like NCSC, which would coordinate the counterintelligence work done by the FBI, CIA, and other spy agencies.

But the counterintelligence center is itself hamstrung by bureaucracy, the report argues. Among its hurdles is an inability to hire new employees quickly; not having the authority to implement national strategies; and not being able to fund counterintelligence programs outside of the spy agencies, either elsewhere in the U.S. government or in the private sector.

President Joe Biden also still hasn’t nominated a director for NCSC, which is currently led by acting director Michael Orlando. The White House did not respond to a request for comment on the lack of a nomination.

“The United States faces a dramatically different threat landscape today than it did just a couple of decades ago,” said Sen. Mark Warner, the Virginia Democrat who chairs the Senate Intelligence Committee, in a statement. “New threats and new technology mean that we have to make substantial adjustments to our counterintelligence posture if we are going to protect our country’s national and economic security.”

Sen. Marco Rubio, the Florida Republican who is the committee's vice chairman, noted that China and other adversaries are “targeting all sectors of society.” The committee wants to make sure intelligence agencies have “the authorities and resources necessary to effectively confront these new counterintelligence threats,” he said.

A spokesperson for NCSC said the center appreciates the committee "identifying multiple recommendations to improve NCSC’s ability to lead the counterintelligence mission.”

The report notes experts don't agree on a solution. Some want the U.S. to have its own counterintelligence agency that would take some of the responsibilities held by the FBI, CIA, and other spy agencies.

Others think a new agency would simply impose a new layer of bureaucracy and undermine the original goals of creating it. A new agency would also likely face opposition across the intelligence community and supporters of those agencies in Congress.

Frank Montoya, a retired former chief counterintelligence executive and FBI agent, said he was most successful through establishing personal relationships with other officials and persuading businesses to be proactive in their security programs. Creating new requirements would end up being counterproductive, he said, because “people will do everything they can to do the minimum required and not the maximum.”

“It’s the simple, on the ground reality that you can’t mandate everything,” he said. “And even if you did, people would find their way around it.”

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Online Congress News, AP Business, AP Business - Corporate News
© Copyright 2022 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
UN chief: World is 'paralyzed' and equity is slipping away
In an alarming assessment, the head of the United Nations is telling world leaders that nations are “gridlocked in colossal global dysfunction” and aren’t ready or willing to tackle major challenges
11:54AM ( 15 minutes ago )
Kentucky school shooter parole decision delayed until Monday
A Kentucky man who killed three students and wounded five more in a school shooting 25 years ago will have to wait another week to learn his fate in a high-stakes hearing that could see him released or denied the chance to ever leave prison
11:48AM ( 22 minutes ago )
Fiona wallops Turks and Caicos, Puerto Rico still stunned
Hurricane Fiona is blasting the Turks and Caicos Islands as a Category 3 storm after devastating Puerto Rico, where most people remain without electricity or running water
11:38AM ( 31 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Elton John to perform at White House on Friday
Music superstar Elton John will perform at the White House on Friday evening
11:02AM ( 1 hour ago )
Trump legal team balks at judge's declassification questions
Donald Trump’s legal team has told a judge it does not want to answer his questions about the declassification status of the documents seized last month from the former president’s Florida home
9:35AM ( 2 hours ago )
Drought in Western US heats up as a Senate campaign issue
The consequences of drought and efforts to funnel billions of dollars toward securing water supplies in the West are becoming larger issues in two of the most consequential races for the U.S. Senate
8:01AM ( 4 hours ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
Congress eyes strongest response yet to Jan. 6 attack
House Democrats are voting this week on changes to a 19th century law for certifying presidential elections
12:04AM ( 12 hours ago )
Judge orders ex-Kansas cop released for jail pending trial
A former Kansas City, Kansas, police detective accused of preying on poor Black females for decades will be released from custody pending his trial
9:13PM ( 14 hours ago )
Montana to allow transgender people to change birth record
After months of defiance, Montana’s health department said it will follow a judge’s ruling and temporarily allow transgender people to change the gender on their birth certificates
7:16PM ( 16 hours ago )
AP Online Congress News
UK's Truss says she'll slash taxes despite economic crisis
U.K. Prime Minister Liz Truss said Tuesday that she’s ready to make “unpopular decisions” such as boosting bonuses for wealthy bankers in order to get the U.K.’s sluggish economy growing
11:06AM ( 1 hour ago )
Germany close to deal on nationalizing gas firm Uniper
German natural gas importer Uniper says it’s in “final discussions” with the government on a deal for Berlin to take a majority stake
10:42AM ( 1 hour ago )
NYC ending vaccine mandate for private employers on Nov. 1
New York City will lift its private-sector COVID-19 vaccine mandate on Nov. 1 but will continue to require city employees to be vaccinated against the virus
10:37AM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Business
US court awards $73 million for Venezuelan opponent's death
A federal judge in Miami has awarded $73 million in damages to the family of a prominent opponent of Venezuela’s socialist government who died while in custody in what he described as a “murder for hire” carried out by a criminal enterprise led by President Nicolás Maduro
9:34PM ( 14 hours ago )
Ukraine warns of 'nuclear terrorism' after strike near plant
A Russian missile has blasted a crater close to a nuclear power plant in southern Ukraine, damaging nearby industrial equipment but not hitting its three reactors
8:45PM ( 15 hours ago )
JBS to pay $20 million in pork price-fixing settlement
JBS has agreed to pay $20 million to settle a lawsuit with consumers that accused the giant meat producer of conspiring with other meat companies to inflate pork prices
6:42PM ( 17 hours ago )
AP Business - Corporate News
UN chief: World is 'paralyzed' and equity is slipping away
In an alarming assessment, the head of the United Nations is telling world leaders that nations are “gridlocked in colossal global dysfunction” and aren’t ready or willing to tackle major challenges
11:54AM ( 16 minutes ago )
Kentucky school shooter parole decision delayed until Monday
A Kentucky man who killed three students and wounded five more in a school shooting 25 years ago will have to wait another week to learn his fate in a high-stakes hearing that could see him released or denied the chance to ever leave prison
11:48AM ( 22 minutes ago )
Fiona wallops Turks and Caicos, Puerto Rico still stunned
Hurricane Fiona is blasting the Turks and Caicos Islands as a Category 3 storm after devastating Puerto Rico, where most people remain without electricity or running water
11:38AM ( 32 minutes ago )
Longtime NHL defenseman Zdeno Chara, 45, retires as Bruin
Zdeno Chara has announced his retirement after playing 21 NHL seasons and captaining the Boston Bruins to the Stanley Cup in 2011
11:34AM ( 36 minutes ago )
UN experts: Rights abuses continue in Maduro's Venezuela
Independent experts working with the U.N.‘s human rights body say Venezuelan authorities have failed to hold to account state-backed perpetrators of violations including arbitrary executions, sexual violence and torture of civilians
11:21AM ( 48 minutes ago )