coun·​ter·​in·​tel·​li·​gence | \ ˌkau̇n-tər-in-ˈte-lə-jən(t)s How to pronounce counterintelligence (audio) \

Definition of counterintelligence

: organized activity of an intelligence service designed to block an enemy's sources of information, to deceive the enemy, to prevent sabotage, and to gather political and military information

Examples of counterintelligence in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Attorney General William Barr picked Durham in May to examine what led the U.S. to open a counterintelligence investigation of President Donald Trump's 2016 campaign. Dave Collins, Anchorage Daily News, "Prosecutor reviewing Russia probe known for tenacity, ethics," 1 Nov. 2019 But in counterintelligence that’s probably not the answer. Melissa Del Bosque, ProPublica, "Border Agents Can Now Get Classified Intelligence Information. Experts Call That Dangerous.," 1 Nov. 2019 Durham is examining what led the U.S. to open a counterintelligence investigation into the Trump campaign and the roles that various countries played in the U.S. probe. Michael Balsamo,, "Justice Department review of Russia probe is now a criminal investigation; Trump says expect it to reveal ‘really bad things’," 25 Oct. 2019 Agents overtly investigated Clinton’s use of a private e-mail server but kept secret their counterintelligence investigation into the Trump campaign., "Review of Russia inquiry grows as FBI witnesses are questioned - The Boston Globe," 20 Oct. 2019 The situation grew more tense when the informant at first refused, citing family concerns — prompting consternation at CIA headquarters and sowing doubts among some US counterintelligence officials about the informant’s trustworthiness., "Rescue of CIA spy left blind spot at Kremlin - The Boston Globe," 11 Sep. 2019 Even though the review passed muster, the source’s rejection of the C.I.A.’s initial offer of exfiltration prompted doubts among some counterintelligence officials. New York Times, "C.I.A. Informant Extracted From Russia Had Sent Secrets to U.S. for Decades," 9 Sep. 2019 In 2018, Boone returned to Los Angeles to oversee counterintelligence operations, including the case of a computer programmer allegedly working for the North Korean government. Jessica Anderson,, "She’s traveled the world on some of the FBI’s biggest cases. Now she’s running its Baltimore field office," 16 Sep. 2019 Montoya, the former FBI counterintelligence official, said., al, "US officials have long known Saudis spirited criminal suspects home but chose not to confront ally," 26 Apr. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'counterintelligence.' 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 counterintelligence

1940, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of counterintelligence was in 1940

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Last Updated

14 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Counterintelligence.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 13 December 2019.

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How to pronounce counterintelligence (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of counterintelligence

formal : activity meant to hide the truth from an enemy or to prevent the enemy from learning secret information

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easily led, controlled, or managed

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