Several agencies engage in counter-espionage, but officials of the agencies insist that official U.S. policy bars spying on foreign companies and governments.
On the other hand, President Clinton has been giving priority to economic intelligence in foreign policy. Intelligence sources claim that the CIA has scored several successes in commercial spying (see ).
In , Stansfield Turner, an intelligence director during the Carter administration, is cited as: "If economic strength should be now recognized as a vital component of national security, parallel with military power, why should America be concerned about stealing and employing economic secrets?" This shows that despite official denials economic espionage has also for the U.S. always been an important topic.
This is strengthened by a presidential statement, U.S. President Clinton made 1994 (): "[...] the intelligence community must track political, economic, social and military developments in those parts of the world [...] where overt collection of information from open sources is inadequate. Economic intelligence will play an increasingly important role in helping policy-makers understand economic trends. [...]"