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Nat Sec Eco Espo
The anonymous post of the White House's National Security
Science and Technology Strategy recalls debate on this policy
underlying reports on CIA economic espionage:
Clinton instructs CIA to focus on trade espionage - report
Los Angeles, Jul 23 (Reuter) - President Clinton has ordered
the Central Intelligence Agency to make economic espionage a
top priority, according to a report in the Los Angeles Times
The report quotes American intelligence sources who say the
CIA was instrumental in providing U.S. trade negotiators
information during heated auto trade talks with Japan this
spring, and has helped uncover bribes by rival nations
competing with U.S. firms for government contracts.
The sources say Clinton has issued a classified set of
intelligence priorities for the post Cold-War era, and that
the CIA is providing case officers with new training on
economic matters to meet the new challenge.
The recent trade talks with Japan were viewed as a success of
the new policy, according to the Times report. It said U.S.
Trade Representative Mickey Kantor was pleased with the CIA's
ability to report on the bargaining positions of American
But the agency has reportedly been less willing to spy on
individual companies. In one recent success in that area the
CIA discovered that the French were offering bribes to
Brazilian officials to help telecommunications giant Thompson
win a government contract. The report says intelligence
information helped U.S.-based Raytheon Co. elbow out Thompson
of France to win the work.
But the problem in such work, say intelligence sources, is
determining which multinational corporations based in the
United States should be considered "American" firms deserving
assistance. Because of this confusion, CIA officials argue
they should be kept out of spy work targeting individual
foreign business at the behest of U.S. corporations.
Even so, the Times report says the intelligence community has
told Congress it can claim credit for uncovering bribes
affecting $30 billion in foregin contracts over the past few