word-forming element used in English from c. 1300 and meaning "against, in opposition; in return; corresponding," from Anglo-French countre-, French contre-, from Latin contra "opposite, contrary to, against, in return," also used as a prefix (see contra (prep., adv.)). A doublet of contra-. In some cases it probably represents a purely English use of counter (adv.).
late 14c., "the highest faculty of the mind, capacity for comprehending general truths;" c. 1400, "faculty of understanding, comprehension," from Old French intelligence (12c.) and directly from Latin intelligentia, intellegentia "understanding, knowledge, power of discerning; art, skill, taste," from intelligentem (nominative intelligens) "discerning, appreciative," present participle of intelligere "to understand, comprehend, come to know," from assimilated form of inter "between" (see inter-) + legere "choose, pick out, read," from PIE root *leg- (1) "to collect, gather," with derivatives meaning "to speak (to 'pick out words')."
Meaning "superior understanding, sagacity, quality of being intelligent" is from early 15c. Sense of "information received or imparted, news" first recorded mid-15c., especially "secret information from spies" (1580s). Meaning "a being endowed with understanding or intelligence" is late 14c. Intelligence quotient first recorded 1921 (see I.Q.).
D. Harper. “Etymology of counterintelligence.” Online Etymology Dictionary. https://www.etymonline.com/word/counterintelligence (accessed $(datetime)).
updated on April 17, 2018
Definitions of counterintelligence from WordNet
intelligence activities concerned with identifying and counteracting the threat to security posed by hostile intelligence organizations or by individuals engaged in espionage or sabotage or subversion or terrorism;
Etymologies are not definitions. From wordnet.princeton.edu, not affiliated with etymonline.