By Bill Gertz
THE WASHINGTON TIMES
January 3, 2007
Foreign spies are stepping up efforts to obtain secret U.S. technology
through methods ranging from sexual entrapment to Internet hacking, with
China and other Asian countries leading the targeting of U.S. defense
"The apparent across-the-board surge in activity from East Asia and
Pacific countries will continue in the short term as gaps in
technological capability become apparent in their weapons-development
processes," the latest annual report by the Defense Security Service
counterintelligence office stated.
"The globalization of defense business will increase the threat from
strategic competitors who will use legitimate business activities as a
venue to illegally transfer U.S. technology," the report said, noting
that the use of third countries to disguise collection will continue as
a common tactic.
The report provides details of the methods used by foreign technology
spies, from simple verbal requests for information to purchases of
controlled technology and -- in at least one case -- the use of a woman
who seduced a contractor into providing his computer password.
Other methods included offering marketing services to contractors,
spying during visits to U.S. companies and the use of "cultural
commonality" to obtain technology.
The report did not identify the 106 countries that are engaged in the
collection activity, but other defense officials said the most active
technology spies are working for China, Russia and Iran. Other
collectors of U.S. technology were identified as agents working secretly
for Israel, Japan, Britain, France, Germany, Egypt and United Arab
Emirates, the officials said.
The unclassified 2006 report, "Technology Collection Trends in the U.S.
Defense Industry,"  was approved for release in June, but only
recently made available to defense contractors and government agencies.
A copy was obtained by The Washington Times. It is based on
counterintelligence reports from contractors and other data through
Space systems, lasers and missile- and radar-evading stealth technology
are among the most sought-after U.S. technologies, the report said.
Other key targets include information systems, modeling and simulation
technology, optics, aeronautics, sensors, explosives, electronics and
The report said the largest percent of the 971 spying incidents detected
during the latest reporting period came from East Asia and the Pacific
with 31 percent of all incidents, while the Near East accounted for
about 23 percent. About 19 percent of the incidents emanated from
Eurasia and 13 percent from South Asia.
The report provides several cases showing how foreign spies have tried
to obtain technology, through simple verbal requests, covert computer
hacking and clandestine intelligence activities.
One case revealed in the report involved an East Asian company that
sought to obtain classified technology related to U.S. unmanned aerial
vehicles (UAVs), a cutting-edge U.S. military technology.
The Asian representatives showed up at a classified facility at the U.S.
defense company uninvited and tried to "observe the repair" of
previously purchased unclassified systems.
The report said the "aggressive effort" to visit the company appeared to
be a "veiled attempt to collect information on other high-interest UAV
programs at the facility." It was the fourth time since 2003 that the
company sought UAV goods.
Several U.S. defense contractors have reported that between October 2005
and January 2006 they found radio-frequency transmitters hidden in
Canadian coins that were planted on them after they traveled through
Canada, according to the report.
Subscribe to InfoSec News