9. This is true. Foreign visitors are approved for a specific purpose that is deemed to further our interests. However, inappropriate or suspicious activity by foreign visitors attempting to deviate from the approved purpose is a common occurrence.
The United States encourages information exchanges with scientists from foreign countries, as much can be gained from international collaboration. Obviously, most visitors only do what they were invited to do. There is such a flood of visitors, however, that it is hard to know who is coming with ulterior motives. Without appropriate security precautions, it is possible to lose a great deal of classified, proprietary, or otherwise sensitive information.
Most security compromises reported from foreign visit incidents could have been prevented if U.S. personnel had been properly briefed in advance of the visit about concerns such as the following:
Hidden Agendas - Visitors sometimes pursue an agenda different from the stated purpose of the visit. They arrive to discuss program X but do everything possible to discuss, observe, or meet with personnel who work with program Y. They exploit our natural habit of being courteous to visitors.
Wandering Visitors - A foreign visitor separates from the escorted party and strays "accidentally" into other sensitive areas of the facility.
Creation of Embarrassing Incidents - When confronted about attempts to wander from the escorted party or to elicit information beyond the approved scope of the visit, visitors sometimes feign indignation and deliberately create an embarrassing scene. Often, the host attempts to be conciliatory, giving the visitors opportunities to fulfill collection objectives.
Unannounced Changes - Last minute changes in personnel may be an attempt to sneak an intelligence officer or technical expert (in a technical area that is not supposed to be a subject of the visit) into the visiting party.
Misinterpretations - U.S. personnel often fail to understand the limitations of government sponsored and non-sponsored foreign visits. For government-sponsored visits, the U.S. personnel may be under the impression that any inquiry by the foreign visitor is legitimate. For non-sponsored visits, the fact that the U.S. Government did not forbid the visit and the foreign visitors forwarded security clearances may give the U.S. personnel the mistaken impression that it is okay to discuss classified information.
Additional information, examples, and security countermeasures are discussed in Short-Term Foreign Visitors to Sensitive Installations.
Related Topics: Who's Doing What to Whom?, Espionage Against S&T Targets, Militarily Critical Technologies List, Getting Information Out of Honest People Like Me, Elicitation.