coun·​ter·​in·​tel·​li·​gence ˌkau̇n-tər-in-ˈte-lə-jən(t)s How to pronounce counterintelligence (audio)
: 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 The March meeting at the White House involved Jay Bratt, a senior counterintelligence supervisor at the Justice Department who is working full time on the classified documents investigation; an FBI agent; and the White House staffer, whose name has not been made public. Devlin Barrett, Washington Post, 29 Aug. 2023 Charles McGonigal, once head of the FBI’s counterintelligence operations in New York, pleaded guilty over his ties to a Russian oligarch. Alan Cullison, WSJ, 15 Aug. 2023 The bureau was watching the party as part of its counterintelligence program, Cointelpro. Jennie Rothenberg Gritz, Smithsonian Magazine, 22 Aug. 2023 That October, then-director James B. Comey appointed Mr. McGonigal special agent in charge of counterintelligence in New York, overseeing hundreds of agents and support staff. William K. Rashbaum, New York Times, 14 Aug. 2023 Buma’s statement to the Senate Judiciary Committee suggests that some of the internal resistance might have emanated from Charles McGonigal, a former special agent in charge of counterintelligence in the New York office. David D. Kirkpatrick, The New Yorker, 14 Aug. 2023 Washington — Charles McGonigal, the former top FBI counterintelligence official in New York, pleaded guilty Tuesday to a federal charge stemming from his work for a sanctioned Russian oligarch and close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Caitlin Yilek, CBS News, 15 Aug. 2023 Citing documents reviewed by Fox News, Herridge reported that Chen was the subject of a federal counterintelligence probe. Oliver Darcy, CNN, 2 Aug. 2023 The Polish military counterintelligence agency uses it, as does the Finnish defense forces, and Lebanon and Saudi Arabia’s intelligence service, to name just a few. WIRED, 24 July 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'counterintelligence.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1940, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of counterintelligence was in 1940

Dictionary Entries Near counterintelligence

Cite this Entry

“Counterintelligence.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


coun·​ter·​in·​tel·​li·​gence ˌkau̇nt-ə-rin-ˈtel-ə-jən(t)s How to pronounce counterintelligence (audio)
: activities of an intelligence service meant to hide the truth from an enemy or to prevent the enemy from learning secret information

More from Merriam-Webster on counterintelligence

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