Background Investigations

Military Espionage “Insider Threat” Case from the FBI Archives

CIA Flickr - CIA Library

I came across an interesting case about a U.S. Army soldier who attempted to sell classified information to who he thought was a Russian officer. The story, as described by the ensuing joint investigation conducted by Army Counterintelligence, Air Force Office of Special Investigations, and FBI investigators reads like something out of a Brad Thor bestseller. Stationed at a joint Army-Air Force base in Alaska in 2011, this military police soldier, who had been known to spout radical anti-government rhetoric and white supremacist views, decided to cash in on his access to classified national security information by selling it to the Russians.

See Something, Say Something

What stunned the military chain of command the most when the investigation concluded and the soldier was arrested, was that even though he had attempted to recruit others from his unit to help him gather classified materials about weapons technology, none of the other soldiers took it seriously or if they did, didn’t come forward to report the information to authorities. This case is a classic example of the “insider threat” and was the first ever of its kind in Alaska.

Given recent events involving other insiders that have compromised national security, the insider threat is one of the Intelligence Community and DoD’s biggest concerns these days and a lot of attention and focus has been expended on how to prevent it from happening again. Executive Orders, National Security Directives, DoD Instructions, and other initiatives have recently been issued and implemented in an effort to limit any future damage. Ultimately, I think it comes down to intuition and awareness by the people on the ground to be observant, question anomalies, and report information.