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Counterintelligence is an activity aimed at protecting an agency's intelligence program from an opposition's intelligence service.[1] It includes gathering information and conducting activities to prevent espionage, sabotage, assassinations or other intelligence activities conducted for or on behalf of foreign powers, organizations or persons.

Many countries will have multiple organisations focusing on a different aspect of counterintelligence, such as domestic, international, and counter-terrorism. Some states will formalise it as part of the police structure, such as the United States' Federal Bureau of Investigation. Others will establish independent bodies, such as the United Kingdom's MI5.

The Okhrana, founded in 1880, had the task of countering enemy espionage against Imperial Russia. St. Petersburg Okhrana group photo, 1905

The Okhrana[4] initially formed in 1880 to combat political terrorism and left-wing revolutionary activity throughout the Russian Empire, was also tasked with countering enemy espionage.[5] Its main concern was the activities of revolutionaries, who often worked and plotted subversive actions from abroad. It set up a branch in Paris, run by Pyotr Rachkovsky, to monitor their activities. The agency used many methods to achieve its goals, including covert operations, undercover agents, and "perlustration"—the interception and reading of private correspondence. The Okhrana became notorious for its use of agents provocateurs, who often succeeded in penetrating the activities of revolutionary groups - including the Bolsheviks.[6]

Integrated counterintelligence agencies run directly by governments were also established. The British government founded the Secret Service Bureau in 1909 as the first independent and interdepartmental agency fully in control over all government counterintelligence activities.

Due to intense lobbying from William Melville and after he obtained German mobilization plans and proof of their financial support to the Boers, the British government authorized the formation of a new intelligence section in the War Office, MO3 (subsequently redesignated MO5) headed by Melville, in 1903. Working under-cover from a flat in London, Melville ran both counterintelligence and foreign intelligence operations, capitalizing on the knowledge and foreign contacts he had accumulated during his years running Special Branch.

Due to its success, the Government Committee on Intelligence, with support from Richard Haldane and Winston Churchill, established the Secret Service Bureau in 1909 as a joint initiative of the Admiralty, the War Office and the Foreign Office to control secret intellige

The establishment of dedicated intelligence and counterintelligence organizations had much to do with the colonial rivalries between the major European powers and to the accelerating development of military technology. As espionage became more widely used, it became imperative to expand the role of existing police and internal security forces into a role of detecting and countering foreign spies. The Evidenzbureau (founded in the Austrian Empire in 1850) had the role from the late-19th century of countering the actions of the Pan-Slavist movement operating out of Serbia.

After the fallout from the Dreyfus Affair of 1894–1906 in France, responsibility for French military counter-espionage passed in 1899 to the Sûreté générale—an agency originally responsible for order enforcement and public safety—and overseen by the Ministry of the Interior.[3]

The Okhrana[4] initially formed in 1880 to combat political terrorism and left-wing revolutionary activity throughout the Russian Empire, was also tasked with countering enemy espionage.[5] Its main concern was the activities of revolutionaries, who often worked and plotted subversive actions from abroad. It set up a branch in Paris, run by Pyotr Rachkovsky, to monitor their activities. The agency used many methods to achieve its goals, including covert operations, undercover agents, and "perlustration"—the interception and reading of private correspondence. The Okhrana became notorious for its use of agents provocateurs, who often succeeded in penetrating the activities of revolutionary groups - including the Bolsheviks.[6]

Integrated counterintelligence agencies run directly by governments were also established. The British government founded the Secret Service Bureau in 1909 as the first independent and interdepartmental agency fully in control over all government counterintelligence activities.

Due to intense lobbying from William Melville and after he obtained German mobilization plans and proof of their financial support to the Boers, the British government authorized the formation of a new intelligence section in the War Office, MO3 (subsequently redesignated MO5) headed by Melville, in 1903. Working under-cover from a flat in London, Melville ran both counterintelligence and foreign intelligence operations, capitalizing on the knowledge and foreign contacts he had accumulated duri

Integrated counterintelligence agencies run directly by governments were also established. The British government founded the Secret Service Bureau in 1909 as the first independent and interdepartmental agency fully in control over all government counterintelligence activities.

Due to intense lobbying from William Melville and after he obtained German mobilization plans and proof of their financial support to the Boers, the British government authorized the formation of a new intelligence section in the War Office, MO3 (subsequently redesignated MO5) headed by Melville, in 1903. Working under-cover from a flat in London, Melville ran both counterintelligence and foreign intelligence operations, capitalizing on the knowledge and foreign contacts he had accumulated during his years running Special Branch.

Due to its success, the Government Committee on Intelligence, with support from Richard Haldane and Winston Churchill, established the Secret Service Bureau in 1909 as a joint initiative of the Admiralty, the War Office and the Foreign Office to control secret intelligence operations in the UK and overseas, particularly concentrating on the activities of the Imperial German government. Its first director was Captain Sir George Mansfield Smith-Cumming alias "C".[7] The Secret Service Bureau was split into a foreign and counter-intelligence domestic service in 1910. The latter, headed by Sir Vernon Kell, originally aimed at calming public fears of large-scale German espionage.[8] As the Service was not authorized with police powers, Kell liaised extensively with the Special Branch of Scotland Yard (headed by Basil Thomson), and succeeded in disrupting the work of Indian revolutionaries collaborating with the Germans during the war. Instead of a system whereby rival departments and military services would work on their own priorities with little to no consultation or cooperation with each other, the newly established Secret Intelligence Service was interdepartmental, and submitted its intelligence reports to all relevant government departments.[9]

For the first time, governments had access to peacetime, centralized independent intelligence and counterintelligence bureaucracy with indexed registries and defined procedures, as opposed to the more ad hoc methods used previously.

Collective counterintelligence is gaining information about an opponent's intelligence collection capabilities whose aim is at an entity.

Defensive counterintelligence is thwarting efforts by hostile intelligence services to penetrate the service.

Offensive counterintelligence is having identified an opponent's efforts against the system, trying to manipulate these attacks by either "turning" the opponent's agents into d

Defensive counterintelligence is thwarting efforts by hostile intelligence services to penetrate the service.

Offensive counterintelligence is having identified an opponent's efforts against the system, trying to manipulate these attacks by either "turning" the opponent's agents into double agents or feeding them false information to report.[10]

Many governments organize counterintelligence agencies separately and distinct from their intelligence collection services. In most countries the counterintelligence mission is spread over multiple organizations, though one usually predominates. There is usually a domestic counterintelligence service, usually part of a larger law enforcement organization such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation in the United States.[citation needed]

The United Kingdom has the separate Security Service, also known as MI5, which does not have direct police powers but works closely with law enforcement especially Special Branch that can carry out arrests, do searches with a warrant, etc.

The Russian FederationThe United Kingdom has the separate Security Service, also known as MI5, which does not have direct police powers but works closely with law enforcement especially Special Branch that can carry out arrests, do searches with a warrant, etc.

The Russian Federation's major domestic security organization is the FSB, which principally came from the Second Chief Directorate and Third Chief Directorate of the USSR's KGB.

Canada separates the functions of general defensive counterintelligence (contre-ingérence), security intelligence (the intelligence preparation necessary to conduct offensive counterintelligence), law enforcement intelligence, and offensive counterintelligence.

Military organizations have their own counterintelligence forces, capable of conducting protective operations both at home and when deployed abroad.[11] Depending on the country, there can be various mixtures of civilian and military in foreign operations. For example, while offensive counterintelligence is a mission of the US CIA's National Clandestine Service, defensive counterintelligence is a mission of the U.S. Diplomatic Security Service (DSS), Department of State, who work on protective security for personnel and information processed abroad at US Embassies and Consulates.[12]

The term counter-espionage is really specific to countering HUMINT, but, since virtually all offensive counterintelligence involves exploiting human sources, the term "offensive counterintelligence" is used here to avoid some ambiguous phrasing.

Other countries also deal with the proper organization of defenses against Foreign Intelligence Services (FIS), often with separate services with no common authority below the head of government.

France, for example, builds its domestic counterterror in a law enforcement framework. In France, a senior anti-terror magistrate is in charge of defense against terrorism. French magistrates have multiple functions that overlap US and UK functions of investigators, prosecutors, and judges. An anti-terror magistrate may call upon France's domestic intelligence service Direction générale de la sécurité intérieure (DGSI), which may work with the Direction générale de la sécurité extérieure (DGSE), foreign intelligence service.

Spain gives its Interior Ministry, with military support, the leadership in domestic counterterrorism. For international threats, the National Intelligence Center (CNI) has responsibility. CNI, which reports directly to the Prime Minister, is staffed principally by which is subordinated directly to the Prime Minister's office. After the March 11, 2004 Madrid train bombings, the national investigation found problems between the Interior Ministry and CNI, and, as a result, the National Anti-Terrorism Coordination Center was created. Spain's 3/11 Commission called for this Center to do operational coordination as well as information collection and dissemination.[13] The military has organic counterintelligence to meet specific military needs.

Frank Wisner, a well-known CIA operations executive said of the autobiography of Director of Central Intelligence Allen W. Dulles,[14] that Dulles "disposes of the popular misconception that counterintelligence is essentially a negative and responsive activity, that it moves only or chiefly in reaction to situations thrust upon it and in counter to initiatives mounted by the opposition." Rather, he sees that can be most effective, both in information gathering and protecting friendly intelligence services, when it creatively but vigorously attacks the "structure and personnel of hostile intelligence services."[15] Today's counterintelligence missions have broadened from the time when the threat was restricted to the foreign intelligence services (FIS) under the control of nation-states. Threats have broadened to include threats from non-national or trans-national groups, including internal insurgents, organized crime, and transnational based groups (often called "terrorists", but that is limiting). Still, the FIS term remains the usual way of referring to the threat against which counterintelligence protects.

In modern practice, several missions are associated with counterintelligence from the national to the field level.