coun·ter·es·pi·o·nage | \ˌkau̇n-tər-ˈe-spē-ə-ˌnäzh, -ˌnäj, -nij, Canadian also -ˌnazh;-ˌe-spē-ə-ˈnäzh;-ə-ˈspē-ə-nij\

Definition of counterespionage 

: the activity concerned with detecting and thwarting enemy espionage

Examples of counterespionage in a Sentence

He was involved in counterespionage against Germany in World War II.

Recent Examples on the Web

Shirley Mercier, 86, a CIA officer for 30 years who specialized in counterintelligence and counterespionage in the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, died Nov. 14 at a care center in Orange, Conn. Washington Post, "The story must be told.," 22 Jan. 2018 The counterespionage operation was directed by the Shin Bet and carried out with the cooperation of the Mossad, which is Israel’s national intelligence agency, and Israel’s military intelligence. Isabel Kershner, New York Times, "Israel Charges a Former Minister With Spying for Iran," 18 June 2018 Nobody who has done counterespionage work would think this is a case that’s been prosecute – would be prosecuted, ever. Margaret Hartmann, Daily Intelligencer, "The Biggest Revelations From James Comey’s ABC Interview," 16 Apr. 2018 Mandigo, who served 29 years in the FBI until his retirement in 2003, said the bureau has remained fiercely protective of its role in counterespionage, as there aren’t other law-enforcement agencies assigned to the task. Steve Miletich, The Seattle Times, "Russian spies in Seattle: Black ops, Soviet subs and counter intel in the Pacific Northwest," 28 Mar. 2018 Her areas of concentration were foreign counterintelligence, counterespionage and terrorism. Courant Community, "Community News For The West Hartford Edition," 27 Mar. 2018 But in 1996, he was given a chance to redeem himself as part of a joint CIA-FBI counterespionage operation. Drew Kann, CNN, "How a CIA traitor turned his son into a Russian spy," 28 Sep. 2017 There are walls and labyrinths that separate counterintelligence and counterespionage from criminal law. Isaac Chotiner, Slate Magazine, "Trump Can’t Kill the Russia Investigation," 25 July 2017 Mr. Dahlin, a Swedish citizen, was detained and interrogated for 23 days this year by China’s Ministry of State Security, a powerful spy and counterespionage agency. Edward Wong, New York Times, "Inside China’s Secret 23-Day Detention of a Foreign Nonprofit Chief," 9 July 2016

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'counterespionage.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of counterespionage

1899, in the meaning defined above

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Last Updated

7 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for counterespionage

The first known use of counterespionage was in 1899

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English Language Learners Definition of counterespionage

: the activity of preventing or stopping enemies from spying

More from Merriam-Webster on counterespionage Encyclopedia article about counterespionage

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evasion of direct action or statement

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