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Historically, protecting national security meant protecting one’s own citizens and sovereign territory from the threats or opposing interests of other nation-states. The concept has broadened, however, as transnational terrorists act with unprecedented scale and range: the threats they pose are of a magnitude previously only possible for nation-states, and they act indiscriminately among the several countries they feel justified in attacking. The United States’ interest in defeating these actors, then, is one that is shared by many other countries that are not necessarily our allies in a larger sense.

In this the final episode of our three-part Security Partnership Series, we discussed the benefits and limits of partnerships with foreign government agencies for counterterrorism purposes. What conditions form the basis of a productive partnership?  How might such partnerships compromise our operations? How do we decide how much information to share?  Does partnering with a foreign country’s intelligence agency limit our own independent intelligence gathering capabilities?  Perhaps most controversially – what limits can or should be imposed on the methods used to collect the counterterrorism intelligence to be shared? Of the foreign governments that have publicly complained about the United States’ use of certain signals intelligence capabilities, do their intelligence agencies nevertheless desire the information collected? Likewise, although the United States has banned certain interrogation methods domestically, might our intelligence agencies nevertheless want to obtain human intelligence information gathered by foreign agencies using those or other similar methods?


  • Amb. Ryan C. Crocker , Dean of the Bush School of Government and Public Service, Texas A&M University
  • William K Lietzau, Vice President, Deputy General Counsel, PAE 
  • Salli A. Swartz, Partner, Artus Wise Partners 
  • Moderator: Adam Pearlman, Special Advisor to the International and National Security Law Practice Group