Why The FBI Warned These Universities About Espionage

The FBI plans to train universities to detect potential espionage including suspicious behavior among researchers whose areas of expertise could be valuable to foreign governments.

By Rhonda Fanning November 25, 2015 2:36 pm, ,

Spies in Houston? Austin, Fort Worth, College Station, San Antonio? The FBI says you’d better believe it. Anywhere there’s a major research university, officials need to be on the lookout for espionage.

The warning to more than 100 academic and technology leaders was offered behind closed doors at the FBI’s Houston headquarters.

Special Agent Michael Morgan, a strategic partnership coordinator with business and universities for the FBI, says foreign governments “like to take advantage” of our open higher-education system and the research conducted there.

“[Foreign governments] could use it bypass the expensive research and development,” Morgan says. “Recruiting individuals for espionage, or exploiting the student visa program for improper purposes and spreading false information for political or other reasons.”

What you’ll hear in this segment:

– The rise of intellectual property theft, estimated at $4 billion a year in both business and academia

– In Houston, research in the areas of oil and gas, aerospace engineering and biomedical engineering

– How the FBI is training universities to screen for espionage threats, especially those related to sensitive technology that could be targeted