Library

 

The Intelligence Officer’s Bookshelf

Intelligence in Recent Public Literature

Compiled and Reviewed by Hayden B. Peake

 

Current

 
 

Countering Terrorism: Blurred Focus, Halting Steps, Richard A. Posner

Democratic Control of Intelligence Services: Containing Rogue Elephants, Hans Born and Marina Caparini (eds.)

 

Intelligence Analysis: A Target-Centric Approach, 2nd edition revised, Robert M. Clark

 

The Quest for Absolute Security: The Failed Relations Among U.S. Intelligence Agencies, Athan Theoharis

 

Reforming Intelligence: Obstacles to Democratic Control and Effectiveness, Thomas C. Bruneau and Steven C. Boraz (eds.)

 

Spying Blind: The CIA, the FBI, and the Origins of 9/11, Amy B. Zegart

 

General Intelligence

Detecting Deception: A Bibliography of Counterdeception Across Time, Cultures, and Disciplines—Supplement to the Second Edition, Barton Whaley

Intelligence and National Security: A Reference Handbook, J. Ransom Clark

Intelligence and National Security: The Secret World of Spies—An Anthology, Second Edition, Loch K. Johnson and James J. Wirtz

 

Historical

Comrade J: The Untold Story of Russia’s Master Spy in America After the End of the Cold War, Pete Earley

The FBI: A History, Rhodri Jeffreys-Jones

Intelligence, Statecraft and International Power, Eunan O’Halpin, Robert Armstrong and Jane Ohlmeyer (eds.)

Living With the Enigma Secret: Marian Rejewski 1905-1980, Jan Stanislaw Ciechanowski (eds.)

Nazi War Crimes, US Intelligence and Selective Prosecution at Nuremburg: Controversies Regarding the Role of the Office of Strategic Services, Michael Salter


Intelligence Services Abroad

Inside IB and RAW: The Rolling Stone that Gathered Moss, K. Sankaran Nair

Intelligence: Past, Present and Future, B. Raman

The Kaoboys of R&AW: Down Memory Lane, B. Raman

The Volunteer: The Incredible True Story of an Israeli Spy on the Trail of International Terrorists, Michael Ross with Jonathan Kay

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Correction: The review of Enemies: How America’s Foes Steal our Vital Secrets (Bill Gertz) in the “Intelligence Officer’s Bookshelf” of Studies Vol. 51, No. 2 (2007) may have led readers to infer that Gertz lifted material about Ana Montes from Scott Carmichael’s biography of the Cuban agent, True Believer.  The Carmichael book, also reviewed in the issue, appeared after Enemies, and the review meant only to point out that Enemies included unattributed material on Montes that True Believer subsequently confirmed.


 

Current

Richard A. Posner, Countering Terrorism: Blurred Focus, Halting Steps (New York: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., 2007).

Journalists and academics with no direct experience in the intelligence profession often do not let their lack of knowledge of the subject stand in the way of making critical analyses of the profession’s performance. Richard Posner acknowledges that though criticism of the intelligence business by a federal judge might seem presumptuous, but “an outsider’s perspective can be valuable.” He is right, of course, and in Countering Terrorism, his third book addressing intelligence reform, he argues provocatively that “Kulturkampf [culture conflict]…is the biggest impediment to improving domestic intelligence, dominated by the FBI despite the bureau’s permeation by a culture of criminal investigations that is incompatible with the effective conduct of national security intelligence.” (xii) In short, he recommends that a separate MI5-like organization be formed to meet “the growing danger of homegrown terrorism.” The FBI is not suited to the task, he suggests: “Criminal law enforcement…has shown that it has only a limited value against terrorism.” The role of the FBI, with its arrest powers, should be similar to that of the British Special Branch.(xii)

Posner questions the view that because we are at war “we simply don’t have time to establish a new national security agency.”(12) Precedent, he argues, suggests otherwise. The creation of OSS, NSA, the National Counterterrorist Center, Department of Homeland Security, and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence during periods of conflict makes his point.

The balance of the book discusses the organizational, managerial and leadership problems that would have to be overcome to achieve his goal. He presents a series of benchmarks in the form of questions that have to be answered before a decision is made; e.g., is the proposed change an improvement over what currently exists? His answer is yes because “we are overinvested in criminal law as a weapon against terrorism. Excessive legalism in the form of what I call warrant fetishism is also preventing us from dealing imaginatively with privacy and civil liberties concerns that domestic electronic surveillance arouses.” Judge Posner concludes by providing answers to his benchmark questions. His judgment is that the FBI and DHS do not “understand that intelligence is an alternative, as well as an adjunct, to law enforcement and military force” and that “congressional oversight of the reorganized system” is not adequate. In sum, Posner is convinced that creating a new MI5-like organization with only a security and counterintelligence mission is necessary to achieve effective domestic counterterrorism efforts. One aspect not considered is the level of personal and organizational disruption that creating another new intelligence organization would entail and the time required for it to become proficient.

Countering Terrorism is a thoughtful and very detailed explication of Judge Posner’s position; it is worth very serious consideration.

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Hans Born and Marina Caparini (eds.), Democratic Control of Intelligence Services: Containing Rogue Elephants (Burlington, VT: Ashgate Publishing Company, 2007), 303 pp., footnotes, bibliography, index.

Cicero, the Roman lawyer and orator, wrote “In time of war, the laws fall silent." [1]Editors Born and Caparini have recast this view in modern terms, asking: “whether protecting the security of the state should trump all other objectives and values in society…and preclude any constraints on it?” (4) Nine of the 15 articles in the Democratic Control of Intelligence Services examine the issue from the viewpoints of four Western countries (the United States, the United Kingdom, France, and Norway) and five from the former Soviet bloc (Romania, Poland, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, and Hungary). [2] Six articles discuss the fundamental principles of oversight—the law, accountability, freedom of information, data protection—and the need for intelligence. With regard to oversight, which is defined broadly as “management,” they stress the importance of internal controls by inspectors general, as well as those applied by the executive and congressional or parliamentary committees.

The chapters on the former Soviet bloc countries are particularly interesting. They discuss the degrees of progress made since independence, emphasizing the extent to which the principles above have been achieved in each nation and what remains to be done on domestic security and foreign intelligence reforms. The chapters on the Western countries review the procedures and institutions in place to assure democratic control of intelligence and the problems that led to their creation. With the exception of France, each country formed parliamentary oversight committees after questionable conduct by one of its intelligence agencies. In France, while the need for such oversight is recognized, the National Assembly has not endorsed the formation of an oversight commission.

The final chapter reviews the common problems of implementing effective democratic and parliamentary oversight of intelligence, the need for international cooperation, and the lessons learned from the accounts presented. It concludes with proposals for strengthening oversight while maintaining a balance between secrecy and transparency.

While the Democratic Control of Intelligence Services looks closely at what has been and what needs to be done, it does not address the practical problem of the qualifications of those doing the oversight. Nevertheless, it is a valuable book that demonstrates the difficulty of acquiring needed intelligence while protecting basic human rights.

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Robert M. Clark, Intelligence Analysis: A Target-Centric Approach, 2nd edition revised (Washington, DC: CQ Press, 2007), 321 pp., end of chapter notes, appendix, charts, index.

Joseph Stalin rejected intelligence analysis: “Don’t tell me what you think, give me the facts and the source!" [3]CIA analyst Sherman Kent countered: “There is no substitute for the intellectually competent human…, who through firsthand knowledge and study” recommends what facts should be presented to the decisionmaker. [4] Kent went on to say his criterion applied to collectors and analysts. Dr. Robert Clark, a former CIA analyst, takes the next step with his target-centric approach—a collaborative analytical network for successful analysis involving contributions from all “stakeholders” associated with the target issue. His approach begins with an explanation of a model that describes what is known and not known about the target’s functions or behavior. The concept of a model is illustrated using a WW II operation made famous in Ewen Montagu’s The Man Who Never Was. [5] In that case. the Germans, convinced of the veracity of inaccurate data deceptively supplied by British intelligence about the invasion of Sicily, altered their troop dispositions. For the operation to have worked, MI5 planners had to model how the Germans thought and operated and the most likely conditions that would lead to the desired German responses. (5).

The second part of the book discusses methods for creating a model—some quite complex, though well illustrated. It also examines sources of data, the techniques of data evaluation, the risks of deception, and the importance of validation. The third part includes six chapters on predictive analysis and cover techniques, organizational issues, and technological aspects. The final chapter deals with the qualities that analysts and customers must have to increase the likelihood of understanding, if not agreement. This is a matter of speaking truth to power when the superiors with whom analysts must work think of themselves as analysts of at least equal ability. The two appendices illustrate the importance of differences in analytical approach in two National Intelligence Estimates (NIEs): one from 1990 on the future of Yugoslavia, the other from October 2002 on WMD in Iraq that was based on inadequate treatment of multidisciplinary factors and poorly validated evidence.

Intelligence Analysis is a fine treatment of contemporary analytic tradecraft that makes clear why the analyst has one of the toughest jobs in the profession.

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Athan Theoharis, The Quest for Absolute Security: The Failed Relations Among U.S. Intelligence Agencies (Chicago: Ivan R. Dee, 2007), 320 pp., index.

Marquette history professor Athan Theoharis introduces his new book by agreeing with the 9/11 Commission that CIA and FBI failures to cooperate, share information, and analyze intelligence properly were among the factors that contributed to the disaster. But he strongly opposes the corrective action recommended—“a more centralized bureaucracy, headed by a DNI.”(4, 267) Theoharis views such an approach as part of the “quest for absolute security,” a phrase never used by the committee, that would place undesirable limits on human rights.(4) History, he suggests, does not support the commission’s conclusion on centralization. On the contrary, he claims, increased centralization will only lead to more abuses by the intelligence agencies. The balance of the book attempts to make the point. It fails.

The Quest for Absolute Security begins with a summary of the national security background that led to the creation of the FBI. Succeeding chapters review well-known espionage cases, civil rights policies, congressional investigations, and bureaucratic rivalries associated with the coming of WW II, the Cold War, the post–Cold War period, and 9/11. Professor Theoharis discusses each era’s many failures, violations or abuses attributed to the Bureau and, to a lesser extent, OSS and CIA. But he presents nothing to demonstrate that either the successes or mistakes cited actually occurred in the search for “absolute security,” an objective even the author admits is unrealistic. Moreover, he offers nothing to suggest that the many difficulties he recounts resulted from centralized control and are thus likely to be repeated under a DNI. Poor management, political interference, frequent mission modifications, fluctuating budgets, and long learning curves are equally likely explanations for the problems he cites though none are mentioned. To avoid the problems he foresees under the new centralization, Professor Theoharis offers a solution: “stricter congressional oversight.” He will probably see that happen, but not for the reasons he suggests.


Thomas C. Bruneau and Steven C. Boraz (eds.), Reforming Intelligence: Obstacles to Democratic Control and Effectiveness (Austin: University of Texas Press, 2007), 385 pp., end of chapter notes, bibliography, index.

The need for intelligence reform in democratic nations is an unchallenged assumption of Reforming Intelligence. The editors point out that there are no studies or benchmark models for determining when the reformers have got it right. They propose applying a modified version of the familiar “civil-military relations (CMR)” model to civil-intelligence relations as a framework for analysis and judgment.(2) The need for modification follows because only two of the three basic elements of CMR—civilian control, effectiveness and efficiency—can be applied; efficiency cannot be assessed because of “the essential, fundamental requirement for secrecy” (1, 5) applied to budgets and related potential performance measures. The 13 chapters of the book are written by a mix of academics and intelligence officers. They include a review of the processes by which information becomes intelligence in democratic societies, followed by studies that discuss democratic control and effectiveness in three Western nations—the United States, the United Kingdom, and France—and seven "new democracies"—Brazil, Taiwan, Argentina, Romania, South Africa, Russia, and the Philippines. Three chapters are devoted to the United States. They discuss oversight—internal, congressional and judicial—and obstacles to reform. The final chapter compares the “development of controls” and the effectiveness achieved among the various countries dealing with reform.

The problems discussed are different for each nation as indicated by the following examples. Oversight in France, as Professor Douglas Porch points out, is restricted by the persistence of traditional military influence over its intelligence agencies. Romania, according to Cristiana Matei, has yet to break free of “the cultural legacy of prior regimes.”(235) Civilian control in Russia, as described by Mikhail Tsypkin, is complicated by terrorism and “a KGB/FSB/SVR mindset.”(295) In each case, the general solution suggested is an informed populace, better oversight, and accountability. For comparison, former CIA general counsel Elizabeth Rindskopf Parker and Bryan Pate provide a detailed historical review of oversight in America that suggests the possible need for permanent judicial review commissions that “might enhance public confidence.” (68)

Reforming Intelligence does not demonstrate that the CMR model is any help in solving intelligence reform issues. And its claims that assessing performance is greatly limited by secrecy are not supported. To its credit, the book leaves no doubt about the complexity of oversight issues. It is well documented, well written, and should serve as a foundation for studying this persistent problem.

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Amy B. Zegart, Spying Blind: The CIA, the FBI, and the Origins of 9/11 (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2007), 352 pp., endnotes, index.

In her first book, Flawed By Design, UCLA professor Amy Zegart argued that the CIA “was never supposed to engage in spying,”(163) that “the agency was given no authority to engage in covert activities of any sort be it collecting intelligence or conducting subversive political activities abroad,” (187) and that “CIA failures were an inevitable consequence of the way [it was] structured” at the outset.(231) [6]Citing statutory evidence, historians promptly noted that the first two propositions were flawed by inaccuracy. [7]But the idea that organizational structure was the principal determinant of CIA failures could not be disproved and had daunting implications as a harbinger of failures to come.

Professor Zegart returns to this topic in Spying Blind. She begins by defining organization as having three components, “cultures, incentives, and structures…that critically influence what government agencies do and how well they do it.”(1) Zegart then develops a model for making comparisons with three performance factors: “the nature of organizations, rational self interest, and the fragmented federal government.”(Chapter 2) She then loosely applies the model to the CIA and FBI before 9/11, allowing for influences by contributing factors such as their failure to adapt to change, congressional interference, budget cuts, staff reductions, and mission realignment. In the case of the CIA, Zegart finds that “the agency did not miss some of the eleven opportunities it had to potentially disrupt the September 11 attacks. They [sic] missed them all.”(119) She treats the FBI similarly but more gently. It had “twelve known chances to follow leads that hinted at impending disaster. In each case, FBI officials missed the lucky break.”(168) How did this happen? Zegart’s answer for both cases is “organizational weakness” or “organizational factors.” But she does not offer convincing evidence, e.g., bureaucratic fragmentation or frequent managerial change, to prove these assertions or to make them more convincing than explanations rooted in poor decision making by analysts and managers.

The final chapter summarizes her views on the unsettled Intelligence Community. In the process she introduces topics not dealt with in depth previously. For example, she calls for “fundamental changes in analysis,” though she offers no specifics. As to human intelligence capabilities, which she does discuss briefly in chapter 4, she claims that there has been “little progress since 9/11…because the agency’s approach to improving human intelligence has focused primarily on increasing the number of spies rather than on improving quality or dramatically increasing nontraditional recruitment models to penetrate terrorist groups.” Here too she offers little evidence. In short, while she has enumerated some problems facing the Intelligence Community, their causes and her recommended solutions to them remain problematical. Few will challenge her basic conclusion that “organization matters.”(196) That was a given from the outset. But the “why and how” it matters more than or as much as other competing parameters is not proved.

At no time does Professor Zegart question the need for intelligence agencies. Her conclusion is that “The United States’ ability to protect itself hinges on whether U.S. intelligence agencies built for a different enemy at a different time can adapt.”(197) Spying Blind is a thought-provoking, detailed analysis of current problems that takes historical precedent and the judgments of many distinguished thinkers into account. Whether it is a correct assessment of cause and effect and the solutions it recommends is a question that remains unanswered.

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General Intelligence

Barton Whaley, Detecting Deception: A Bibliography of Counterdeception Across Time, Cultures, and Disciplines—Supplement to the Second Edition (Washington, DC: Foreign Denial and Deception Committee, National Intelligence Council, 2007), 182 pp., appendix, CD, no index.

This supplement to the 2,444 entries in the second edition of Whaley’s Detecting Deception: A Bibliography of Counterdeception adds 253 new items and revises 49 others. Several of the new entries in the supplement are themselves bibliographies, and they contain 4,000 more titles on various topics, for example, counterfeit coins and paper currency, mimicry, true names of authors of anonymously written works, and myth and fraud in archeology. Several entries discuss instances in which previous claims about fakes and forgeries were incorrect. Whaley notes in the introduction that while many titles are seemingly redundant, his annotations identify the “more accurate and detailed pieces that contribute fresh data, new methods, or original theories.” He adds that the noticeable variance in formats of the entries is intentional in order to avoid the loss of data that might occur if a standard format were introduced. Other entry features include a five-star rating system and keywords that indicate the “styles of logical detection” in the item. For example, the word medicine indicates an analogy with medical practice; the word fiction indicates an entry in which a fictional story is used to make a point. A searchable CD of the Supplement is included at the back. This is another valuable contribution from the pre-eminent bibliographer in the field.


J. Ransom Clark, Intelligence and National Security: A Reference Handbook (Westport, CT: Praeger Security International, 2007), 192 pp., end of chapter notes, bibliography, appendices, glossary, chronology, index.

Former CIA officer Ransom Clark has written a book with the intention of providing “those who are interested in watching or even participating in the intelligence business enough background and context to assist in making reasoned evaluations of on-going and future activities.”(vii) Intelligence and National Security does just that. It is a primer that discusses the definition of intelligence; its historical evolution since the Revolutionary War; how it is collected, analyzed, and disseminated; the security and counterintelligence aspects of the process; and the role of covert action. Examples and brief case studies are included on each topic. The final chapter, “Where Do We Go From Here,” addresses accountability, the role of Congress, and the impact of recent reforms. Clark concludes by noting that “structural and substantive changes are two different matters. New boxes on organizational charts do not generate new intelligence or change mindsets in evaluating data. New layers of bureaucracy do not speed up the flow of information.” Improvements in these areas require good people. Clark has provided a sound basis for assessing the controversies surrounding intelligence today. It is a valuable contribution that should be very helpful to those studying or anticipating a future in the profession.


Loch K. Johnson and James J. Wirtz (eds.), Intelligence and National Security: The Secret World of Spies—An Anthology, Second Edition (New York: Oxford University Press, 2008), 553 pp., end of chapter notes, bibliography, index.

Second editions can result from demand pressures, changes in subject matter detail, and/or the availability of new material. This anthology responds in part to the latter two criteria. It has changed its name; [8]added two articles, increasing the number to 38; and deleted some earlier contributions while adding new ones on satellite surveillance, warrantless wiretaps, and events since 9/11. The other nine parts address definitions—still no consensus here—the functions described in the so-called intelligence cycle as applied by selected intelligence community organizations, plus politicization, counterintelligence, accountability, oversight, and covert action. The new article on “warrantless wiretaps” deserves attention although it has little to do with wiretapping, and everything to do with electronic intercepts. But it does present a variety of viewpoints, including those of Alan Dershowitz.

Two areas were neglected in the new edition. The first is the index, which does not include the additions. The second is articles in need of updating. For example, the article on open source intelligence makes no mention of the new Open Source Center created under the DNI, but it does state that the DNI “has chosen to remain focused on secrets for the president,” whatever that means. More generally, this article does not reflect a grasp of the current or past approach to open source information. Another example is the article on counterintelligence, which still has a correctable definitional problem. Executive Order 12333 has defined counterintelligence and security as distinct functions, but the description given in this volume subordinates security to CI.

This anthology is not a collection of the “right” answers to persistent and often controversial intelligence issues. But it does lay the foundation for sensible discussion, and that argues strongly for reading it closely.

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Historical

Pete Earley, Comrade J: The Untold Story of Russia’s Master Spy in America After the End of the Cold War (New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 2008), 340 pp.

Sergei Turanov, Comrade Jean, and Comrade J were among the codenames used by Sergei Tretyakov, a KGB and SVR intelligence officer until he defected to the United States in October 2000 with his wife and daughter. KGB defections were not uncommon during the Cold War, although they dropped sharply as their utility diminished after the collapse of the Soviet Union. The new Russian government abolished the KGB and established a separate foreign intelligence service now designated the SVR. Sergei Tretyakov is the first member of this service to defect to the United States. He sought out Pete Earley to tell his story because Earley had written two fine books about American traitors, John Walker who was a KGB agent, and Aldrich Ames, who spied for the KGB and the SVR.

In Comrade J, we learn that Tretyakov’s childhood goal was to be a KGB officer like his father. To this end, he learned French and English, graduated from the Moscow Institute of Foreign Languages, where he was spotted by the KGB. Formally recruited after graduation, he joined the CPSU and attended the Red Banner Institute, where he learned the tradecraft of his chosen profession. After a boring assignment in Moscow, where hard work and additional duties for the party earned him good marks, he was sent to Canada. Inspired by the Gorbachev reforms, he succeeded in recruiting several important agents and gained the attention of the right people at KGB headquarters. After the coup of 1991, his dissatisfaction increased and in Canada he and his wife considered not returning to Russia, an option they at first rejected because of the impact the move would have on family members at home. After a year back in Moscow during which he watched as several of his colleagues were arrested and executed as CIA agents (thanks to Ames), Tretyakov was assigned to the New York Residency in April 1995. He never returned to Russia.

For the traditional reasons of security, the details of his defection are not revealed in Comrade J. Earley does describe some of Tretyakov’s operations in Canada and America with emphasis on sources developed and agents recruited, some of whom he names. In the category of “special unofficial contact,” he mentions former US deputy secretary of state Strobe Talbot, stressing that Talbot was not an agent and implying that the SVR did not realize that their contacts with him were routine, not secret communications. Tretyakov also reported on the SVR penetrations of the United Nations and the operations and personnel of the SVR residencies to which he was assigned. Tretyakov’s descriptions of bureaucratic infighting and his functions as deputy resident and later as acting resident suggest that in some respects the profession has changed little from KGB days.

Of particular interest from the US point of view, the book reveals that for three years before his defection in October 2000 Tretyakov worked for the FBI, providing details of residency operations and personnel. Ten months before his defection, the FBI encouraged him to leave but could not tell him the reason: it was hunting a mole who might learn about him. When Tretyakov’s defection became public on 30 January 2001 and Robert Hanssen was arrested on 18 February 2001, the press presumed Tretyakov was the one who gave him up. The FBI assured Earley that this was not the case.

Finally, as with all unsourced defector memoirs, one must deal with the question of accuracy. In this case, the narrative contains two technical errors worth noting: (1) reference to Tretyakov as a double agent is incorrect, and (2) the statement that the CIA calls its employees “agents” is wrong.(48) Recognizing that independent assessment of Tretyakov’s story is desirable, Earley includes a chapter with comments from “a high-ranking US intelligence official” that addresses the kinds of material Tretyakov provided and affirms that it included names and “saved American lives.” Further detail is attributed to other “intelligence sources,” as, for example, the fact that the bug planted in the State Department conference room in the late 1990s had a “miniature battery…recharged with a laser beam.”(323) If correct, someone would have had to have line-of-sight access to the battery, but no comment is made on this point.

In the end, although Earley has provided another well told espionage case study, he leaves the curious hoping for a second volume containing more details of Tretyakov’s work for US intelligence.


Rhodri Jeffreys-Jones, The FBI: A History (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2007), 317 pp., endnotes, bibliography, index.

Herodotus, Cicero’s pater historiae, is said by modern historians to have been generally “fair-minded and balanced…if not always entirely accurate,” even though there is not a source note in Herodotus’s book, The Histories. [9] The FBI: A History has source notes and still meets these criteria, with one significant revisionist exception. Rhodri Jeffreys-Jones, a professor of American history at Edinburgh University, begins by noting the “richness as a source” of the FBI case files and then writes, “I have tried to produce a work from the standpoint that is liberated from the bureau’s filing system…in the context of broader historical currents.” The currents he chooses are racism and civil liberties.(vii) And to show that both have long been driving factors in Bureau history, Professor Jeffreys-Jones changes the date the FBI was formed as the Bureau of Investigation, from 1908 to 1871!(3) This liberty is justified, he tells readers, because the Bureau “has long been…an unjust organization,” where “prejudice ran deeper than the nation at large.” The first two chapters of the book use this historical sleight of hand to discuss “Bureau history” over a period of nearly 38 years before it was formed.

The remaining chapters of The FBI present a balanced review of the FBI’s organization and functions from its creation in 1908 to the present. Its scope is broader than that of Raymond Batvinis’s The Origins of FBI Counterintelligence, which focused on counterintelligence until mid–WW II. [10]But it is topically similar to Athan Theoharis’s The Quest for Absolute Security (see above): bureaucratic battles, espionage, security, political surveillance, communist threat, Cold War, post–Cold War change, and possible 9/11 reforms. One exceptional topic is race relations, which Jeffreys-Jones mentions from time to time, although not nearly as often as his introductory remarks suggest. For example, both Theoharis and Jeffreys-Jones discuss adjustments in the FBI counterintelligence mission that President Roosevelt approved in 1939. Theorharis sees the consequences in terms of actions against subversives. Jeffreys-Jones, on the other hand, suggests that “historians must try and gauge the significance of the 1939 reform, not just for the FBI, but for the history of race relations.”(98) In the realm of civil liberties, Jeffreys-Jones is overly concerned about the impact of a “Gestapo Factor”—fear of knocks on doors at night and unlawful surveillance—that some in the United States expressed after WW II.

Jeffreys-Jones devotes considerable attention to investigations from the Church Committee to the 9/11 Commission and how Hoover’s successors tried to implement reforms, a task complicated, he suggests, by frequent unplanned high-level personnel changes in the Intelligence Community. To be fair, The FBI: A History, also mentions the FBI’s achievements, the role of Robert Lamphere in the VENONA case being a good example. But some of the book’s claims are factually incorrect: the FBI did not initiate the investigation that uncovered Aldrich Ames; it joined in after the CIA had done so.(223) With respect to the Robert Hanssen case, Hanssen was not arrested at “a dead-drop site in Tysons Corner”; Vienna, Virginia, deserves that honor. Likewise, Hanssen did not ask, “What took you so long?” when captured.(226) Finally, the Wen Ho Lee case was not a product of racial bias.(224)

Jeffreys-Jones is not optimistic about the FBI’s future. The organization, he asserts, has “always been a showcase for human frailties and bitter controversies, and no reformer could reasonably expect to change that.”(253) What he does not seem to recognize, however, is that operational success is at least as dependent on professional competency, which even he admits is high. In short, the Bureau’s track record does not support the professor’s assessment.

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Eunan O’Halpin, Robert Armstrong and Jane Ohlmeyer (eds.), Intelligence, Statecraft and International Power—Irish Conference of History (Dublin: Irish Academic Press, 2006), 246 pp., end of chapter notes, Index.

In 2005, the Irish Committee of Historical Sciences sponsored a conference at Trinity College in Dublin on intelligence from ancient to contemporary times. This volume contains 15 of the papers presented. Three of the authors are from the United States, one is from Scotland, and the balance from Ireland. All are academics with solid credentials. Seven articles discuss the history of Irish intelligence over four centuries, a fascinating topic little reported in literature. One on Anglo-Scottish relations in medieval times considers the familiar question: Did intelligence matter? Another describes intelligence during the last Chinese dynasty, which ended in 1911. Others include intelligence in India at the turn of the 20th century, in Rome during the reign of Emperor Trajan (A.D. 98–117), Stalin’s use of intelligence in WW II, British covert action against Egypt after the Suez crisis of 1956, and the role ambassadors played in intelligence in Renaissance Italy. The final contribution deals with intelligence during the current conflict in Iraq.

It should come as no surprise that espionage in ancient times has many similarities to today’s enterprise, although the penalties for an agent’s failure are less drastic now. Likewise, as Christopher Andrew notes in his foreword, speaking truth to power, whether in Soviet times under Stalin, in Saddam’s Iraq, or during the war on terror, has always been a challenge for those in intelligence work. The broad historical perspective of this volume on what works and what does not in intelligence will be of value to students of the profession as they search for answers to today’s intelligence problems.


Jan Stanislaw Ciechanowski (eds.), Living With the Enigma Secret: Marian Rejewski 1905-1980 (Bydgoszcz, Poland: Bydgoszcz City Council, 2005), footnotes, photos, chronology, no index. Preface by Prof. Zbigniew Brzezinski.

With the publication of The Ultra Secret in 1974, the world learned that British codebreakers had broken the secret traffic produced by the German Enigma machine. [11]  his achievement aided the British victory in the Battle of the Atlantic, allowed the allies to monitor German military movements, and made possible the successful Double Cross operation that identified all German agents in Britain and allowed MI5 to turn many into double agents. What was not reported then and not formally and officially recognized until 2005, was that three Polish cryptographers had broken the code in 1933 and given their results to the British just before WW II. One of the cryptographers was lost in France before he could get to Britain. The other two worked with the British throughout the war. One stayed in Britain after the war, where his contributions went unacknowledged. The third, Marian Rejewski, returned to his family in Poland where he hoped to finish his PhD, but the communist government prevented him from achieving this goal. He died in 1980.

Living With the Enigma Secret is a collection of reminiscences in Rejewski’s honor. A contribution by Rejewski’s daughter gives biographic details and reveals that her father wrote and published an article in 1967 about his breaking the Enigma: no notice was taken. Then, in 1973, French cryptographer Gustave Bertrand published a book telling of Rejewski’s role. It too went unnoticed in the West. Other articles in this book describe the role of the Polish security services prior to WW II, provide details of just how the Poles contacted the British and made available the Enigma secret, and reveal Rejewski’s treatment by the Polish communist security services. French historian, Colonel Frederic Guelton, adds a short piece on the French participation in the Polish “cracking the Enigma.”(265) The final article, by David Kahn, explains the value of Enigma in the Battle of the Atlantic. The book concludes with a detailed chronology of Rejewski’s life.

Living With the Enigma Secret is an important, long overdue contribution to the history of cryptology and sets straight the record of Marian Rejewski’s role. [12]


Michael Salter, Nazi War Crimes, US Intelligence and Selective Prosecution at Nuremburg: Controversies Regarding the Role of the Office of Strategic Services (New York: Routledge-Cavendish, 2007), 458 pp., footnotes, bibliography, appendix, index.

At first glance the idea that OSS played a role in the Nuremburg war crimes trials seems an impossibility since the organization was abolished before the trials began. But in a sense it is accurate. During the war, OSS established a war crimes staff that grew to 130 analysts and assembled data on individuals that might be tried after the war. This staff remained in Nuremburg after the war as part of the Strategic Services Unit (SSU) that replaced OSS. Most of this very detailed book dwells on its contribution and the participants involved. One of its major themes is the controversy surrounding the granting of immunity to suspected war criminals who might have been of help to the Allies in the post-war world in which the Soviet Union was viewed as the next threat. One example looked at in detail is the case of SS General Karl Wolff, who cooperated with Allen Dulles in Operation Sunrise, an operation that was intended to bring the war in Italy to a close before a German surrender. For his efforts, Wolff escaped trial at Nuremberg, and this book examines “the trenchant moral judgments regarding Wolff’s alleged immunity from prosecution”(5) in terms of evidence found since the decision was made.

The book details the involvement in Nuremberg of OSS Director William Donovan, who during the war planned on an OSS role in any war crimes trial. After his dismissal in 1945, Donovan was assigned to the Nuremburg trials as deputy to Robert Jackson, the principal trial judge. Donovan had definite views on the trials’ handling, and they conflicted sharply with Jackson’s. For example, Donovan argued that the basis for prosecution of military war criminals should be documents and direct testimony, an approach Jackson rejected for the use, inter alia, of films of the concentration camps. The book mentions that former OSS officer Franz Neumann helped Donovan in these matters, although Salter does not point out that Neumann was a Soviet agent.

According to Salter, before the differences with Jackson led to Donovan’s dismissal, he conducted a series of one-on-one negotiations with Herman Goering. Salter alleges that Donovan urged Goering to accept responsibility for all the Nazi war crimes in order to expedite Goering’s sentencing and execution. The top leaders would be tried at Nuremberg while most former Nazis would be tried under German law by German courts. The idea is said to have been unacceptable to Jackson. Unfortunately this story, while interesting, is not well documented. [13]Nazi War Crimes is an unexpected and important contribution to OSS history. It is comprehensive and with the exception noted, thoroughly documented with primary sources. And it adds a new chapter to the life of the legendary “Wild Bill” Donovan.

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Intelligence Services Abroad

B. Raman, The Kaoboys of R&AW: Down Memory Lane (New Delhi: Lancer Publishers, 2007), 294 pp., index.

———, Intelligence: Past, Present and Future (New Delhi: Lancer Publishers, 2002), 416 pp., bibliography, index.

K. Sankaran Nair, Inside IB and RAW: The Rolling Stone that Gathered Moss (New Delhi, Manus Publications, 2008), index.

History has always been important to retired Indian intelligence officer B. Raman. In Kaoboys of R&AW, citing the CIA “historical division” precedent, (27) he reveals that in 1983 Rameshwar Nath Kao, the first chief of India’s foreign intelligence service—the Research & Analysis Wing—established a historical section. Unfortunately, it was abolished in 1984 when Kao left office. Raman was not surprised; he knew that in India organizational change often followed new leadership. Raman had joined the Indian Police Service in 1961 and was transferred in 1967 to the External Division of the Intelligence Bureau (IB), then India’s foreign intelligence element. He became a Kaoboy when R&AW was established as an independent entity in 1968. After assignments in Paris and Geneva, he headed the Counter-Terrorism Division from 1988 to 1994 and then retired to accept a cabinet secretariat position, where he served on various antiterrorism commissions and testified twice before the US Congress. After his permanent retirement, citing the precedents set by retired CIA officers, he decided to write these memoirs.

Kaoboys of R&AW tells about India’s struggle to develop a full range of intelligence service capabilities while at war with Pakistan and China and while managing conflicts among religious factions and dealing with tribal disputes on its borders. Raman also examines charges of CIA disinformation campaigns and covert action operations against India, R&AW efforts to counter domestic and foreign terrorist acts, and the constant turf battles with the Indian domestic intelligence service, the IB.

The book has two central themes. The first is the relationship of R&AW to the prime ministers under which it served, and the problems created when two of them were assassinated. Those unfamiliar with India get a sense of its political history. The second theme is the pervasive threat to national security from Pakistan and separatist groups as well as the actions taken to deal with provocations and incidents. Raman does not provide operational detail in terms of tradecraft or case studies. There is a chapter on R&AW relations with foreign intelligence agencies that concentrates on high-level contacts with the CIA and French services. An example of the latter is a visit to the CIA by Kao where he is received positively by DCI George Bush. He views the relationship with the CIA as a mix of cooperation when interests coincide and the reality of the operational imperative. As an example of the latter, he mentions instances in which the CIA recruited two R&AW officers. He does not mention the reverse possibility.

Kaoboys of R&AW gives a good high-level overview of the formation, evolution, and current status of the Indian intelligence services.

In his earlier book, Intelligence, Raman presents a survey of Indian intelligence from colonial times, when the IB was created (he calls it the “world’s second oldest internal security agency”—the French being the first) (1)—to the present eight intelligence agencies that form India’s intelligence community. His approach is topical, covering all elements of modern intelligence—military, political, technical, collection, analysis, covert action, counterintelligence, oversight, and management of the intelligence process. For comparison, he often refers to the experience of US intelligence agencies and the commissions formed to investigate them. For example, as a basis for establishing India’s military intelligence element, he cites in great detail the precedents of DIA’s formation and its evolution. (31–36) Similarly, the NSA, NRO, NGA and related agencies provide the rationale for counterparts in India. When discussing the requirement for good counterintelligence, examples from the UK are cited and the Aldrich Ames case is analyzed as an exemplar of what should and should not be done.

In short, Raman’s Intelligence is a text book by an experienced intelligence officer who certainly understands the fundamental elements of the profession and provides a framework for successful operations, not only in India, but in any democratic society.

K. Sankaran Nair’s Inside IB & RAW does not deserve the professional attention Raman’s books have received. Although the dust jacket claims Nair served as a head of R&AW, in fact, he held the post for less than 3 months in the 1970s.(174) He spent more time in the IB, and the book has some interesting stories about his attempts in the 1960s to advise recently formed African nations about security services. Overall, though, he provides little beyond anecdotal “scribblings”(95) focusing on personal episodes and dealings with his superiors that are of no great intelligence value. It is a memoir covering his entire life, and while it no doubt recounts some impressive political accomplishments, it is primarily of local interest and a minor contribution to the intelligence literature.


Michael Ross with Jonathan Kay, The Volunteer: The Incredible True Story of an Israeli Spy on the Trail of International Terrorists (New York: Skyhorse Publishing, 2007), 294 pp., no index.

When in 1992, Victor Ostrovsky attempted to publish By Way of Deception, a book that revealed his adventures as a Mossad officer, the Israeli government obtained an injunction against the Canadian publisher. The process was repeated for an American edition. Ostrovsky fought back, and both editions were eventually published. The publicity made them best sellers and confirmed his former status. Now, Michael Ross, claiming the same credentials, has followed a similar path, but with no comment from Israel.

Volunteer is the story of Canadian Michael Ross, who went to Europe to see some of the world after completing military service. On impulse he went to Israel. There he worked on a kibbutz, learned Hebrew, converted to Judaism, married an Israeli, and was recruited by the Mossad in 1988 where he served until 2001. Ross tells in considerable detail of his training before describing missions in Africa, Europe, South East Asia, and the United States. There also were missions in the Middle East against terrorist groups “to foil attempts by Syria, Libya, and Iran to acquire advanced weapons technology.”(vii) He describes assignments at Mossad headquarters and as liaison with the FBI and CIA, in which he has unflattering remarks to make about the late CIA officer Stan Moskowitz that suggest Ross did not know him at all.

Life in the field was too much for Ross’s marriage, and he divorced, became estranged from his children, and suffered “depression, anger, compulsive behaviors, posttraumatic syndrome, and general alienation.”(viii) But, he tells the reader, he still admires the Mossad and all it stands for. Ross says at the outset that much of his book is “nominally secret,” adding, with a touch of arrogance, that his former colleagues need not worry, as he has left out anything that in his “judgment” might “compromise” them.(viii)

Volunteers has been published in the United States and in Canada, but the latter version lacks a chapter titled, Failure To Launch, that tells of Ross’s work against Hamas with FBI-CIA contacts. No explanation is given. Both editions lack documentation. We are left with a well written story book that asks the reader to “trust me,” but provides little reason to do so.

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Footnotes

1. Quoted in James M. Olson, Fair Play: The Moral Dilemmas of Spying (Washington, DC: Potomac Books, 2006), 18.

2. For analysis of the oversight problem in Canada, South Africa, South Korea, and Iraq, see Hans Born, Loch K. Johnson, and Ian Leigh (eds.), Who’s Watching the Spies?: Establishing Intelligence Service Accountability (Washington, DC: Potomac Books, 2005).

3. Alexander Orlov, Handbook of Intelligence and Guerrilla Warfare (Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press, 1963), 10.

4.Sherman Kent, Strategic Intelligence For American World Policy (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1966), xxi.

5. Ewen Montagu, The Man Who Never Was (Staplehurst, Kent, UK: Spellmount Limited, 2003).

6. Amy Zegart, Flawed By Design: The Evolution of the CIA, JCS, and NSC (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1999).

7. Michael Warner review of Flawed by Design, in Studies in Intelligence 44, no. 2 (2000): 101–103.

8. The previous edition was Strategic Intelligence: Windows into a Secret World (Los Angeles, CA: Roxbury Publishing Co., 2004)

9. Robert B. Strassler (ed.), The Landmark Herodotus: The Histories (New York: Pantheon Books, 2007), 728.

10. Raymond Batvinis, Origins of FBI Counterintelligence, (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2007. Reviewed in “Intelligence Officer’s Bookshelf,” Studies in Intelligence 51, No. 3 (2007).

11. F.W. Winterbotham, The Ultra Secret (New York: Harper&Row, 1974).

12. For a more detailed discussion of the cooperation between Britain and Poland during WW II see: Tessa Stirling, Daria Natecz, and Tadeusz Dubicki, Intelligence Co-Operation Between Poland and Great Britain During World War II: The Report of the Anglo-Polish Historical Committee (London: Vallentine Mitchell, 2005). Reviewed in “Intelligence Officer’s Bookshelf,” Studies in Intelligence 50, No. 1.

13. The source Salter uses for this story is Richard Dunlop, DONOVAN: America’s Master Spy (Chicago: Rand McNally, 1982). Unfortunately Dunlop does not document this point. Neither Slater nor Dunlop explains how Donovan, who did not speak German, could have had “one-on-one” conversations with Goering, who did not speak English.

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Historical Document
Posted: Mar 25, 2008 02:30 PM
Last Updated: Jun 25, 2008 07:40 AM