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Counterespionage/Counter Proliferation Efforts

Counterespionage/Counter Proliferation Efforts

The U.S. Attorneys’ offices also work on the investigation and prosecution of cases affecting national security, foreign relations, the export of military and strategic commodities and technology, matters relating to espionage, sabotage, neutrality, atomic energy, and criminal cases involving the application of the Classified Information Procedures Act.

For example, the following types of matters are prosecuted by the U.S. Attorneys’ offices, in partnership with NSD’s Counterespionage Section:

Espionage – 18 U.S.C.§ 792 et seq. The espionage provisions deal with documents, material, or information, related to the national defense and activities such as gathering, transmitting to an unauthorized person, or losing information pertaining to the national defense, and to conspiracies to commit such offenses, and the willful communication of classified information concerning codes or communications intelligence or related materials to an unauthorized person.

Espionage Related Offenses Treason 18 U.S.C. §§ 2381 and 2382. The crime of treason is covered in 18 U.S.C. § 2381. It proscribes levying war against the U.S. and giving comfort to the enemy. Misprision of treason is also unlawful. 18 U.S.C. § 2382.

Computer Espionage 18 U.S.C. § 1030(a)(1). It is unlawful to knowingly access a computer without authorization, or beyond the scope of one’s authorization, and thereby obtain information that has been classified for national defense or foreign relations reasons with the intent or reason to believe that such information is to be used to the injury of the U.S. or to the advantage of a foreign nation

Communication or Receipt of Classified Information 50 U.S.C. § 783. It is unlawful for any officer or employee of the U.S., or of any federal department or agency, to communicate to any person whom he or she knows or has reason to believe to be an agent of a foreign government, any information classified by the president or by the head of such department or agency as affecting the security of the U.S., knowing or having reason to know that such information has been so classified. Conversely, it is unlawful for a foreign agent knowingly to receive classified information from a U.S. government employee, unless special authorization has been obtained.

Disclosing Intelligence Identities 50 U.S.C. § 421. The Intelligence Identities Protection Act prohibits the unauthorized disclosure of information identifying certain U.S. intelligence officers, agents, informants or sources.

Foreign Agents 18 U.S.C. § 951. It is unlawful for foreign agents to act as such without notifying the Attorney General, unless the agent is entitled to a statutory exemption from the registration requirement.

Export Administration Act 50 U.S.C. App. §§ 2401 to 2420. The Export Administration Act, and the rules and regulations promulgated thereunder, prohibit the exportation of strategic goods and technologies without a license from the Department of Commerce.

Arms Export Control Act 22 U.S.C. § 2778. The Arms Export Control Act and the rules and regulations promulgated thereunder, prohibit the importation and exportation of arms, ammunition and implements of war without a license from the Department of State. Violations are investigated by the Customs Service.

Trading With the Enemy Act 50 U.S.C. App. § 5(b)/Foreign Assets Control. Pursuant to the Trading With the Enemy Act, the Secretary of the Treasury has promulgated regulations prohibiting unlicensed transactions between U.S. nationals and certain designated foreign countries and their nationals.

International Emergency Economic Powers Act 50 U.S.C. § 1701 et seq. Pursuant to the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, the president is granted authority to declare a national emergency with respect to any unusual and extraordinary threat, which has its source outside the U.S., and to take action to meet that threat including the imposition of controls over property in which any foreign country or a national thereof has an interest.

The U.S. Attorneys’ offices, in partnership with NSD’s Counterespionage Section, prosecute the following criminal provisions affecting, involving, or relating to the national security:

  • 2 U.S.C. § 192 (Contempts of Congress Related to National Security)
  • 8 U.S.C. § 1185(b) (Travel Controls of Citizens)
  • 18 U.S.C. § 219 et seq. (Officers and Employees of the United States Acting as Foreign Agents)
  • 18 U.S.C. § 791 et seq. (Espionage; Unauthorized Disclosure of Classified Information)
  • 18 U.S.C. § 951 et seq. (Neutrality Laws)
  • 18 U.S.C. § 1030(a)(1) (Computer Espionage)
  • 18 U.S.C. § 1542 et seq. (Passport Violations Related to National Security)
  • 18 U.S.C. § 1924 (Unauthorized Removal and Retention of Classified Documents or Material)
  • 18 U.S.C. § 1831 (Economic Espionage)
  • 18 U.S.C. § 2151 et seq. (Sabotage)
  • 18 U.S.C. § 2381 et seq. (Treason, Sedition and Subversive Activities)
  • 22 U.S.C. § 611 et seq. (Foreign Agents Registration)
  • 22 U.S.C. § 2778 (Arms Export Control Act)
  • 42 U.S.C. § 2274 to 2278, 2284, and other Atomic Energy Violations that Affect National Security (Atomic Energy Act)
  • 50 U.S.C. § 421 (Intelligence Identities Protection Act)
  • 50 U.S.C. § 782 et seq. (Communication of Classified Information by Government Officer or Employee)
  • 50 U.S.C. § 851 et seq. (Registration of Person who has Knowledge Concerning Espionage Activities)
  • 50 U.S.C. § 1701 et seq. (International Emergency Economic Powers Act)
  • 50 U.S.C. § 2401 et seq. (Export Administration Act)
  • 50 U.S.C. App. § 5(b) (Trading With the Enemy Act)
Updated December 8, 2014