Voltaire believed that illusion is the first of all pleasures.
Edgar Allan Poe has said that that the purest pleasure, the most elevating and the most intense, is derived from the contemplation of the beautiful.
Beauty, intelligence, and other characteristics, form our impression of a person and the assumptions we make. A cognitive bias leads us to find excuses when we break the rules for a person we like. A beautiful person is often a good excuse.
People engage in sexual activity to feel alive, to feel desirable or attractive, to achieve closeness, and they want to please their partners in many ways, even when they sometimes betray their country and their partner.
People often love their country and their spouse or partner, but they have also fantasies that are negative and destructive. There have fantasies linked to a desire to give up control, or to break free from the constraints that society places on them. They may want to be dominated, to feel some form of pain, to have a threesome, to engage in public sex, to have sex with many people, to watch others, to have sex with a stranger, a prostitute or a stripper, to be photographed or filmed, to have sex with someone of a different age, sometimes under 18 years old.
Intelligence agencies love fantasies that involve illegal or socially unacceptable behaviour, like child sexual abuse. Their target becomes very vulnerable to a suitable mix of blackmail and bribery. Illusion management and the expectations of pleasure are core tools, so they are managing sex as a commodity, they are weaponizing intimate personal attachments, and they are training handsome men and beautiful women to exploit weaknesses and passion.
Sex is a prime motivator and a common denominator for all. According to Sigmund Freud, eroticism is the balance between the aesthetic and the moral.
Spies learn that sexual desire involves biology and psychology, and exploit the interplay of biological factors such as neurohormones, and psychological factors such as emotions. The release of neurochemicals such as oxytocin and dopamine can play strange games, not only to lonely persons, but also to everyone that dreams a great intimate relationship.
There are some easy targets, like sex addicted persons, and spies learn how to identify them. Sex addiction and hypersexuality refers to constant sexual thoughts and desires, an excessive, sometimes pathological interest in sex. This is quite similar to the addiction to alcohol, opioids, or stimulants. People that feel an overwhelming compulsion fight an uphill battle to take control of something that’s on autopilot.
Compulsive sexual behavior - CSB (or sex addiction), is a disorder featuring repetitive, intrusive, and distressing sexual thoughts and behavior that negatively affect many aspects of an individual’s life. It is characterized by repetitive and intense preoccupations with sexual fantasies, that are distressing to the individual and/or result in psychosocial impairment (Fong, Reid, Parhami).
Emotional stress, too overwhelming to address it, is often the root of addictive behavior. Spies can create scenarios that lead to emotional stress, to lead their targets to addictive behavior.
What can we do about that?
Well, this is a difficult question. On the negative side, there is no consensus on how sexual desires and practices should be evaluated in an information security or even national security context. On the positive side, awareness and training, preventive and detective controls, segregation of duties, but even self-control and strength of character can help.
When sexual behavior leads to criminal behaviour, when it is compulsive or out of control, or indicates a personality disorder or broader emotional problems, our approach must be different, as such persons are very easy targets for foreign intelligence agencies.
The Director of Central Intelligence Directive 1/14 (DCID 1/14), Personnel Security Standards and Procedures Governing Eligibility for Access to Sensitive Compartmented Information (SCI), was approved by the Director of Central Intelligence (DCI) on 22 January 1992. The text has been modified by a later revision, dated 2 July 1998. We read:
"The following adjudicative guidelines are established for all U.S. government civilian and military personnel, consultants, contractors, employees of contractors and other individuals who require access to Sensitive Compartmented Information (SCI). They apply to persons being considered for initial or continued eligibility for access to SCI and are to be used by government departments and agencies in all final SCI access determinations."
"Sexual behavior is a security concern if it involves a criminal offense, indicates a personality or emotional disorder, subjects the individual to undue influence or coercion, or reflects lack of judgment or discretion."
"Conditions that signal security concern and may be disqualifying include:
(1) sexual behavior of a criminal nature, whether or not the individual has been prosecuted;
(2) compulsive or addictive sexual when the person is unable to stop a pattern of self-destructive or high-risk behavior or that which is symptomatic of a personality disorder;
(3) sexual behavior that causes an individual to be vulnerable to undue influence or coercion;
(4) sexual behavior of a public nature and/or that which lack of discretion or judgment."
"Conditions that could mitigate security concerns include:
(1) the behavior occurred during or prior to adolescence and there is no evidence of subsequent conduct of a similar nature;
(2) the behavior was not and there is no evidence of subsequent conduct of a similar nature;
(3) there is no other evidence of questionable judgment, irresponsibility, or emotional instability;
(4) the behavior no longer serves as a basis for undue influence or coercion."
"Conduct involving questionable judgment, untrustworthiness, unreliability, or unwillingness to comply with rules and regulations could indicate that the person may not properly safeguard classified information.
The following will normally result in an unfavorable SCI access action or administrative termination of further processing for access eligibility:
(1) Refusal to undergo or cooperate with required security processing, including medical and psychological testing; or
(2) refusal to complete required security forms, releases, or provide full, frank and truthful answers to lawful questions of investigators, security officials or other official representatives in connection with a personnel security or trustworthiness determination.
Conditions that signal security concern and may be disqualifying also include:
(1) reliable, unfavorable information provided by associates, employers, coworkers, neighbours, and other acquaintances;
(2) the deliberate omission, concealment, or falsification of relevant and material facts from any personnel security questionnaire, personal history statement, or similar form used to conduct investigations, determine employment qualifications, award benefits or status, determine SCI access eligibility or trustworthiness, or award fiduciary responsibilities;
(3) deliberately providing false or misleading information concerning relevant and material matters to an investigator, security official, competent medical authority, or other official representative in connection with a personnel security or trustworthiness determination;
(4) personal conduct or concealment of information that increases an individual's vulnerability to coercion, exploitation or pressure;
(5) a pattern of dishonesty or rule violations;
(6) association with persons involved in criminal activity."
Emotional, mental, and personality disorders
"Emotional, mental, and personality disorders can cause a significant deficit in an individual's psychological, social and occupational functioning. These disorders are of security concern because they may indicate a defect in judgment, reliability or stability."
"When appropriate, a credentialed mental health professional, acceptable to or approved by the government, should be consulted so that potentially disqualifying and mitigating information may be fully and properly evaluated.
Conditions that signal security concern and may be disqualifying include:
(1) a diagnosis by a credentialed mental health professional that the individual has a disorder that could result in a defect in psychological, social, or occupational functioning;
(2) information that suggests that an individual has failed to follow appropriate medical advice relating to treatment of a diagnosed disorder, e.g. failure to take prescribed medication;
(3) a pattern of high-risk, irresponsible, aggressive, antisocial or emotionally unstable behavior;
(4) information that suggests that the individual's current behavior indicates a defect in his or her judgment or reliability.
Conditions that could mitigate security concerns include:
(1) there is no indication of a current problem;
(2) recent diagnosis by a credentialed mental health professional* that an individual's previous emotional, mental, or personality disorder is cured or in remission and has a low probability of recurrence or exacerbation;
(3) the past emotional instability was a temporary condition (e.g., one caused by a death, illness, or marital breakup), the situation has been resolved, and the individual is no longer emotionally unstable."
Our Opinion: What should happen in the private sector?
We often read that the public sector must learn from the private sector. We strongly believe that the opposite is more important. The private sector must learn from the public sector. When sensitive information must be protected, person with problems described above may not properly safeguard classified information.
Cyber Risk GmbH
Tel: +41 79 505 89 60
We process and store data in compliance with both, the Swiss Federal Act on Data Protection (FADP) and the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The service provider is Hostpoint. The servers are located in the Interxion data center in Zürich, the data is saved exclusively in Switzerland, and the support, development and administration activities are also based entirely in Switzerland.
Understanding Cybersecurity in the European Union.