Methods and terminology
While news media may speak of "spy satellites" and the like, espionage is not a synonym for all intelligence functions. It is a specific form of human source intelligence (HUMINT). Codebreaking (cryptanalysis or COMINT), aircraft or satellite photography (IMINT) and research in open publications (OSINT) are all intelligence gathering disciplines, but none of them are espionage. Many HUMINT activities, such as prisoner interrogation, reports from military reconnaissance patrols and from diplomats, etc., are not espionage.
Unlike other forms of intelligence collection disciplines, espionage usually involves accessing the place where the desired information is stored, or accessing the people who know the information and will divulge it through some kind of subterfuge. There are exceptions to physical meetings, such as the Oslo Report, or the insistence of Robert Hanssen in never meeting the people to whom he was selling information.
The US defines espionage towards itself as "The act of obtaining, delivering, transmitting, communicating, or receiving information about the national defense with an intent, or reason to believe, that the information may be used to the injury of the United States or to the advantage of any foreign nation. Black's Law Dictionary (1990) defines espionage as: "...gathering, transmitting, or losing...information related to the national defense". Espionage is a violation of United States law, 18 U.S.C. §§ 792–798 and Article 106 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice". The United States, like most nations, conducts espionage against other nations, under the control of the National Clandestine Service. Britain's espionage activities are controlled by the Secret Intelligence Service.