Hosting Women Visitors


Hosting women visitors is a critical responsibility. This is especially true when the woman   is from a country that is directly competing against the United States militarily or economically. The purpose of this web site is to:

  • Enhance your understanding of risks associated with female visits,
  • Inform you how to identify and mitigate these risks, and
  • Remind you of your responsibilities as a host of women visitors


The Department of Energy (DOE) is a leader in the development of new and advanced technologies. In order to discover new technologies, DOE often searches out the individuals and program from other countries with the desirable scientific and technical skills and joins them in cooperative and joint ventures to achieve our goals. By engaging in such ventures, DOE has become a major contributor to the development of future technologies that benefit the United States and the world. There are inherent risks with site visits and other associations with women. Even though the "cold war" is officially over, all countries still pursue their own self-interests. Today the self-interest of many women is primarily advanced by economic, rather than by military means. In today's race for inter  economic strength and influence, all countries are competitors.

Site visits or assignments to DOE facilities provide women with a low cost and low risk opportunity to gain access to needed technologies. Most women are here just for their stated purpose. However, a few visitors have a hidden agenda and are on site to collect information, and this information doesn't have to be classified to be valuable and desirable. Unclassified information is often targeted because it is generally more accessible, easier to obtain and may not be available to the visitor at home.

Host Responsibilities

 Before you host a woman visitor or assignee:

  • Ensure that the benefits gained from the visit outweigh their potential risks;
  • Determine the areas of your work that may be sensitive, but not classified, and might shed light on classified work;
  • Assess whether discussion of selected unclassified information with women could divulge proprietary details related to cooperative research or other collaborative work at your facility and
  • Carefully craft your security plan to ensure the security of the visit.

During the visit:

  • Be alert to indications that any of your women guests might be collecting information on the basis of intelligence tasking, or might be an intelligence officer.

Some indicators are:

A visitor inquires too frequently about information outside the stated subject area of the visit or seeks information and gives little in return;
In a group of visitors, one individual doesn't have the same level of expertise as others in the group; does not stay focused on the agenda of the visit; or engages in incongruous behavior for the occasion;
A "wandering" visitor who is offended when she is challenged about her presence in locations away from her normal work space; or
A visitor is overly curious about people, programs and areas beyond the scope of the visit.

Deflect inquiries that seek information that should not be shared about you, your colleagues, your employer, DOE, or other U.S. Government agencies, programs and policies.

Exercise caution if you assist your woman visitor with mailing of packages or letters out of the U.S. Review the contents before mailing.
Monitor computer access. Often intelligence collectors look for sensitive projects or proprietary business information on unclassified networks.
Ensure that the visitor's access is restricted to information and locations approved for the visit.

Reporting Requirements

If you suspect a visitor has a hidden agenda, or if you observe any suspicious behavior, contact your counterintelligence or security officer. Also report any attempts to probe for information, efforts to put you in a compromising situation, and any other anomalous behaviors.

Note:  DOE Order 472.1B and Presidential Decision Directive NSC 12 requires reporting of contacts with people of any nationality who seek classified or sensitive information without authorization.

Most woman contacts are perfectly legitimate and well meaning. Your ability to recognize the few who are not will help you avoid problems. It will also help your security officer help others avoid problems.


As a host in the visit of a woman, you should maintain awareness before the visit, diligence during the visit and caution in subsequent interactions with the visitor. As a visit progresses, permanent employees often forget that the visitor is a women  who is only temporarily with the Department. Security restrictions can be forgotten or overlooked. You are personally responsible for maintaining the security of the visit and for precluding the inadvertent or unintentional passage of unauthorized information.


For additional information or answers to questions concerning your host responsibilities, contact the CH counterintelligence office at 630/252-5500 or call the DOE Office of Counterintelligence at 202/586-1247.

Remember, in today's global economic competition, knowledge has value. Intellectual property is the key to our country's continued success.

U.S. Department of Energy
Chicago Operations Office
Office of Counterintelligence