DIA Takes on Offensive Counterintelligence

08.12.08 | 1 min read | Text by Steven Aftergood

With the establishment of its Defense Counterintelligence and Human Intelligence Center (DCHC) on August 3, the Defense Intelligence Agency now has new authority to engage in offensive counterintelligence operations that seek to thwart foreign intelligence activities.

If defensive counterintelligence is checkers, then offensive counterintelligence is chess.

Unlike defensive counterintelligence, offensive counterintelligence is intended to “make something happen,” a DIA spokesman said last week (pdf). It may involve infiltration, active deception and disruption of opposing intelligence services. It is hard to do well.

“DIA joins just three other military organizations authorized to carry out offensive counterintelligence operations–the Army Counterintelligence office, the Navy Criminal Investigative Serve and the Air Force office of Special Investigations,” reported Pamela Hess of the Associated Press. See “DIA’s New Mission Adds to Intel Arsenal,” August 5.

The Defense Intelligence Agency described at length the origins and intended functions of the new DCHC in a news media briefing last week. The transcript is here.