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501: An Overview of Critical Counterintelligence Issues

501: An Overview of Critical Counterintelligence Issues

LENGTH: 5 days

Our flagship counterintelligence course; taught since January 1995 to thousands of Intelligence Community personnel.

This course focuses on the evolution of the legal, organizational and ethical aspects of counterintelligence and security over the past 100 years.

It is designed to increase the number of personnel who have a broad and current understanding of the development of the counterintelligence discipline in the US.

We highlight the historical consequences of ignoring counterintelligence and the strategic importance of a robust national CI program.

We examine the period from 1916-1954, including intelligence collection by and US the response to the German IIIB during WWI, the enactment in 1917 of The Espionage Act, and Japanese and Nazi espionage before and during WWII.

A comprehensive examination is made of the nexus between communism and Soviet espionage during the period the USSR was our "ally.” We examine in-depth a number of the 235 spies exposed by VENONA, highlighting the deep penetration of the OSS, and later the impact on CIA/FBI relationships and the political and government response and lack of response to the truth of espionage.

We examine the ethical implications of doing it "wrong” with a detailed discussion of the Angleton era and its impact on the CIA covering the period 1954 to 1974. A detailed analytical case study of the widely held myth of "The False Defector” and asset validation is included to challenge the student's ability to evaluate the key concept that CI is the "art of the probable, not the art of the possible.”

The course includes a detailed examination of the the Ames case and concludes with a discussion of CI today.

Contact us for more information or to schedule:

703-642-7450       1-800-779-4007       Contact Form

• AMU graduate credit is available to all (past and present) students who have attended 501. Learn more.
Commercial Off-the-Shelf (COTS) course already developed
• Buy easily & quickly with flat COTS rates
• Ready to be taught to your organization right now
• Provided at your location or our training facility
• Classroom size maximum 30 students, auditorium size maximum 500
• On GSA Schedule: Already negotiated best price for government

Read what attendees say about this course:


What did you learn in this course that will help you in your career and profession?

  • "The way of thinking about CI is invaluable.”

  • "The history of espionage that will allow me to know what to look for in the future.”

  • "Learning the history and building a foundation has been the main thing I learned and find it very valuable.”

  • "Lessons learned from CI history. Value of protecting information. How other services target us. The profound damage caused by those within our services that spy against us.”

  • "Analyst of process to screen out possible spies or personnel; historical information on Cold War and WWII spies; additional information re DA and FA officers.”

  • "To stay vigilant, continue to educate myself for the rest of my career, but to also remind to teach younger recruits to do so.”

  • "The fog of war—to always stand up no matter how junior.”

What will you do differently as a result of this knowledge?

  • "Gave me a better road map for analysis.”

  • "It allows me to have a new view on the idea of CI within our country.”

  • "I will have a better perspective certainly. I will remind myself not to go into the ‘rat hole' of perceptions and pre-judgments.”

  • "Easier to recognize present and future CI vulnerabilities with a solid understanding of the past.”

What did you like best about this course and why?

  • "All the information, the engagement, and energy.”

  • "Examples, examples, examples. Each were directly related to current issues but were related to past events.”

  • "The end discussion with Gen. Kalugin. The opportunity to hear him is unique and one I believe the IC at large would benefit from.”

  • "I liked the interactive, upbeat, non-threatening nature of the course. There is no doubt that this course is intense and filled with great information.”

  • "The extensive research and presenter knowledge on this subject matter—incredibly impressive.”

  • "I appreciated lectures on the Angleton era and its legacy, and realize how significant it was. The discussions of significant cases were phenomenal.”

  • "The way the course was presented as a journey through CI history. It explained why agents and the government reacted at times and the reason.”

Overall Evaluation of the Course:

"This course is an excellent introduction to the world of counterintelligence. I would consider this course very important for anyone working in the discipline of security. I learned so much valuable information in this course and I will apply this knowledge in my everyday duties.”

"I learned a lot about CI that I would not have learned without the class. I think it is very important for my colleagues to take this class, now more than ever. In my first week on my own, I had CI info given to me and I wasn't prepared. If I knew then what I know now it would have helped tremendously.”

"The class gave me information and a background to use in conducting investigations and how I can be more professional in knowing my craft. I have much reading to do to get on top of my game. Thank so much for helping me become more critical about how my work and IC came to be. I really look forward to taking another class with you.”

"Excellent course. I learned more in one week than I learned in college.”

"Excellent. Need by ALL.”

"It was all new info so it had great impact on me.”

"The information was extremely interesting and potentially invaluable. It alerted me to different types of indicators in the spy world. It is shocking to see just how much was going on right under our noses. A very good course.”

"A great course that provided much needed information and perspective about the history of CI in the US. I plan to be more mindful of how my actions impact on people's lives and the perception of CI and security."

"Very informative and eye-opening. I enjoyed both the history and case analysis."

"A well-spent five days which proved to be extremely beneficial and informative. EVERYONE should be required to take this course. I'm going to read more about our history in regards to CI via some of the books presented."

"There should be more training for all employees about spies and CI and how to recognize red flags."

"This was an excellent course. As CI investigators, we must all be aware of the history of CI, learn from their mistakes and their accomplishments. People forget about the past because they think their own present is so important and unique. The morality and ethics part of this course were extremely valuable. This is very pertinent in today's world (this type of thinking and questioning)."

"Thank you so much for the books! Building an intelligence library is something I wanted to do, but did not know where to start. I'm going to maintain the awareness and appreciation for the history I've learned here, avoid repeating the past."

"Extremely beneficial course. This class has helped me to become more aware of CI issues."

"This was one of the best classes I have taken. Mostly because of the awesome speakers! Thank you very much!"

"Great course, both informatively and as a learning tool. The benefits outweigh any time off from my primary duties! Thank for you for knowledge and instilling the desire to learn more to improve my abilities. Presenters were outstanding!!"

"I can't wait to take more CI Centre courses. Keep up the good work."

"Instructors are very entertaining, knowledgeable and professional. I would highly recommend your seminar. Thank you very much!"

"Very engaging! Make this course mandatory for the entire IC. Educate!!!"

"Best professional continuing education that I have ever had in 20+ years.”

"Education and training is the first step in improving CI within the US Government. We should focus on making everyone aware.”

"Overall, most impressive course I've ever taken for my job. It was engaging and encouraged me to look at situations in new ways. Instructors were fantastic as were the PowerPoint presentations.”

"I really enjoyed this course! The way in which the information was presented opened my eyes to a new way of thinking. I got a lot from this class and found out so much I never even knew happened. I enjoyed how far back in history we went and how past occurrences of espionage affected future occurrences of spies/espionage. I am sad to see the week come to a close as I thoroughly enjoyed myself. As a result of this class, I'm going to pay more attention to detail and try to be more conscious about how I represent security.”

As a result of this class, I have a better general awareness of my place in my organization and the importance of my job.”

"This has been one of the best CI courses I've taken in my 2.5 year career. Not only did it give me a better appreciation of CI history and its impact on past and present US events, it made me even more aware of how important the CI mission is today to all USG activities. Overall, wonderful material and excellent presentations. I learned a lot and thoroughly enjoyed the class and my classmates from across the IC. This class exceeded my expectations and I would recommend this to my colleagues.”

"I'm a lot more aware of CI issues—great course.”

"This was my third course at the CI Centre. I should've taken this course first. Excellent course! I really enjoyed the evolution of CI in America. Everyone in CI should have this background into CI. I look forward to reading the books given in this class. This will add to my CI knowledge. I will recommend this course to others in my office.”

"Overall an extremely clear, concise course of knowledge and information, most of which was previously unknown to me. I have never attended a better course. I leave with a great deal of respect for Mr. Major and his entire staff.”

"Really, really well presented—love the use of PowerPoint. This class gave me a lot of buy-in for my organization's security policies.”

"Very entertaining and enlightening course. I'm new to the CI community and this course helped me immensely in learning, as well as understanding, the history and methodologies of CI and espionage through the years. I've taken two courses so far, and have enjoyed the interaction with the instructors, as well as with the members of the other government agencies. Everyone has been very professional and approachable.”

"This was a very comprehensive and eye-opening class. It has given me great insight to the history, and ‘whys' and ‘wherefores' of our profession, and how we have evolved into the community of today. I look forward to future courses and would recommend this class to every CI professional.”

"This course was a real eye-opener. I had never begun to perceive how much espionage was actually going on in our country. As a result of this course, I believe that I am a lot more interested in CI and that I will read a number of these books that we had discussed in the class to further my knowledge in regards to these areas of information.”

"This course was well prepared, researched and given. The lectures were excellent and well thought out. Excellent presentation and guest speakers were great. Overall a great presentation.”

"Love the course, should be required for everyone with a security clearance. Oleg is great, wonderful asset to the course. Handouts and books are excellent.”

"Really liked the detailed history, the way it was presented and the foundation it laid for the subject of CI. Also liked the way CI was woven into each bit of history. The music during breaks was great!”

"This should be a mandatory course for those entering the CI field. Great job!!!”

"The presentation materials were an outstanding example of preparedness. Mr. Major and his colleagues are extremely knowledgeable and excellent speakers. I would describe them as CI historians. I will encourage my co-workers to take this course because the insightful historical nature of the course will make them more effective CI program managers.”

"This course impacted me in more ways than I could disclose. The way history was presented kept the class engaged and interested in the story being told. This course has reinforced the reasons of adding value to the Intel Community. Definitely, I will be pursuing my career in the IC. Thank you for allowing me to attend this course.”

"The course brought an in-depth knowledge of CI issues that I never considered.”

"Presentation was especially excellent. The mix of video presentation and verbal presentation was superb!”

"Great course. I learned so much about historical events that help shape the current CI community and mentality. I plan to conduct additional research on past espionage cases and convictions.”

"As a result of this course, I have a great degree of understanding of our history, especially our alternating cycles between both extremes of CI. This course already helped—the phrase ‘CI is the art of the probable, not the possible' has been used in current discussions back at the office.”

"This is a course I wish I had prior to starting my career in CI. It gives an excellent background and emphasis on the importance of CI. I wish our leadership could attend this course. I will, however, recommend that as many CI agents attend this class as possible.”

"Eye-opening course on the history of spying.”

"This course has definitely sparked an interest in me to purse more knowledge on the history of CI and America's response to it and an increased awareness of current CI issues. I will be reading some of the recommended books as a result.”

"This is one of the best foundation courses I have ever taken as a USG employee. Content/presentation/value in terms of CI basics cannot be overstated in the positive.”

"Good course, definitely leaving with more knowledge/perspectives than I arrived with. Thanks for putting this together and sharing it with the community. Honest identifications of flaws/lessons learned was invaluable.”

"Great course, recommend this type of training to all personnel involved with counterintelligence duties.”

"I will spread the word in my office that employees should take this course. In fact, they should take all your courses.”

"As always—exceptional instructors, material and course!”

"Very interesting—I have a lot of reading to do now!”

"This course was excellent! It gave me a good foundation of CI issues in the past and what to look for in the future.”

"Great course! Allowed me to understand potential vulnerabilities in programs and personnel. Also enhanced ongoing investigations.”

"Great course. Provides very good history of CI successes and failures throughout the last 90 years. Conveyed information successfully on what to do/not to do regarding the response to CI issues.”

"This is a wonderful CI history course and is definitely the basis for more advanced and current CI issues.”

"Excellent course overall. I would recommend this as a primer for any new CI intelligence officer. Probably a good refresher for mid or senior level folks too! This course helped me to broaden my historical knowledge and to think more critically about issues that in CI are now always as obvious or easy as they first appear.”

"This is the best CI course I have ever taken. The knowledge gained is invaluable.”

"This course provided the CI foundation I was missing. I have always understood its importance, but it puts it into perspective after hearing the history throughout the 20th century.”

"One of the best courses I have taken. All instructors were outstanding.”

"I developed a good foundation of CI that will be beneficial in my job. I liked the variety of presentation styles.”

"I actually did not have any appreciation or even good knowledge of what CI actually is before taking this course. I will take more courses and bookmark on my computer.”

"The course has opened up my eyes on the history of spies against the US and how prevalent the problem it was and still is.”

"This was a great course. I think anyone in CI needs to take this course.”

"Very informative and worthwhile course. Excellent instruction and materials.”

"Great class. I wish I learned a lot of this material while I was in school. I will definitely continue on with 502 and 503. Excellent training environment.”

"Very dynamic course!!! As for my job, I will be more open to changes and more observant of what information we are gathering and how this information can or will be used in future cases.”

"This is an excellent course. The course showed me how events in history affected the intelligence business. It showed that history tends to be circular and CI throughout history has swung back and forth like a pendulum in response to influential events. I also learned that in practicing CI, one can get paranoid, develop tunnel vision and become close minded to opposing views or one can also be too lax. I plan on keeping these things in mind as I journey through my career and I plan to make sure I ask the right questions to get all the details conducting investigations. I plan on encouraging other security people to attend this course.”

"I have a much greater understanding of how the community views CI. This course illustrates how CI shifts from security of cleared employees to offensive efforts against foreign intel services. I'm happy getting these awesome books!”

"Excellent background course that should be mandatory for all new officers.”

"This course opened my eyes to the world of espionage and the threat of doing nothing.”

"The most important thing that I took away from this course is validate information.”

"Made me appreciate CI even more. Well done historical perspective. Thank you! Very professional. Will recommend. Thanks for the books. Very professional and challenging instructors.”

"Prior to this course, I knew very little about CI. The broad overview as well as the in-depth look at various topics was incredibly helpful. I will recommend this course to others. As a result of this course, I will always remember to consider all sides of an issue and try to be a student of CI history.”

"I would highly recommend to many of my colleagues. I can't say enough!! One of the best courses I have taken over the last 20 years. Thank you!”

"The entire course was a wealth of information. My knowledge base is greatly improved.”

"I enjoyed the balance of lecture/PowerPoint with video clips—definitely made the information come to life. Never thought the day would come that I'd actually be excited to discuss history when home at night. Thank you for providing real-life cases tied to events that might otherwise be forgotten. Continue with widespread education to show the need for CI. As a result of this class, I'm going to continue to be aware of the risks and promote the need for effective CI. Also to avoid groupthink and tunnel vision.”

"Well done, well presented, never dull. Highly beneficial for me professionally.”

"As the pendulum swings wildly from extreme to extreme, courses like this help to steady it in the middle. Developing awareness and caution at the same time so cases can be pursued professionally. CI can be seen as a professional endeavor with integrity and honor, rather than a bunch of paranoid zealots or dead-end do-nothings. The history and trends are so important to understand because of the impact we have now. Hopefully we can learn from the mistakes and continue to improve the acceptance and professionalism of this critical service. Re Ames Investigation Case Study: An excellent study in how a determined, yet not over-zealous, professional analysis can lead to uncovering the truth.”

"The entire course was presented in a logical sequence that really brought home where we've been, our growing pains, and hopefully the extremes that we do not want to duplicate in the future. Let us truly LEARN and not just react from past mistakes. As a result of this class, I will not under rate the importance of CI!”

Re Great Mole Hunt for Sasha: "Great information! Definitely demonstrates the need to validate all information in CI investigation files, and speak up when you believe wrongdoing is occurring (on US investigation side). With a better understanding of CI and its history, I will work harder at the office knowing it will reap returns in the future.”

"As a result of this class, I will continue to focus on the past and the lessons learned. I think reflecting on the Angleton mess helps keep current CI officers honest.”

"The course is great. I haven't found any other classes that provide such a great background on CI. I really enjoyed the history stuff that it appears most of the class was not aware of. I look forward to taking more classes with the CI Centre because the topics are well chosen, very relevant and well presented.”

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