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Re: Economic Espionage?

On Wed, 30 Aug 1995, Timothy C. May wrote:

> Date: Wed, 30 Aug 1995 22:22:13 -0700
> From: Timothy C. May <[email protected]>
> To: [email protected]
> Subject: Economic Espionage?
> At 1:25 AM 8/31/95, Tatu Ylonen wrote:
> >> >It was said that Pres. Clinton had given a speech while
> >> >visiting the  CIA HQ in Langley/Virginia. He allegedly
> >> >said in this speech that obtaining  industrial
> >> >informations has the highest priority and this were the
> >> >new  task for the spies.
> >
> >There was a fairly large article about this in Helsingin Sanomat, the
> >largest newspaper in Finland, some weeks ago.  It was quoted as being
> >originally from the New York Times.  (I have the clip saved at home
> >and can check the date if anyone is interested.)
> >
> >I do find it rather shocking that the most powerful country in the
> >world sets industrial espionage as the primary task of their
> >intelligence services.
> What confirmation can you give us for this statement?

Primary task is indeed a bit of a stretch, but published and 
unpublished sources are floating about that it has become more of a 
focus.  You don't need an insider tip for that.

> I'd like to see the actual comments, not just second-hand reports.

I've seen now three clippings posted or mentioned on the list.  Two with 
quotes.  This is hardly new.  It's been done and accepted in the 
intelligence community for quite some time.  It's getting press because 
it's new and trendy- and to some degree because there's an increased 
emphasis in the last few years.

> The issue of economic surveillance has come up several times, and I know of
> no formal policy to institute such a program.

A formal policy has exisited at CIA for over 2 years (I don't know how 
much over 2 years) now to collect industrial espionage and there is even a
desk which co-ordinates it.  I'll send you (in private e-mail) a name of an
attorney at CIA who will probably talk with you about the subject.  He's about
as open as CIA gets.

 The U.S., with generally
> multiple competitors in each market, would have a hard time figuring out
> who to tell "foreign secrets" to. Would Ford be told? Or just General
> Motors?

C'mon Mr. May.  We both know that that's hardly a hard decision.  Ford 
has been so cooperative with our endeavors of late, they will get the 
information way before GM will.

Seriously, what makes you think this is any less a political decision 
than the question of who to spy on?  You can't honestly believe that CIA 
or any other intelligence agency cares much about the equity of giving 
information to some parties and not others?  The information will go to 
who is currently on the "in" list, and those who are unlikely to spread 
the source of the sudden rash of contract bid victories.  Large U.S. 
corporations would do well to try to align themselves with the 
intelligence communities if they do much bidding against foreign firms.  

Try talking to the business intelligence people (who regularly debrief 
U.S. businessmen returning for foreign countries on a volunteer basis.)

If you play it right, my attorney friend will probably tell you a bit 
about the program.  Of course, I would appreciate it if you failed to 
mention me, though I doubt he'd know who "Black Unicorn" was anyhow.  
(Justification for pseudonyms 'punks)

>What about companies with operations in multiple countries?

Depends on:

1. The amount of espionage activity in a given country.
2. The amount of cooperation between CIA and the company in question.

> Former DIRNSA (Director of the NSA) William Odom has said repeatedly that
> economic espionage cannot plausibly be a central task of the NSA.

Mostly because the NSA's primary goal is large scale sigint and cryptography 
and these are less useful than humint in industrial espionage. 

C'mon Mr. May, this is basic divide and deny / plausible deniability 
here.  Since the NSA doesn't make it a central task, none of the 
intelligence agencies do?

(I'm constructing humint to include installing a tap on a single phone 
outside the negotiating room and such.)  These are not tasks for the NSA but
for an agency with extensive field operatives and flexibility, which the NSA 
lacks.  Also note that the NSA is so heavily geared for diplomatic 

I think this list sufferes a great deal from its arrogance in assuming 
the NSA is really as interested in U.S. citizens as the list would
like to suppose.  NSA makes a wonderful threat model, but like all good threat
models, it is at the extreme to very extreme end.  Does the NSA cooperate 
with federal law enforcement and other domestic activites?   Sure.  Is it 
more than a side project here and there - not really.  Does it care much 
about Industrial Espionage?  Not unless the CIA asks for sigint on 
industrial targets.

> Before anyone accuses me of being an apologist for the NSA (usually these
> claims arrive anonymously),

I won't, but they seem to have thrown you for a loop through a 
combination of an over-estimation on your part of their function and 
an over-extending of the reach of their denial.

> I've been looking for evidence of an economic
> intelligence role or mission of the U.S. intelligence agencies for more
> than 7 years.

You've been looking too early, and when you've looked early, you've 
looked for too big.  When was the last intelligence SUCCESS you have 
read about?  They don't do everything wrong.  In any event, no one 
thought it was a good idea (on a major scale anyhow) up to a pair of years ago
or so.  Bush proposed it at one time casually and was delt a backhand 
rather quickly.  I remember an article in the NYT about it written back 
just before he left CIA.  Of course this really meant that they had been doing
more and more of it and were looking to cover even more significant 
activities.  Japan was the trendy target then.

I suggest you concentrate your interest on the business intelligence 
program which has been talking to U.S. businessmen who travel abroad for 
some 10 years, and really uped the ante these last two.  Look also at 
documents listed in "Former Secrets:  Government Records Made Public 
Through the Freedom of Information Act."  (E. Hendricks)  or "Center for 
National Security Studies, From Official Files: Abstracts of Documents on 
National Security and Civil Liberties."  A great resource is also the 
National Security Archive in Washington, D.C.  (Scott Armstrong of the 
Washington Post is a co-founder)

The sugar industry is another nice place to take a look.

> Let's see some evidence.

Ask yourself which companies have close relations with the CIA in 

IBM. (duh)

AT&T.  (Check the connection with the recently floundering Mexician 
Telecom companies).  See _U.S. v. Americian Telephone and Telegraph Co._,
551 F.2d 384 (1976);  _U.S. v. (AT&T)_, 567 F.2d 121 (1977) for a nice idea
of the long term relationship between AT&T and CIA. 

e-systems wins contracts all the time.  Look there.  They're publicly 
held, ask for a prospectus and see what public foreign contracts they've 
announced of late.  There's your starting list of past industrial espionage 

It's not all that hard.  95% of intelligence information is 
available publicly, and maybe 10% of it is available in the newspapers.  

> --Tim May
> ---------:---------:---------:---------:---------:---------:---------:----
> Timothy C. May              | Crypto Anarchy: encryption, digital money,
> [email protected]  408-728-0152 | anonymous networks, digital pseudonyms, zero
> Corralitos, CA              | knowledge, reputations, information markets,
> Higher Power: 2^756839      | black markets, collapse of governments.
> "National borders are just speed bumps on the information superhighway."

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