• Kristian Risvig Lindballe Holm
This thesis examines espionage activities, in the form of disinformation and influence operations, conducted by China and Iran. Espionage and counterintelligence operations is a crucial element in every nation’s national security. Especially in times of conflict, such as the current Ukraine/Russia conflict, where nation’s gets excluded from various cooperation and trading opportunities as a result of political sanctions.

The method in this thesis is based on a systematic review, in order to be able to systematically collect relevant literature on espionage operations carried out by China and Iran, after which the literature is critically assessed and synthesized. The systematic review is based on the guide Doing a Systematic Review: A Student's Guide and Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines in order to conduct a systematic review as accurately as possible.

The literature shows that China and Iran have two different strategies when it comes to espionage, but what they both have in common is that as authoritarian states, they provide their intelligence services with wide authority to conduct these intelligence operations. China and Xi Jinping are primarily focusing on industrial espionage and try to polish the international view of themselves, and appear responsible to their own citizens and allies, where Iran primarily has a defensive strategy to protect themselves from foreign states, mainly the US, dissidents and diasporas Iran perceives as a threat against the regime. The literature shows, that especially cyberoperations sometimes are conducted by non-governmental groups but on behalf of the respective governments.

This thesis concludes, that intelligence operations is conducted by almost every country around the world, even our allies. “Everyone spies” is a common saying in intelligence circles, and especially cyberoperations is an important discipline which is continuously becoming more widespread in intelligence services.

Consequences of espionage operations against Denmark can result in major economic consequences if new technology and knowledge gets stolen, and put the country in a vulnerable position if foreign states use sensitive information as a leverage in international negotiations or if Denmark get dependent on foreign technology such as internet solutions from Chinese tech companies.
Publication date6 Jun 2023
Number of pages39
ID: 533072581