Unit helps protect from espionage
November 1, 2012
FORT JACKSON, S.C. -- The 902nd Military Intelligence Detachment at Fort Jackson conducts operations and investigations throughout South Carolina to detect, identify, neutralize and defeat foreign intelligence and terrorism threats to U.S. Army and selected Department of Defense forces, technologies and critical information.
What does that mean, exactly?
"We handle any type of intelligence threat," said Special Agent in Charge Ann Miranda Wardwell. "Counter intelligence detects, deters, neutralizes or exploits any type of foreign intelligence threat, whether it's to the Department of Defense, civilians or Army personnel."
Fort Jackson's counter intelligence office is an unintentional secret on post. The office's duties, possibly because of similarities in name, are sometimes confused with the Criminal Investigation Division.
"We don't have anything to do with the criminal side of the house," said Operations Officer Janice Williams. "We have nothing to do with drugs, theft, robbery or anything like that."
Wardwell said the difference is a matter of perspective.
"Say a computer is stolen," she said. "CID is concerned with who stole it. If there's classified material on it, we're concerned with whether or not it was a deliberate compromise, which can get the information and what could be done with it."
"We have an extensive community throughout South Carolina that we work with," Williams said. Those groups include the State Law Enforcement Division, the FBI, Homeland Security and local law enforcement, among others.
"We're not just here for the military, we're here for anybody," she said.
The office is tasked with handling counter intelligence operations not just for Fort Jackson, but for the state of South Carolina. Because of the amount of ground that needs to be covered, the office relies heavily on information from the public.
"We can't be everywhere," Williams said. "The Soldiers and civilians of this post are our eyes and ears. I think a lot of people don't realize there is a threat, because this is a training post. With the amount of people that come on post, we always have the insider threat that we need to be aware of."
"It's a very open post," Wardwell said, "especially when we have family visits and graduations. We try to work closely with force protection to counter anything that might happen."
There are also proactive measures conducted by the office, including personal Threat Awareness and Reporting Program briefings. These briefings are mandatory, but Williams said there's a big difference between the Internet briefings and those offered by the Fort Jackson office.
"You can go online and do it, but it takes three hours," Williams said. "With us, you get an hour-long, in-person presentation."
They also conduct travel briefings for Soldiers and civilian contractors planning to leave the country.
"If you have a security clearance and travel to these countries, you have to have travel briefings and debriefings," Williams said. "Soldiers need to do this, regardless. If you're an Army contractor or Army civilian and you travel to those countries and have a security clearance, you have to get your travel briefs."
When to call 1-800-CAll-SPY:
When unauthorized personnel ask about Army forces, secrets, technology, etc.
In case of any known, suspected or contemplated acts of espionage by any personnel.
If inappropriately searched, detained or questioned about your job while traveling in a foreign
country, or have official documents stolen or confiscated.
In case of contact with foreign military or intelligence personnel.
In case of unauthorized intrusions or theft of sensitive computer system.
In case of deliberate security violations or compromises.
In case of any domestic or international terrorist threats.
In case of discovery of technical surveillance device in sensitive areas.
In case of any diversion or attempted diversion of U.S. technology to a foreign nation.