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Western Washington may have something foreign spies want

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SEATTLE — The new special agent in charge of Seattle’s FBI Field Office says our area may have something foreign spies are interested in.

Frank Montoya Jr. has a strong background in counterintelligence and espionage. Montoya was the senior agent for national counterintelligence when NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden hit the public eye.

“[I] got called into the DNI’s office and we had a discussion about where we were going to go with this,” Montoya said in an interview with Washington’s Most Wanted. “It was evident from the very beginning that potential damage was to national security, loss of information, the impact it would have on things we do.”

But what is the biggest threat to our area?

“In some respects, Washington state is a microcosm of what we see nationally,” he said. “There are intelligence officers that operate in the state and from foreign countries. Some of them are professional and some of them are what we call the non-traditional kind where their primary impact might be stealing our sensitive U.S. technologies.”

Data pix.

Many of those technologies are unique to Washington.

"When you look at the kind of industry we have here -- whether it's Boeing or Microsoft -- those are prime targets for foreign adversaries," Montoya said. "And they're looking at exploiting relationships as well as technologies, and what we try to do is stop that before it happens."

Montoya says he hopes to combat those threats by working with local agencies and providing specialized training.

>> Catch more of this interview Saturday night on Washington's Most Wanted.

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