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Luke Bencie discusses counter-espionage for business travelers

Luke Bencie 444x718On October 10, Luke Bencie, President of Security Management International, LLC, spoke at IWP about his new book, Among Enemies: Counter-Espionage for Business Travelers.  

He described the difference between counterespionage (which is more defensive) and counterintelligence (which can be defensive or offensive), as well as the difference between economic espionage (conducted primarily by a state sponsor) and industrial espionage (conducted by others in industry).  

Although some may be naïve about the extent to which economic espionage occurs, Mr. Bencie noted that the FBI Strategic Plan found that, next to terrorism, economic espionage is the greatest threat from other countries.  In fact, in FY12, US firms lost about $13 billion due to economic espionage.

He described what types of industrial information is most often stolen – from information about aeronautics to everyday products. He outlined some of China’s concerted economic espionage efforts, including its 863 Program and the story of Dongfan “Greg” Chung, who passed along information on the US space program.  

He outlined two main rules for business travelers: First, always assume you are under surveillance, both physical and electronic. Second, think and act like a counterintelligence officer – for instance, don’t comb your room for cameras, or you may find yourself under even more surveillance.  

Mr. Bencie told some stories about his own experiences traveling abroad, including a time when his hotel room was ransacked and the safe was opened.  He reviewed several ways in which economic espionage is conducted, including at hotels, airports, internet cafés, trade shows, in the academic world, and in consulting agreements.  Often, the person who has given up industrial secrets has no idea that any economic espionage has occurred.  

To purchase Among Enemies: Counter-Espionage for Business Travelers, please click here.