Espionage in the Twenty-First Century

Espionage remains “a very real threat to U.S. national security,” a House Judiciary Committee panel was told this week.

“Since the end of the Cold War, there have been 78 individuals arrested for espionage or espionage-related crimes and since the 21st century began, there have been 37 individuals arrested in the US as agents of foreign powers,” according to David G. Major, a former senior FBI official who is now President of the private Counterintelligence Centre.

In his January 29 testimony (pdf), Mr. Major presented a convenient tabulation of “Agents of Foreign Powers Arrested in the United States in the 21st Century.”

But his list erroneously includes Steven J. Rosen and Keith Weissman, former officials of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), who are charged with unauthorized receipt and disclosure of classified information.

They are not accused of espionage, nor does the U.S. Government argue that they are agents of a foreign power. To the contrary, prosecutors acknowledged in a January 30, 2006 court filing (pdf) that it is a “fact that the defendants were not agents of Israel, or any foreign nation.”

Recent espionage cases were also reviewed at the House Committee hearing by J. Patrick Rowan of the Department of Justice and Larry M. Wortzel of the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission.