Which executive agency would most likely investigate cases of Espionage?
Which executive agency would most likely investigate cases of Espionage? Before we dive into this question, we need to understand what defines Espionage.
What is Espionage?
Espionage is a process through which secret information of the competing nation is obtained through the help of spies, secret agents, or secret devices. The information can be for any secret department such as military, political or commercial sectors. The nature of information can differ from one sector to another. It can involve analysis of diplomatic reports, statistics, publications, and broadcast. Besides corporate Espionage, it also includes spying of clandestine activities through the help of spies and secret agents who work undercover to information on behalf of an entity or nation.
In the United States of America, the agency that carries out most of the activities specified to Espionage is the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). The CIA is a civilian intelligence provider based in the USA. The agency’s task is collecting, processing, and analyzing information from around the world, to place the United States ahead of any dangers, for strategies to encounter problems that may arise in the future. The American Federal law forbids Espionage if it threatens national security or benefits the foreign nation.
Even though Espionage is illegal, it is commonly practised. After the cold war, it was accepted as a normal political strategy. Information gathering is considered an essential part of political policies; it helps the nations to stay one step ahead of their competitors. It also benefits the states in formulating future foreign policies. Espionage is unlikely to disappear. It is deeply rooted in the working of regimes.
In this article, we will look closely at Espionage, find out its history, and what techniques agents use for carrying out the process.
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History of Espionage
From the beginning of recorded history, the importance of Espionage in military affairs is recognized worldwide. Proves are found in the Iliad and the Bible for the Egyptian secret spying services. The ancient Chinese treaties presented in 500 BC were found in the works of Sun Tzu, the art of war, in which he emphasized deception and intelligence gathering, claiming that all wars are based on deception. Political Espionage became relevant during the Middle Ages, when Bishop Pierre Cauchon of Beauvais, an English spy, betrayed Joan of Arc. After this event, Sir Francis Walsingham, Former Secretary of State of the Kingdom of England, devised an effective political spy scheme for Elizabeth I.
Military Espionage was used in almost every major modern war, including the English Civil War, the American Revolution, and the Napoleonic Wars, to name a few. When the states became sovereign, the systematized Espionage became an essential part of most countries’ governments. The Former Minister of Police of France, Joseph Fouché, is known for developing the modern political espionage system model. Frederick II of Prussia, a Prussian king and military leader, is known for introducing a military espionage system.
By World War I, most of the sovereign states developed their espionage systems. The technological developments enhanced the working of espionage systems, and by WWII, most of the governments considered Espionage as the primary feature of national security. The end of WWII divided the world into two blocks, communist and capitalist blocks. Now the war was not fought with the use of weapons but with the help of propaganda and threats. The system became popular during the Cold War between the United States and USSR.
Russia had a long history of foreign intelligence and domestic security agencies ranging from the Czar’s Okhrana to the KGB (Committee for State Security), which became a threat to the USA. The United States also created the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in 1947, under the National Security Act, to conduct covert activity. Apart from this, the United States also established 13 other intelligence-gathering agencies for a better espionage system.
The history of Espionage is gloomy, but it is a mind-blowing tale of deception, subterfuge, assassination, and seduction, stretching from biblical times to high-tech surveillance operations in the post-9/11 era. It is a world full of covert operations, spies, snipers, hidden codes, and ciphers. The compelling real-life examples of spies, assassins, traitors, and double agents worldwide are found under the system of Espionage.
How does Espionage work?
The real-life spying is much different from what is shown in movies. It is dangerous, life-threatening, and sometimes illegal, yet it is accepted by regimes and practiced worldwide. It is a valuable technique of shaping foreign and domestic policies, gathering intelligence, preventing crime, and protecting a process, person, group, or object, or the investigation of crime. Panning is the key to making the right decisions. Sensitive matters require more focused and detailed information, and when it comes to the matters of national security, this information, also known as intelligence, is kept secret. Competitive governments use Espionage and other forms of spying to gain access to the information.
Collecting the Intelligence
There are different spying methods; each depends on the type of information that is to be extracted. The fundamental element of Espionage is cover and legend. The cover is a secret identity used by the agent, and legend is the background story and the documents that support the cover identity. The sensitive missions require strong cover and legend. One mistake can risk the life of the agent. The process of Espionage is long and demands patience and creativity. Once the strong cover is built, the agent might have to spend years carrying out his mission and building confidence. When he gets access to the information, he has to make sure that everything is collected. It can be done by copying the files into chips, making hard copy whilst ensuring that he is not caught on the camera.
Since the advancement in technology, the dynamics of Espionage have also changed. Now it can be practiced without sending an actual spy to collect intelligence. The use of satellites has made a significant contribution. Now it can take pictures with high resolution that helps in joining the dots. Other high-tech gadgets are used by the spies, such as super-sensitive microphones, phone wiretaps, seismic devices to track nuclear testing, and underwater sensors to locate enemy submarines.
In the intelligence community, the term ‘tradecraft’ describes sophisticated espionage techniques used by agents. It requires unique tactics of creating a creative cover, surveillance, concealment, obtaining secret information, and exchanging safe messages with other agents. Once the information is collected, it has to be passed to the officials through a secret path to be leaked. If it is not passed on through a proper channel, it can jeopardize the spy’s cover or cause the enemy to provide false information on international grounds.
Spies commonly use the dead drop method. It is a hiding spot in a public place where the agent leaves the information, attracting any attention. He then gives signals to the controllers to collect the information from that spot.
The general public never hears of espionage activities that are carried out correctly. However, espionage blunders can receive national attention, jeopardizing the nation’s security and the lives of individuals.
The next step of the espionage process is analyzing the intelligence provided by the agent. The data analysts have to be broad-minded and careful when predicting the data. They don’t collect information from one source, but they have numerous sources that provide information. The policies and strategies are then driven and written as info briefings for the leaders. The leaders then discuss the problems and take the required action favoring the nation’s security.