FBI Counterintelligence Division

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Counterintelligence Division
FBI Counterintelligence.png
FBI Counterintelligence logo
ActiveJune 1939 – present[1][2]
(83 years)
CountryUnited States
AgencyFederal Bureau of Investigation
Part ofNational Security Branch
HeadquartersJ. Edgar Hoover Building
Washington, D.C.
Assistant Director Alan E. Kohler, Jr.[3]

The Counterintelligence Division (CD) is a division of the National Security Branch of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The division protects the United States against foreign intelligence operations and espionage. It accomplishes its mission of hunting spies and preventing espionage through the use of investigation and interaction with local law enforcement and other members of the United States Intelligence Community. In the wake of the September 11, 2001 attacks, the division's funding and manpower have significantly increased.


The Counterintelligence Division is headed by an assistant director, who reports to the executive assistant director (EAD) of the FBI National Security Branch (NSB).

The current NSB EAD is Jill Sanborn, who has been leading the NSB since May 7, 2021. FBI Director Christopher A. Wray appointed Sanborn EAD.[4]

On December 21, 2015 FBI Director James B. Comey named E. W. Priestap, also known as Bill Priestap, assistant director of the Counterintelligence Division. Mr. Priestap most recently was deputy assistant director of the Intelligence Operations Branch in the Directorate of Intelligence at FBIHQ.[5]

On February 19, 2019, FBI Director Christopher A. Wray named John Brown assistant director of the FBI Counterintelligence Division.[6]

On April 24, 2020, FBI Director Christopher A. Wray named Alan E. Kohler Jr. assistant director of the FBI Counterintelligence Division.[7]


The Counterintelligence Division has three branches, each headed by a Deputy Assistant Director:[8]

  • Intelligence Branch
  • Operations Branch I
  • Operations Branch II

Each branch oversees various sections, each headed by a Section Chief.[9] Some sections include:

  • Counterespionage (CE) Section – prevents foreign intelligence agencies from gathering and collecting intelligence. Investigation of media leaks and insider threats
  • Counterproliferation (CP) Section – detect, deter, and defeat the threat posed by state-sponsored groups, individuals, and organizations attempting to acquire weapons of mass destruction or other sensitive technologies
  • Counterintelligence Strategy and Domain (CSD) Section – coordinates all FBI counterintelligence outreach to the United States Intelligence Community, academia, and the private sector
  • Economic Espionage (EE) Section – investigating economic espionage under the Economic Espionage Act[10][11]
  • Cyber Counterintelligence Coordination (C3S) Section – Leading the integration of Cyber and Counterintelligence Programs.[12]
  • Global Section – Responsible for counterintelligence matters related to all countries except Russia and China.
  • China Operations (COS3) Section
  • China Counterespionage and Technology Transfer (C2T2) Section
  • Counterintelligence Training Center (CITC) Section
  • Foreign Investment (FIU) Unit
  • National Counterintelligence Task Force (NCITF) Section
  • China Intelligence Section
  • Russia Operations Section
  • Foreign Influence Task Force Section
  • Counterintelligence Analysis Section
  • Counterintelligence Cyberspace Operations Section
  • Clandestine Operations Section


The division was first established by FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover in 1939 as the General Intelligence Division, to handle foreign counterintelligence and other intelligence related investigations. In 1941, the unit was renamed the National Defense Division. In 1943, the division's name was once again changed, this time to Security Division. After 10 years of operating as the Security Division, the unit was renamed as the Domestic Security Division in 1953. In 1973, the organization became the Intelligence Division and in 1976 transferred some of its responsibilities, including domestic terrorism investigations, to the FBI's Criminal Investigative Division. In 1993, the unit was renamed the National Security Division (NSD). The following year, the responsibility for domestic terrorism moved back to the NSD. In 1999, the FBI's Counterterrorism Division was created and took over responsibility for terrorism related investigations. In 2001, the NSD was renamed the Counterintelligence Division and three other units were branched off, the Security Division, Cyber Division and the Office of Intelligence (later the Directorate of Intelligence).[1][13]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "History and Evolution". Federal Bureau of Investigation. August 28, 2010. Retrieved August 16, 2022.
  2. ^ "National Security and the FBI Surveillance of Enemy Aliens" (PDF) – via Gale.
  3. ^ "Alan E. Kohler, Jr". Federal Bureau of Investigation. Retrieved August 16, 2022.
  4. ^ FBI National Press Office
  5. ^ FBI National Press Office
  6. ^ FBI National Press Office
  7. ^ FBI National Press Office
  8. ^ "NSB Org Chart", Retrieved on 17 June 2019.
  9. ^ "06.28.17 Interview of Peter Strzok", Retrieved on 17 June 2019.
  10. ^ ONCIX Reports to Congress: Foreign Economic and Industrial Espionage. DIANE Publishing. p. 13. ISBN 978-1-4289-5426-7.
  11. ^ United States. Congress. House. Committee on Appropriations. Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies (2013). Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations for 2014: Hearings Before a Subcommittee of the Committee on Appropriations, House of Representatives, One Hundred Thirteenth Congress, First Session. U.S. Government Printing Office. p. 229.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  12. ^ "C3S Challenge Coin", Retrieved on 17 June 2019.
  13. ^ "Timeline". Federal Bureau of Investigation. Retrieved August 16, 2022.

External links[edit]