Should the U.S. intelligence community help U.S. companies?

Should the U.S. intelligence community help U.S. companies?

If you haven’t been living under a rock, you know that many countries’ intelligence and military agencies spy on U.S. companies, stealing their intellectual property (IP) to help their own nations’ companies and their own economies. Probably billions of dollars worth of U.S. research and development is compromised and stolen every year from the U.S. government and private sector.

Of course, some of these competing companies are actually owned by their governments and are not private sector, but certainly not all of them. Foreign countries use their nations’ resources to help their own companies compete on the world stage by stealing U.S. IP.

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Obviously, the U.S. military and intelligence community have the greatest cyber capabilities in the world. So that raises several questions: Should the U.S. intelligence community and military, who practice cyber espionage, share the information they gain access to with U.S. corporations?

Is it time for the U.S. government to level the playing field by helping U.S. companies compete in the international market?

If so, what is a U.S. company? How much should the U.S. government share? Or should the government keep what they access and gather to themselves for military and intelligence community use only?

I’m interested in what readers from the private sector think, and to see if it differs from the opinions of government officials.

Looking forward to hearing your thoughts.



Jim Christy is VP of Investigations and Digital Forensics at Cymmetria. Jim retired from the U.S. government in 2013, ending a career investigating computer crimes and running digital forensics labs that began in 1986 at the Air Force Office of Special Investigations.

Jim can be reached by email at

Connect with Jim on Twitter: @jimchristyusdfc



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