What are The Ten Commandments of Counterintelligence?

James M. Olson is the former Chief of CIA Counterintelligence and the author of Fair Play: The Moral Dilemmas of Spying.

After 31 years of chasing Soviet KGB secrets and jumping out of moving cars for the Central Intelligence Agency, James Olson shares his thoughts on his Ten Commandments of Counterintelligence. Olson, a veteran of the CIA’s clandestine service, takes readers inside the real world of intelligence to describe the difficult dilemmas that field officers face on an almost daily basis. Far from being a dry theoretical treatise, this fascinating book uses actual intelligence operations to illustrate how murky their moral choices can be.

Readers will be surprised to learn that the CIA provides very little guidance on what is, or is not, permissible. Rather than empowering field officers, the author has found that this lack of guidelines actually hampers operations. Olson believes that U.S. intelligence officers need clearer moral guidelines to make correct, quick decisions. Significantly, he believes these guidelines should come from the American public, not from closed-door meetings inside the intelligence community. Fair Play will encourage a broad public debate about the proper moral limits on U.S. intelligence activities.

Olson’s Ten Commandments of Counterintelligence

  1. Be Offensive
  2. Honour your Professionals
  3. Own the Street
  4. Know your History
  5. Do Not Ignore Analysis
  6. Do Not Be Parochial
  7. Train Your People
  8. Do Not Be Shoved Aside
  9. Do Not Stay Too Long
  10. Never Give Up

An insightful read for those in our industry and an eye-opener for our corporate clientele. Please see the following article for a detailed overview of Mr Olson’s Ten Commandments of Counterintelligence.

For other advice on Digital Forensic Investigations and Counterintelligence Services, please do not hesitate to call NSI for a confidential consultation.


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