Protecting Commerce


Five American-based corporations received threatening phone calls for more than a year. The threats were reported to various authorities, but the culprit wasn’t identified.

Then, a sixth company received a threatening phone call. Fortunately, that company was a member of the Domestic Security Alliance Council (DSAC), a security and intelligence-sharing initiative between the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and the private sector. The company’s chief security officer contacted DSAC’s program office in Washington, D.C., to relay the incident. In less than 10 days, a DSAC analyst—working with FBI field offices—connected the dots that led to the identification of a suspect.

DSAC works to prevent, detect, and investigate criminal acts—particularly those affecting interstate commerce—while helping the private sector protect its employees, assets, and proprietary information. It’s similar to the Bureau’s InfraGard program, which brings together representatives from the private and public sectors to help protect our nation’s critical infrastructure and key resources from terrorists, criminals, and others.

Through open lines of communication, DSAC ensures that key senior private sector executives and senior government officials share real-time, actionable intelligence.

DSAC was modeled after the Overseas Security Advisory Council—started pre-9/11 by the State Department to exchange information with U.S. private sector firms, many of whom operate overseas, concerning international security issues. After 9/11, it became clear that a similar initiative was needed to encourage the exchange of information on domestic security issues. And the FBI took the lead in setting it up, with DHS as a key partner today.

According to program director Daniel DeSimone, “DSAC bridges the information-sharing divide between the public and private sector” on the many security threats facing today’s businesses. “Threats,” explained Arnold Bell, DSAC deputy program director, “like a foreign national trying to covertly acquire sensitive information or technology, a trusted employee willing to sell a company’s secrets, or IT experts or other personnel using ineffective practices that result in security breaches.”

Currently, DSAC consists of nearly 200 diverse U.S. companies and organizations—and that number continues to grow. Although vigilant about terrorist and counterintelligence threats, the day-to-day security concerns of these entities primarily involve criminal threats—like computer intrusions, workplace violence, insider threats, fraud, trade secret theft, and product tampering.  And DSAC personnel work closely with each of the Bureau’s operational divisions.

Services offered to DSAC members include:

  • An interactive website ( that posts weekly intelligence briefs and other unclassified information from the FBI and other U.S. intelligence agencies, analytical products from member companies, news feeds, a resource library, and an online meeting capability;
  • The Domestic Security Executive Academy that brings together corporate chief security officers and senior U.S. Government officials to build strategic partnerships and discuss the latest criminal and domestic security issues affecting U.S. commerce;
  • Intelligence Analyst Symposiums that provide joint training for private sector corporate security analysts, U.S. Government intelligence analysts, and other federal, state, and local law enforcement partners on intelligence tradecraft, methodologies, and best practices.

Most recently, the DSAC program has been brought under the umbrella of the Director’s Office, teamed with the our Office of Law Enforcement Coordination (OLEC), which responsible for building bridges, strengthening relationships, and sharing information with our public sector law enforcement partners. Said OLEC Assistant Director Ronald Ruecker, “Performing similar activities with our private sector partners is a logical extension of OLEC’s mission.”

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