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Generations, of U.S. counterintelligence officers have sniffed out foreign agents by sifting through their personal lives. A fat bank account was a flashing red light, as were signs of newfound wealth (like the pricey Jaguar purchased by the infamous CIA mole Aldrich Ames with the aid of Soviet funds). Anything that made a U.S. employee in a sensitive post vulnerable to blackmail set off alarms--a drug habit, for example, or sexual practices that could lead to embarrassment if exposed.

But the days of relying on those signals could be over. According to a March Pentagon study titled Changes in Espionage by...

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