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Espionage Defense

  • Technology and the Internet can facilitate the theft of U.S. government intel.
  • Individuals who attain or easily have access to this information sometimes sell or offer such information to other governments for many reasons, including an intent to injure the interests of the United States.
  • Federal agencies such as the FBI and CIA routinely investigate such offenses jointly, resulting in the sharing of information and increase in federal prosecutions.
  • The U.S. government prosecutes espionage with little mercy due to the high risk involved in losing its defense and intelligence strategies to a foreign government or foreign enemy.
  • Being sued or investigated in connection with an espionage charge can be confusing and worrisome when considering the cost of a federal prosecution and potential for jail time and criminal penalties.
  • Consider placing an experienced defense attorney on your team to prepare a legal strategy in your favor to combat espionage accusations.

Experienced Defense Team

Dr. Nick Oberheiden
Attorney Nick OberheidenDrone Law Defense Team Lead
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If you have been charged or are being investigated for espionage, you need an experienced defense attorney on your side today. Now is the time to take prompt action in your defense.

Various federal agencies such as the FBI and CIA coordinate their efforts to investigate and prosecute individuals expected of engaging in espionage. The U.S. government expends a significant amount of time, money, and energy in prosecuting espionage.

But it is equally possible that such accusations are based on misleading or unsubstantiated claims. You need an individualized defense strategy. Get in touch with an experienced defense attorney today.

An espionage charge can destroy your business and personal life in a matter of seconds. Do everything possible to defend your rights and career. We are here to help.

At Oberheiden, P.C., our attorneys are highly qualified in preparing detailed and personalized defense plans to combat espionage charges. We have the resources, expertise, and passion needed to help you.

Our attorneys include former FBI agents, former U.S. attorneys, and former prosecutors. With this interdisciplinary background and inside perspective, we can give you the best chance of success to fight these accusations.

Espionage charges could result in significant jail time, criminal penalties, and could even subject you to the death penalty in certain states.

The stakes are high. Hire an experienced attorney at Oberheiden, P.C. to fight for your liberty and reputation.

What is Espionage?

Espionage is the practice of accumulating and transmitting confidential information relating to the defense of the United States. It usually involves spying or using spies to covertly obtain confidential information relating to the internal communications, structure, and other plans of a nation to the advantage of a foreign government.

Espionage is usually committed with the purpose of injuring or causing some type of harm to the United States. It could also refer to the reckless or gross negligence in leaking information to a foreign government, one which is likely hostile to the interests of the United States or actively working against the United States in some respect.

With the rise of the Internet and various online capabilities, the risk of online spying is also significant. When an individual uses the Internet or some other online device to steal confidential information, it is called cyber espionage.

Cyber espionage refers to espionage committed via online networks or computers to obtain any confidential information about the individual, corporate competitor, group, or government, to their disadvantage. It is usually committed by utilizing malicious software, spyware, virus, and/or Trojan horses.

A specific kind of espionage is called industrial or corporate espionage. This involves the theft of trade secrets or other confidential information about the internal plans, operations, and communications of a corporation.

Specifically, what is stolen from the company is something that is non-public and otherwise confidential such as formulas, business plans, trade secrets, or financial statement information.

Industrial or corporate espionage most likely occurs by one company against another. These two companies are more often than not in stiff competition with one another.

In the following sections, we will briefly explain some common examples of espionage, the laws regulating espionage, how a typical investigation unfolds, and, most importantly, what you can do to protect yourself.

Put our highly experienced team on your side

Dr. Nick Oberheiden
Dr. Nick Oberheiden



Lynette S. Byrd
Lynette S. Byrd

Former DOJ Trial Attorney


Brian J. Kuester
Brian J. Kuester

Former U.S. Attorney

Amanda Marshall
Amanda Marshall

Former U.S. Attorney

Local Counsel

Joe Brown
Joe Brown

Former U.S. Attorney

Local Counsel

John W. Sellers
John W. Sellers

Former Senior DOJ Trial Attorney

Linda Julin McNamara
Linda Julin McNamara

Federal Appeals Attorney

Aaron L. Wiley
Aaron L. Wiley

Former DOJ attorney

Local Counsel

Roger Bach
Roger Bach

Former Special Agent (DOJ)

Chris Quick
Chris J. Quick

Former Special Agent (FBI & IRS-CI)

Michael S. Koslow
Michael S. Koslow

Former Supervisory Special Agent (DOD-OIG)

Ray Yuen
Ray Yuen

Former Supervisory Special Agent (FBI)

Examples of Espionage

There are many different examples of espionage situations:

  • Accumulating or transmitting damaging information about the U.S. government including but not limited to its defense, military operations, aircrafts, and foreign affairs.
  • Delivering confidential information about the United States to a foreign government.
  • Abusing one’s inside status and credentials in order to steal confidential information or to take pictures of high-priority infrastructure operations and then deliver this information to a foreign government or individual antagonistic to the United States.
  • Aiding, abetting, or harboring an individual wanted by the U.S. government for espionage or suspected espionage.
  • Disclosing weaponry, military, and technology secrets of the U.S. government.

Espionage Laws

Espionage laws can be used to prosecute both spies and non-spies.

There are two federal laws that have been passed to prosecute espionage: (1) the Espionage Act of 1917 and (2) the Economic Espionage Act of 1996.

The Espionage Act of 1917 is a federal law that was passed right after the United States entered World War I. While it has been amended several times, it establishes strict penalties for individuals engaging in efforts to impede the U.S. government and its military through spying as well as for disclosing confidential information to foreign governments and foreign enemies.

The Economic Espionage Act of 1996 prohibits anyone from acquiring trade secrets with the purpose of benefiting a foreign government or foreign enemy of the United States. It protects everything of confidential quality that has economic value.

The Economic Espionage Act includes industrial espionage, as discussed above. A foreign competitor targeting, acquiring, and disclosing economic intelligence such as trade secrets about an American company and the using such information to the disadvantage of the owner is economic espionage.

How Espionage Investigations Work

The FBI is one of the federal agencies responsible for identifying and investigating ongoing national security threats to the nation, specifically within the FBI’s Counterintelligence Division. The CIA is also responsible for heading most law enforcement efforts relating to espionage.

However, the FBI often coordinates its enforcement efforts with other agencies such as the CIA, which is deeply involved in prosecuting individuals suspected of organizing against the U.S. government.

The jail time and criminal penalties involved with a charge of espionage can be very serious and may involve a permanent criminal record, life in prison, and irreparable damage to your reputation. It may also include disbarment, deportation, and loss of visa eligibility. In some states, the prosecutor could seek the death penalty.

Why so severe? Because revealing secrets about the intelligence of the United States to a foreign country or foreign enemy is considered treason.

The crime and potential for punishment are brutal. Do not wait. You need an attorney specialized in handling complex cases of espionage and one who is willing to fight for you.

How to Respond If You’ve Been Charged/Arrested in Connection with Espionage

A charge of espionage can be devasting to your career, reputation, and personal life. The criminal penalties, jail time, and the severity of both make espionage of one the most serious charges against an individual.

A serious charge needs a serious defense team, one dedicated to putting your needs and success first. Do not wait another minute before contacting a defense attorney and exploring your legal options. We can help with that.

The federal criminal process can be very lengthy, sometimes spanning months or years. Do not wait to be dragged into a protracted government investigation.

Do not divulge any information to a federal agent without first discussing with your attorney. Understand your rights.

The defense attorneys at Oberheiden, P.C. have the experience and knowledge needed to prepare your defense to fight these accusations, however severe they may be. Let us help you.

If you are charged and need help preparing your defense, call us today or contact our office for a free consultation.

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