from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
Volume 2011, Issue No. 49
May 24, 2011

Secrecy News Blog:


A new counterintelligence directive requires all Department of Defense personnel to report a wide range of suspicious activities and behavior to counterintelligence officials. The directive effectively deputizes millions of military and civilian employees of the Department as counterintelligence agents or informants. If they do not report any of the specified activities, they themselves could be subject to punitive action.

"Potential FIE [Foreign Intelligence Entity] threats to the DoD, its personnel, information, materiel, facilities, and activities, or to U.S. national security shall be reported by DoD personnel," the new directive states.

"DoD personnel who fail to report information as required... may be subject to judicial or administrative action, or both, pursuant to applicable law and regulation," it says. See DoD Directive 5240.06, "Counterintelligence Awareness and Reporting," May 17, 2011:

The directive lists numerous actions that are subject to mandatory reporting including "attempts to obtain classified or sensitive information by an individual not authorized to receive such information" and "requests for DoD information that make an individual suspicious, to include suspicious or questionable requests over the internet or SNS [social networking services]."

The directive employs the relatively new term "Foreign Intelligence Entity," which includes non-governmental organizations based abroad that use intelligence techniques to gather US government information or to influence US policy. The new phrase did not appear in the official Department of Defense Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms as recently as a year ago, though it is included in the latest edition of the Dictionary.

A Foreign Intelligence Entity is defined in the directive as "any known or suspected foreign organization, person, or group (public, private, or governmental) that conducts intelligence activities to acquire U.S. information, block or impair U.S. intelligence collection, influence U.S. policy, or disrupt U.S. systems and programs. The term includes foreign intelligence and security services and international terrorists."


A recent article in the Army's Military Intelligence Professional Bulletin argued that Document and Media Exploitation, or DOMEX -- which refers to the analysis of captured enemy documents -- should be recognized and designated as an independent intelligence discipline.

"Without question, our DOMEX capabilities have evolved into an increasingly specialized full-time mission that requires a professional force, advanced automation and communications support, analytical rigor, expert translators, and proper discipline to process valuable information into intelligence," wrote Col. Joseph M. Cox.

"The true significance of DOMEX lies in the fact that terrorists, criminal, and other adversaries never expected their material to be captured," Col. Cox wrote. "The intelligence produced from exploitation is not marked with deception, exaggeration, and misdirection that routinely appear during live questioning of suspects."

See "DOMEX: The Birth of a New Intelligence Discipline" which appeared in the April-June 2010 issue of Military Intelligence Professional Bulletin, pp. 22-32.

The last six issues of Military Intelligence Professional Bulletin, the U.S. Army's quarterly journal of intelligence policy and practice, are newly available through the Federation of American Scientists website.

Although the Bulletin is unclassified and approved for public release, the Army has opted not to make it publicly available online. Instead, it was released under the Freedom of Information Act upon request from FAS . The latest issues address topics such as HUMINT Training, Cross-Cultural Competence, and Intelligence in Full-Spectrum Operations.

Not all of the articles in the Bulletin are of broad interest or of significant originality. But many of them are informative and reflective of current issues in Army intelligence.

An Intelligence Community Directive (ICD 302) on "Document and Media Exploitation" was issued by the Director of National Intelligence on July 6, 2007.


With its overwhelming emphasis on technical collection, U.S. military intelligence is poorly equipped to meet the requirements of the counterinsurgency mission, according to a recent study by the Defense Science Board.

"Many, if not most, specific COIN [counterinsurgency] ISR [intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance] requirements are population-centric and are not exclusively solvable with hardware or hard, physical science scientific and technical (S&T) solutions," the DSB report said. "One senior intelligence officer with years of field experience pointed out that 80 percent of useful operational data for COIN does not come from legacy intelligence organizations."

Among other things, "the defense intelligence community does not have the foreign language and culture depth and breadth necessary to plan and support COIN operations," according to the DSB.

See "Counterinsurgency (COIN) Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) Operations," Defense Science Board, February 2011 (released May 2011):


Secrecy News is written by Steven Aftergood and published by the Federation of American Scientists.

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