Journalist or corporate mole? FBI tips make difference difficult to detect

Federal Bureau of Investigation | Security Management

The FBI has posted a list of traits of corporate spies, and Security Management's Carlton Purvis says they'd have helped identify Joe Muto as the Fox Mole: "What Muto did wasn’t exactly espionage," Purvis writes, "but Fox News would no doubt categorize him as an insider threat."

The trouble with this theory is that the FBI's tip list sounds a lot like your average Mediabistro job listing, or lines from a pretty good annual review. Possible moles:

• "work odd hours without authorization."

• "take proprietary or other information home in hard copy form and/or on thumb drives, computer disks, or e-mail."

• "unnecessarily copy material, especially if it’s proprietary or classified."

• "disregard company policies about installing personal software or hardware, accessing restricted websites, conducting unauthorized searches, or downloading confidential material."

• "engage in suspicious personal contacts with competitors, business partners, or other unauthorized individuals."

• "buy things they can’t afford."

• "are overwhelmed by life crises or career disappointments."

  • Andrew Beaujon

    Andrew Beaujon reported on the media for Poynter from 2012 to 2015. He was previously arts editor at and managing editor of Washington City Paper. He's the author of the 2006 book "Body Piercing Saved My Life," about Christian rock and evangelical Christian culture.


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