Unlike the intelligence field, which includes [[active measures]], [[direct action]], and [[covert activity]], counterintelligence is separate field unto itself, with its own specialized professional [[jargon]].
The objective of
[[counterintelligence ]] (CI) is to identify an intelligence operative.. However, the intelligence operative's objective is not simply to evade detection; he has a more important mission to perform, and avoiding counterintelligence detection is just part of performing that mission. Once the identification has been made by counterintelligence, the operative is not just arrested, tried, and carted off to jail as in other crimes; a decision must be made, and he usually is temporarily left in place so as not to tip off how he came to be identified, which would have the effect of compromising other counterintelligence operations.
Nonetheless, an identified operative must be cut off from access to further secure information, without letting him know that his [[Cover (intelligence)|cover]] is blown, then fed an elaborate stream of credible [[disinformation]]. Then an assessment must be made as to the extent of the damage and what information has been compromised. Eventually, the mole and his handlers will realize their operation has been compromised because of the useless disinformation being passed; but this step buys time for the difficult process of "walking the dog backwards" to determine what has been compromised within the target organization. That is the point at which an arrest is usually made. Sometimes, however, the process of feeding disinformation can be useful, so a discovered agent may be left in place for years.