Unlike the outsider, the insider has time
on their side and the ability to select the most vulnerable target at the most opportune
time. An insider can slowly conduct their attack over time in order to avoid detection,
increasing the likelihood of success. This was seen in the Smirnov case. Furthermore,
along with the ability to commit an act, the insider has the ability to deny others from
successfully completing their jobs, for example by denying access to or altering important
information. An example of this is the Robert Hanssen case.
Hanssen was an FBI counterintelligence officer who began spying for the KGB in 1985. Using
his access, he voluntarily passed highly classified national security and counterintelligence
documents to Soviet intelligence officers in return for diamonds and large quantities
of cash. As a counterintelligence officer, he could monitor the FBI’s surveillance of
the KGB and lead investigators down false trails, which allowed him to continue leaking
classified information for an extended period of time. Although for 16 years he successfully
denied investigators the ability to do their job and detect his crimes, Hanssen was eventually
caught, tried, and convicted, but not before causing irreparable harm to national security.