The Mystique of Espionage

Espionage has always been an integral part of military strategy, but only in the 20th century did official intelligence agencies begin to develop and spying become a profession. It has also gained a certain mystique thanks to talented 20th century novelists.

Congress first passed the Espionage Act in 1917, just two months 심부름센터 after the United States entered World War I. The law criminalized activities considered dangerous or disloyal during wartime such as obtaining code books and blueprints with the intent to pass them to America’s enemies.


Infiltration means sneaking into a place to get secret information. This can be military infiltration of enemy rear areas or a CIA agent infiltrating the home of a target to obtain documents. The act can also be used in political life like a false flag operation. Infiltration can have other meanings in science like water soaking into soil or neuropathic pain caused by cancer cells.

In Stellaris Espionage is a new mechanic that allows you to take a range of actions against other empires. These can be as mundane as checking up on a neighbor to something more dramatic like consuming their home star. All of these actions have a cost in Influence and an upkeep in Energy Credits, but they can be worth it for the information that is gained.

Each player has a maximum Infiltration level that is modified from a base value by various events, civics, and Assets. The Infiltration cap can be seen on the diplomacy screen next to your Intel level with an arrow showing how it is trending. The Infiltration level can be raised by completing the Gather Information Operation. This will boost Intel and increase the maximum Infiltration level by +5 (stackable to a max of +20).

A hero can be sent to infiltrate any visible foreign city, but once they leave their Infiltration level begins to decay. You can slow this process by performing the Prepare Sleeper Cells Operation. This will boost the success of future Operations and freeze your current Infiltration level for a significant amount of time.


In open societies such as the United States, intelligence agencies can gather enormous amounts of information from fairly accessible sources. These include government publications, industrial expositions, business conferences and meetings of scientific groups. But some countries have less open societies, making it harder to get inside information. In those cases, spy networks operate out of embassies, consulates and business headquarters, stealing blueprints, design plans or pieces of equipment to sell to foreign governments or corporations. These spies are often hired as employees or contractors with access to the relevant information, though they must be careful not to leave behind revealing documents or technology.

Getting all that collected information into usable form can take a long time. Intelligence officers, spies, case officers and tech ops work with a myriad of tools to gather the necessary data, including human sources (HUMINT), codebreaking and aircraft or satellite photography. They may use cut-outs to transfer messages and hide their identity, or safe houses for hiding in plain sight.

The information must be narrowed down and analyzed, before it is disseminated to the decisionmakers. While espionage is a centuries-old activity, official intelligence services are relatively new, founded in the 20th century. Until recently, the profession was considered disreputable and dishonest. In the past, spies were subject to harsh penalties, including death. The Espionage Act of 1917 and the Sedition Act of 1918 sought to crack down on any wartime activities deemed dangerous or disloyal, such as acquiring defense-related information with the intent to harm the country or obtaining blueprints, signal books, photographs or other such documents to pass to America’s enemies.


The information gathered by spies and agents must be sorted, processed, and distributed. This is where the intelligence cycle truly starts to take shape.

It’s important to remember that espionage is not synonymous with “intelligence gathering.” Codebreaking (cryptanalysis or COMINT), aircraft and satellite photography, and analysis of publicly available information sources (OSINT) are all part of the intelligence-gathering discipline but they do not constitute espionage per se. For that reason, the infamous moles who defected to the Soviet Union during the Cold War are considered spies, not merely counterintelligence officers.

Spying involves obtaining secret information and transmitting that information to an enemy. The most well-known examples of espionage involve state-sponsored spying on enemy nations for military purposes. However, it is also possible to conduct espionage for corporate reasons. Such espionage is called industrial espionage and is illegal in many jurisdictions.

It is common for cyber spies to target proprietary economic information from companies such as internal research and development data, pricing information, or salary figures. This kind of information is often sold for a fraction of the cost of the company’s actual production costs, causing significant economic loss. Other types of private information targeted by cyber spies include lists of clients and the services offered to them, which can be sold to competitors for marketing or profit-making purposes.


Offensive counterintelligence aims to disrupt the long-term capability of an adversary. It might trick a foreign intelligence service into investing large resources in protecting itself from a nonexistent threat or trick a terrorist organization into believing its “sleeper” agents in a country are unreliable and must be replaced, or turn people associated with the adversary into witting double agents.

Intelligence services need a good mix of human and technical resources to succeed in counterintelligence. They will employ spies, case officers, tech ops and scientists to acquire information in a variety of creative ways. They will also use their contacts in foreign countries, and their knowledge of the adversary’s culture and history.

Spying can be dangerous, even deadly. Spies, agents and assets must be carefully vetted to ensure their loyalty, competence and motivation. Moreover, the 1917 Espionage Act imposes heavy penalties for spying and other activities that weaken or imperil national security. The lives of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, who were charged with spying for the Soviet Union, were shattered by this act.

Many governments have separate organizations devoted to counterintelligence. Others have counterintelligence and intelligence grouped together under one body, such as the FBI or CSIS in Canada. In either case, counterintelligence is a key element of the intelligence process, complementing HUMINT and enabling the agency to protect its own intelligence programs from the opposition’s counterintelligence operations.