A key issue he mentions here is "in twenty years of espionage cases". Let's see, the FBI does counterintelligence in the US and has been victim to some of the worst moles in global history. They also investigate very serious incidents of espionage here in the states and to a degree, abroad.
So, that is an obvious, very critical strategy there for the FBI. What I see happening in this article is a sort of smoothing and combining of very different situations: insider threats of the Joe Blow type and insider threats of the mole variety in the FBI, defense contractors, and elsewhere.
They are two similar -- but entirely different animals.
It is way out of line to try and "get normal data patterns" in corporate America (or anywhere) to watch and see if one employee might go bad.
That is insane.
It is not out of line to consider such rigorous programs in the FBI, because counterintelligence threats and other FBI corruption situations which are similar are that serious.
You can not merge those situations together to come up with one easy push button solution. Surveillance on employees and strict paranoia like that deeply degrades workforces. It strongly impacts producitivity. With defense and policing agencies, maybe it would not.
But, as far as I can tell, these actions absolutely would not have caught Robert Hanssen or Aldrich Ames. [It definitely would not have caught Kim Philby and that sort.]
Just on consideration, from the dozens of other cases I have read of, it would not have caught them, either. I could be wrong, the FBI guy going public on such information should, above all, have more facts available.
But, NM the obvious problem: There could always be all sorts of moles in policing and intel agencies and many very well could go undetected.
It is extremely difficult to trend.
A spy's business is to be a spy and be undetected. When detected, they have made a failure in their business. One should not assume every spy, therefore is detected or has been detected.
Robert Hanssen, that is probably what the FBI most smarts from, and there were many indicators not all was right with him. A huge reason no one suspected him was because the FBI had wanted to believe The Mole could not have been in their organization.
Major fault number one. People believe what they want to believe and if you want to be good at such things you have to fight that every waking moment of every waking day.
Hanssen, was by no means a slick Kim Philby. He was accessing data he should not have had access to. He was making trips to asian countries. He was a sexual deviant who played himself up as a super religious nut job.
Above all, like Aldrich Ames and Kim Philby and many others, he was a counterintelligence go getter.
There is your pool of suspects right there. Why? Because by becoming heads of counterintelligence or otherwise moving up those ranks they gained control over what scared them the most - what threatened their lives the most - moles in the country they were working for.
"It takes a mole to catch a mole", the saying goes. Wisely.
These sorts have a lot of motives and capabilities for rising in counterintelligence. It keeps them from being caught and killed, it increases their pleasure in their fantasies of power and prestige, and it makes them much more powerful double agents. The adversary nation is capable, being the adversary, of giving them winning cases to advance in that cause. What they want, also, is data on their moles, above all. After all.
But even these characters can not give you definite, definable statistics because of the unknown quality of unknown double agents and their unknown methods of operation.
You can not, that is, say, "oh we caught X number of spies in the past thirty years and this is Y pattern of behavior" with absolute certainity because those are just the ones that were caught.
There are definitely different species of moles. There are the types that are sloppy and try and do a few jobs and get caught. Then there are the long term ones like Ames, ones other countries have run, and ones like Walker or Hanssen.
Then there is the problem of retrospective analysis. "Oh, I always knew something was funny about him". Sure, after he was caught he is no longer in your mind as someone who is definitely not a spy and now is in your mind as someone who definitely was all along.
Fact is you have to secure data, have routine and rigorous assessments on key employees, surveil key employees, keep track of unusual finances and not ignore them, watch their travel patterns, check up on their excuses for having money they should not have, and above all watch the money.
If they may be "true believers" like Philby, many of those indicators would not work, unfortunately. So pattern "who a true believer might be". Sadly, this may mean ethnic and religious profiling.