The Threat of Espionage
In April 2003, the FBI announced that it had arrested a Chinese-American woman whom the FBI claimed was a double agent spying both for the United States and for the Chinese Ministry of State Security, one of China's two main intelligence services.1 As the story unfolded, it appeared to be more than just a simple case of espionage. The agent, Katrina Leung, a naturalized American citizen, had been an active fund-raiser for the Republican Party, a well-known socialite in San Francisco, and the mistress of at least two senior FBI officials, neither of whom knew that his colleague was also bedding Ms. Leung. Although the FBI had suspicions about Ms. Leung for years, nothing was done to stop her and she was able to send secret documents, most of which she obtained from her FBI lovers, to her Chinese masters. Even Robert Mueller, director of the FBI, admitted that it was a [sad day for the FBI] coming as it did only a few years after the celebrated espionage case involving FBI agent Robert Hanssen, who spied for the Russians.
Espionage, the theft of secrets from one's enemies, adversaries or, competitors is as old as recorded history. Sun Tzu, the Chinese military philosopher wrote about the use of spies about 2,500 years ago, and spy stories appear on Babylonian tablets, in Egyptian writings, and in the Bible. One writer described it as the [second oldest profession.]2 Espionage figures sporadically throughout American history, but as so often in the world of intelligence, we only learn about it when the spy gets caught.