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Nation-State Research Activities as a Deniable Cover for Espionage

In the June 2022 edition of the White Paper Series, the Intelligence & Analysis Division examines the foreign nation-state practice of utilizing legitimate scientific/research objectives, programs, and vessels as a deniable cover for espionage activities. U.S. adversaries such as Russia and China have been accused of such activity in recent years, to include the suspected tapping of undersea communications cables and the placing of undersea acoustic sensors near U.S. Naval hubs. In many of these cases, “dual-use” technology capable of both scientific and intelligence-gathering purposes was utilized, allowing deniability for U.S. adversaries.

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