1st Edition

The Psychology of Insider Risk Detection, Investigation and Case Management

By Eric Shaw Copyright 2023
    222 Pages 35 B/W Illustrations
    by CRC Press

    222 Pages 35 B/W Illustrations
    by CRC Press

    Clinical psychologist and former intelligence officer Eric D. Shaw brings over 30 years of psychological consultation experience to the national security community, corporate investigations and law enforcement to this work on insider risk. After a career in counterterrorism, Dr. Shaw spent the last 20 years concentrating on insiders—employees who commit espionage, sabotage, intellectual property theft, present risks of harm to self and others, and other workplace risks, especially those influenced by mental health conditions.

    Dr. Shaw is the author of the Critical Pathway to Insider Risk (CPIR) which addresses the characteristics, experiences and connections at-risk employees bring to our organizations, the stressors that trigger higher levels of risk, the concerning behaviors that signal this risk has increased and the action or inaction by organizations that escalate insider risk. The CPIR also examines what these employees look like when they have broken bad and the personal characteristics, resources and support that can mitigate these risks. Dr. Shaw also examines specific risk accelerators like subject disgruntlement, personality disorders and problematic organizational responses that can escalate the speed and intensity of insider risks. The investigative applications, strengths and weaknesses of the CPIR are also considered.

    This work also describes the behavioral science tools deployed in insider investigations, especially those designed to locate and understand persons at-risk and help organizations intervene to avoid escalation or manage potential damage. Case examples are drawn from intelligence community, corporate and law enforcement investigations. Specific insider cases where the use of behavioral science tools is described in detail include leaks, anonymous threats, erotomania, hacking, violence risk, mass destruction threats and espionage.

    The work closes with consideration of the many current and future challenges insider risk professionals face. These include the challenge of recognizing suicidal ideation as a gateway to other forms of insider risk, understanding when subject therapy will, and will not reduce risk, deciphering belief in conspiracy theory from significant extremist risk, appreciating insider threats to our elections and the unique challenges posed when the insider is a leader.


    Chapter 1: Three Cases, Three Roles.

    Chapter 2: Overview of The Critical Pathway to Insider Risk (CPIR) Framework.

    Chapter 3: Special Drivers Down the Pathway—Disgruntlement, Personality and Problematic Organizational Responses.

    Chapter 4: Investigative Tools—the CPIR Risk Score.

    Chapter 5: Psycholinguistic Tools.

    Chapter 6: Case Study of Cyber Extortion and Mass Destruction Violence Risk.

    Chapter 7: Putting Together the CPIR and Psycholinguistics—Corporate Leaks and Erotomania.

    Chapter 8: Detecting Dangerous Extremism Versus Conspiracy Beliefs.

    Chapter 9: Reflections, Summary and Challenges.

    Additional References.



    Eric Shaw is a Clinical Psychologist and former intelligence officer who specializes in the detection and management of a range of employee and external risks from workplace violence to sabotage, fraud, espionage, and leaks. He has helped government and commercial organizations develop sensors for these risk issues from their HR processes and communications as well as policies and practices to manage these challenges. His publications on these topics have appeared in multiple professional journals and mainstream publications from the CIA’s Studies in Intelligence, the Harvard Business Review, as well as Digital Investigation and Security Management, the Police Chief, Fortune and other publications. He currently serves as a psychological consultant to several federal and corporate insider threat programs and the Fairfax County Police Department. He conducts regular risk assessments and trainings for Human Resource, Security and Risk Management Teams. Dr. Shaw is the creator of the Critical Pathway to Insider Risk (CPIR) analytical framework used by organizations worldwide to predict and manage employee unrest and attacks. He has trained over 500 insider risk professionals, HR personnel, law enforcement staff, data scientist and forensic psychologists in the use of the CPIR as a risk assessment tool. Dr. Shaw has also taught at the Joint Counterintelligence Training Academy, the FBI’s National Academy, the George Washington University’s Elliot School of International Affairs and regularly presents at professional conferences. He was awarded 12 patents for software designed to identify signs of insider risk from employee communications. He received his Masters and Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Duke University and performed his Clinical Fellowship at the Payne Whitney Clinic, New York Hospital-Cornell University Medical Center. He is a licensed psychologist in Washington, DC, Maryland, Virginia and New York. More detailed background can be viewed at https://www.insiderriskgroup.com/