The National Counterintelligence Executive, Mr. Robert Bryant, recently noted that, "Insider threats remain the top counterintelligence challenge to our community."
An insider threat arises when a person with authorized access to U.S. Government resources, to include personnel, facilities, information, equipment, networks, and systems, uses that access to harm the security of the United States. Malicious insiders can inflict incalculable damage. They enable the enemy to plant boots behind our lines and can compromise our nation's most important endeavors.
Over the past century, the most damaging U.S. counterintelligence failures were perpetrated by a trusted insider with ulterior motives. In each case, the compromised individual exhibited the identifiable signs of a traitor – but the signs went unreported for years due to the unwillingness or inability of colleagues to accept the possibility of treason.
Insiders who seek to harm U.S. security interests normally are either long-term plants or they are people who have been lured to betray their nation for ideological reasons, a lust for money or sex, or through blackmail. Mankind's methods may change – but core motivations do not.
Insiders convicted of espionage have, on average, been active for a number of years before being caught. Today more information can be carried out the door on removable media in a matter of minutes than the sum total of what was given to our enemies in hard copy throughout U.S. history. Consequently, the damage caused by malicious insiders will likely continue to increase unless we have effective insider threat detection programs that can proactively identify and mitigate the threats before they fully mature.
Relevant Reports, Briefings & Reading Material:
- David L. Charney, M.D.: True Psychology of the Insider Spy