QSL Security – Monthly Briefing: “Elicitation”

July 2017


On June 22, 2017 various news outlets reported yet another case of espionage committed by a former State Department Security Officer and cleared defense contractor. Kevin Patrick Mallory, a Virginia resident, has been charged with selling Top Secret information to Chinese Intelligence Agents and now faces life in prison (links below). According to the affidavit, Mallory traveled to Shanghai back in April and was interviewed by customs where he failed to declare $16,500.00 in cash which was found in his carry-on bags. Mr. Mallory is a prime example of the increasing number of Insider Threat related cases that are continuing to surface each month. His frequent unreported foreign travel and noticeable financial gains which were not in line with his current salary range should have been potential red flags for anyone who worked closely with him.

Chinese intelligence agents used various elicitation techniques to persuade Mr. Mallory into delivering defense information to China. Money is frequently used as a recruitment tool, but there are also various other methods such as; appealing to the target’s ideology, ego, need for revenge, or using black mail. Understanding these techniques and the threat may help you detect and deflect elicitation attempts.

This Brochure will provide everyone an introduction to elicitation and various techniques foreign intelligence officials use to gather information. Because elicitation can be difficult to recognize, you should always report any suspicious conversations or noticeable activity to your designated security official. If you believe someone has tried to elicit information from you in the past or present, please report the situation to your Facility Security Officer immediately!