The Intelligence Officer's Bookshelf
Compiled and Reviewed by Hayden B. Peake
Necessary Secrets: National Security, the Media, and the Rule of Law by Gabriel Schoenfeld
A Time to Betray: The Astonishing Double Life of a CIA Agent Inside the Revolutionary Guards of Iran by Reza Kahlili
The Watchers: The Rise of America's Surveillance State by Shane Harris
Historical Dictionary of Naval Intelligence by Nigel West
The Oxford Handbook of National Security Intelligence by Loch Johnson (ed.)
Structured Analytical Techniques for Intelligence Analysis by Richards J. Heuer, Jr. and Randolph H. Pherson
The Chief Culprit: Stalin's Grand Design to Start World War II by Viktor Suvorov
The Deceivers: Allied Military Deception in the Second World War by Thaddeus Holt
Eyes In The Sky: Eisenhower, The CIA and Cold War Aerial Espionage by Dino Brugioni
Hitler's Intelligence Chief: Walter Schellenberg-The Man Who Kept Germany's Secrets by Reinhard R. Doerries
JOHNNY: A Spy's Life by R. S. Rose and Gordon D. Scott
The Making of a Spy: Memoir of a German Boy Soldier Turned American Army Intelligence Agent by Gerhardt B. Thamm
Rome's Wars in Parthia: Blood in the Sand by Rose Mary Sheldon
Spies: The Rise and Fall of the KGB in America by John Haynes and Harvey Klehr
A Spy's Diary of World War II: Inside the OSS with an American Agent in Europe by Wayne Nelson
They Dared Return: The True Story of Jewish Spies Behind the Lines in Nazi Germany by Patrick K. O'Donnell
Intelligence Services Abroad
Nest of Spies: The Startling Truth about Foreign Agents at Work within Canada's Borders by Fabrice de Pierrebourg and Michel Juneau-Katsuya
Son of Hamas: A Gripping Account of Terror, Betrayal, Political Intrigue, and Unthinkable Choices by Mosab Hassan Yousef
Spying on Ireland: British Intelligence and Irish Neutrality during the Second World War by Eunan O'Halpin.
Secrets: National Security, the Media, and the Rule of Law, by Gabriel Schoenfeld. (New York: W. W. Norton, 2010), 309 pp., endnotes, index.
What do James Monroe, Thomas Paine, Daniel Ellsberg, Philip Agee,
Herbert Yardley, and Thomas Tamm have in common? According to Gabriel
Schoenfeld they were all unpunished leakers, and he uses their examples
to address three important and related issues. First, does the First
Amendment make the press the final arbiter of what can be published?
Second, why aren’t the leakers prosecuted? Finally, are new laws needed
to protect the nation’s secrets?
To examine the first question, Schoenfeld uses the New York Times
decision to defy White House requests not to publish the story about
the NSA surveillance program to detect and monitor terrorist activity.
After reviewing the substantial and specific dangers pointed out to the Times, Schoenfeld challenges its position that the public’s right to know and the Times'
right to decide trump the government’s authority. There is, he
suggests, a corollary proposition: the "public's right not to know,"
(259) and the decision should rest with the Executive Branch of
government. He then reviews various historical precedents for that view.
As to legal action against leakers, Schoenfeld discusses the leakers
noted above and shows that they escaped punishment for different, often
inexplicable, legal or political reasons. The Pentagon Papers
case, he argues, is a good example of exoneration based on legal
technicalities. The Philip Agee case, Schoenfeld suggests, could
probably have been prosecuted under the Espionage Act, but he is at a
loss to explain why he was not. The most recent example involves the
Justice Department leaker in the NSA case, Thomas Tamm, who has not been
prosecuted even though he stated publicly that he acted because he
objected to the program, did not like the Bush administration, and hoped
it would damage the president’s reelection—which ironically took place
even before the Times story was published. (263) A decision here will establish a precedent.
Regarding new leaker laws, Schoenfeld thinks they are unnecessary. He
analyzes the existing government employee secrecy agreement and
concludes it would do the job if implemented consistently. The cases of
former CIA officers turned authors Frank Snepp and Victor Marchetti make
the point. He uses the Samuel L. Morison case—he sold classified
satellite photographs to a commercial magazine—to show that some leakers
do go to jail.
In the end, Schoenfeld argues that editors are not justified in
deciding what to print "no matter the cost." (260) Nor should they have
"unfettered freedom of action," which could lead to an imperial press.
Editors do have obligations under the law to act in the public good
(275) not for their self aggrandizement. Necessary Secrets is accurately titled, well documented, and persuasive.
A Time to Betray: The Astonishing Double Life of a CIA Agent Inside the Revolutionary Guards of Iran, by Reza Kahlili. (New York: Threshold Editions, 2010), 240 pp.
Details in his book have been changed for security reasons—Reza
Kahlili, for example, is a pseudonym—but that hasn’t diminished the
punch of this unusual story. Kahlili grew up in Iran but in the early
1970s went to college at the University of Southern California where he
lived with relatives. He returned with a masters in computer science in
time for the revolution that brought Ayatollah Khomeini to power.
Motivated by the end of the shah’s oppressive regime and visions of a
Persian renaissance, Kahlili joined the Revolutionary Guards’s computer
division. He might have remained an obscure programmer had not one of
his childhood friends joined the operational element of the Guards and
sought his assistance setting up a database of dissidents. When several
of his dissident friends defied the regime, Kahlili witnessed the
cruelty they endured, especially the women, who were routinely executed.
When the US embassy was seized and its occupants taken hostage in 1979
he learned of the brutal treatment the Americans received at the hands
of the Revolutionary Guards and discovered that the incident was
anything but a spontaneous act of students. Such events convinced him he
was witnessing the creation of a corrupt, unjust, iniquitous, Islamic
Kahlili decided to tell the world the truth about life in Iran and
took leave to visit a "terminally ill" relative in Los Angeles. Once
there, he contacted the FBI and through them the CIA. He writes that his
intent was merely to ask their help in revealing what was happening in
Iran. To his surprise, the CIA offered him an alternative
opportunity—become an agent and penetrate the Revolutionary Guards. And
that is what he did.
After training in the United States and London, Kahlili returned to
Iran and began reporting. In this book he describes the communication
techniques he used and outlines the kind of details he provided and the
methods he employed to avoid detection. Despite his careful adherence to
procedure, he did come under suspicion, but he survived, thanks to the
fortuitous death of his accuser. He also married but did not tell his
wife about his secret life. Sometime in the 1990s—he does not date his
experiences—the stress became evident to himself and his family. He got
permission to visit London and from there, with CIA help, he took his
family to the United States. Living under a new name, he became a
citizen. His son graduated from the University of California, Berkeley,
in 2001. By then his wife knew of his former clandestine life.
In his review of A Time to Betray, David Ignatius said he
initially doubted this incredible story. But after using his impressive
contacts and eventually speaking with Kahlili by phone, Ignatius
suggested the CIA should view the book as "a virtual recruitment
But the book is also a very important contribution to the
understanding of contemporary Iran and the role of intelligence in the
struggle against Islamic fundamentalism.
The Watchers: The Rise of America’s Surveillance State by Shane Harris. (New York: Penguin Press, 2010), 418 pp., endnotes, index.
One answer to the proverbial question "Who watches the watchers?" is
Shane Harris. In this book he chronicles "the rise of the surveillance
state" using the career of Adm. John Poindexter and his concept of a
Total Information Awareness (TIA) as his reference point. In principle,
TIA was to be a monumental link-analysis computer program used to
collect and analyze all available data—phone calls, credit card
purchases, banking transactions, travel details, addresses, etc., public
and private, worldwide, 24/7. From these data it was to extract links
to terrorist activities. Conceived after the 1983 attack on the US
Marine barracks in Lebanon, it was only in the mid-1990s that it was
developed, with strict privacy provisions, under contract to DARPA.
Before it could be fully tested its existence became public. Media
outrage and controversy followed and it was quickly shut down.
TIA wasn’t the only program testing this concept, writes Harris. The
Army’s Information Dominance Center (IDC) had developed a project using
open source data off the Internet. Its developers assumed it was free of
privacy considerations. Eventually called Able Danger, according to
Harris, it produced promising results on Chinese espionage operations in
the West and was considered for use in tracking al-Qaeda. But when
lawyers became aware of it, they judged that privacy was a major factor
and the programmer was instructed to delete the database or go to jail.
Then there was the so-called warrantless surveillance program run by
NSA that began after 9/11. After reviewing the well-known controversy
that ensued when the program became public, Harris adds that it was only
modified, not shut down. And, what is more, the TIA concept was
incorporated in the secret continuation.
The Watchers tells the story of these programs and the
bureaucratic conflicts that evolved as the Intelligence Community tried
to deal with the terrorist threat. Harris devotes considerable attention
to the careers of the principal players involved and the role of the
media, Congress, and the White House. He does not resolve the question
of how to protect privacy and meet the national intelligence mission,
but he does suggest that now is the time to debate the issue, not after
the next terrorist attack. While his book is thought provoking, Harris's
answer to the original question is that only the media can watch the
watchers. That too is worthy of debate.
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Historical Dictionary of Naval Intelligence, by Nigel West. (Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, 2010), 406 pp., appendix, chronology, index.
Intelligence polymath Nigel West has produced another of his
historical dictionaries—there is one on Chinese intelligence in the
mill. This one begins with a useful chronology and a historical essay on
naval intelligence. It ends with an interesting appendix on "US Navy
Signals Intercept Sites," but no British ones, and a reasonably complete
bibliographic essay on the literature, which, however, omits the three
volumes on WW II Secret Flotillas, by Richard Brooks. In between
are more than 600 entries in the dictionary that do not have source
references but do discuss naval espionage cases and personalities, naval
intelligence organizations, intelligence ships, and codenames. Most
concern WW I and II belligerents and Cold War actors. For reasons not
given, missing is the Tachibana case that involved, inter alios, Charlie
Chaplin’s former valet and Japanese espionage in America. While the
current edition is generally accurate, future editions should not claim
that Lou Tordella was ever the director of NSA.
Amazon offers some relief from the $95 price tag but does not offer a digital version—yet. It is a valuable reference work.
The Oxford Handbook of National Security Intelligence, by Loch Johnson (ed.). (New York: Oxford University Press, 2010), 886 pp., footnotes, end of chapter references, index.
As recently as 10 years ago, maintaining awareness of the
state-of-the-art in the literature and practice of intelligence required
monitoring three quarterly journals and looking out for the occasional
reader. This changed in 2007 when Professor Loch Johnson edited a
five-volume work on strategic intelligence, followed by single volumes
on the subject in 2007 and 2008. And now comes another volume with a new
title that he concludes betters expresses the field of inquiry. And he
is not alone; several others have produced similar works during the same
The objective of the current handbook is to provide a
"state-of-the-art assessment of the literature and findings in the field
of national security study." (4) Toward that end, Professor Johnson has
assembled 56 mostly original articles. Their authors are a mix of
academics and professionals with experience in the field. They come from
seven countries—the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Germany,
Sweden, Israel, and Canada. The articles, presented in 10 parts, cover
most elements of the profession. Only the technical aspects are omitted.
The introduction has two contributions. In the first, Johnson surveys
the field. The second, by Sir Richard Dearlove, examines the topic in
light of what he terms the "age of anxieties" (37) in which
"internationalization of national security has eroded the distinction…
traditionally made between home and away, between foreign and domestic
The remaining parts look at some familiar themes such as
"intelligence theory," though no example of what that is or what benefit
it would provide is discernible. Other topics include the importance of
intelligence history and the role of SIGINT. Each element of the
intelligence cycle receives attention as do covert action,
counterintelligence, and commercial intelligence. A few case studies,
domestic security, intelligence policy, ethics, and accountability round
out the coverage.
The final section deals with foreign intelligence services. With
characteristic candor, Ephraim Kahana notes that "much of the literature
about the Mossad may be considered pure fiction," before summarizing
the Israeli services and their missions. Wolfgang Krieger writing on the
German BND notes that unlike most services, it has responsibility for
military and foreign intelligence. Another article looks at intelligence
in the developing democracies, and the final piece is on intelligence
and national security in Australia. US readers will no doubt wish more
foreign intelligence services had been included.
This is a very valuable reference work, at least for the present.
Structured Analytical Techniques for Intelligence Analysis, by Richards J. Heuer, Jr. and Randolph H. Pherson. (Washington, DC: CQ Press, 2010), 343 pp., footnotes, no index.
In this volume two experienced analysts argue that intelligence
analysis is transitioning from emphasis on a single analyst to a
collaborative team. To aid in that transition, they present a collection
of analytical methods called structured analysis that capitalize on
Intellipedia and social networking to improve results. The book itself
has an unusual spiral-bound format with tabs for each well-illustrated
chapter. Chapters 2–10 provide a sequential approach to analysis
starting with building a taxonomy and continuing with the criteria for
selecting techniques and other basics—checklists and alternative
methods—necessary to begin. There are also chapters on types of
brainstorming, scenario development, hypothesis testing, the importance
of assumptions and a new techniques called "structured analogies." Then
comes a discussion of "challenge analysis" that is intended to help
break away from conventional modes of thinking and look at a problem
from different perspectives. A chapter on conflict management introduces
methods of treating opposing arguments. Chapter 10 looks at four
techniques, including a new one by Heuer called "complexity manger
technique," designed to help analysts and managers make tradeoffs.
Chapter 12 considers what to do when outside support is needed and
chapter 13 examines systematic ways of evaluating or validating
effectiveness. A final chapter looks at what developments are
anticipated in the future. The volume appears to be designed for
individual study and team application.
The one thing not included in the book is an example of a successful
application that shows how various techniques were tried, accepted, or
dismissed before reaching the conclusion. It would also be valuable to
know how the results of using these techniques compare with results
produced by a traditional analyst who knows his subject and the
languages involved. With these additions this volume would be a
definitive work. For now, however, this is the most up-to-date and
detailed nonmathematical treatment of this crucial field.
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The Chief Culprit: Stalin's Grand Design to Start World War II by Viktor Suvorov. (Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 2009), 327 pp., endnotes, bibliography, photos, index.
Who started World War II? Stalin was the guilty party wrote former GRU officer Viktor Suvorov in his book, IceBreaker.3
Hitler only attacked to preempt Stalin’s invasion of Germany. The
book received little attention in England, though it did much better in
Russia as it showed how Stalin overcame a mad dictator. One reviewer
noted that it sold only 800 copies in the West, but the first Russian
printing alone was 100,000 copies.4
Nevertheless, historians took the thesis seriously and analyzed it in
a series of papers and books. David Glantz reviews their findings in
his book, Stumbling Colossus. David Murphy examines it further in his 2005 book What Stalin Knew. The unanimous consensus: Suvorov arguments are not credible.5
Now, 20 years later, Suvorov has returned to his thesis in The Chief Culprit.
He has expanded the historical scope, adding background beginning with
the Bolshevik revolution, and he makes interesting comparisons of the
two mustached dictators. But his interpretation of certain events is
problematic, even confusing. Suvorov characterizes the Hitler-Stalin
Pact of 1939 as "Stalin’s Trap for Hitler," but he does not support this
revisionist judgment with facts. In his discussion of Trotsky’s murder
in Mexico, Suvorov writes "Trotsky liked the essays" the murderer wrote,
which allowed him to "penetrate Trotsky’s inner circle." (178) But
extensive evidence contradicts this interpretation. And that illustrates
the principal deficiency of the book: Suvorov may have the historical
context right but he is weak on substantiating cause and effect and
offers too many quotes and assertions without sources. In the end, he
doesn’t prove that "the Soviet Union entered World War II as an
aggressor" (278) as a move toward world domination. Suvorov just chooses
to interpret events that way.
In the end, Suvorov’s interpretations aside, readers are left
wondering how Hitler learned of Stalin’s purported invasion plans, and
that alone justifies a skeptical approach to The Chief Culprit.
The Deceivers: Allied Military Deception in the Second World War
by Thaddeus Holt. (New York: Skyhorse Publishing, 2007), 1148 pp.,
endnotes, bibliography, appendices, photos, maps, index, 2nd edition
with new addendum.
British intelligence historian M.R.D. Foot, known for his pithy assessments of a book’s essence, said that Gerald Reitlinger’s The SS was as "depressingly accurate."6 Of The Deceivers, Foot wrote "as good as it is long."7 A few details will suggest why.
Thaddeus Holt, a lawyer and former deputy under secretary of the
army, conceived the idea for this book in the early 1990s after reading
about British deception operations that influenced the invasion of
France in 1944. What role, he asked, did the Americans play? During
several years of research the scope of the project expanded. The result
was a detailed and wide-ranging history of allied deception in WW II.
The geographic emphasis is on the war in Northern Africa and Europe, but
South Asia, China, and Japan are also included. The story itself is
told in two parallel threads. One is about the deception operations
themselves, the principles that make them successful, and the
organizations involved. The other is about the people who did the work
in spite of the appalling amount of bureaucratic infighting.
The central figure is Lt. Col. Dudley Clarke, a maverick officer who
had entered the Royal Military Academy at 17 during WW I. Graduated in
the artillery, he was too young to serve overseas in the land army, so
he joined the Royal Flying Corps and was a pilot in Egypt for the rest
of the war. Back with the army at the start of WW II, he served in
France and Norway and was involved with the creation of the Commandos—he
gave them their name—and before being called to Egypt and assigned to
the staff of Gen. Sir Archibald Wavell and told to develop deception
plans. With no direct experience and starting alone, he formed a secret
planning section called "A" Force. Among the many deception operations
Holt describes—not all successful—was the one that misled the Germans
about the main thrust of Montgomery’s attack at El Alamein. A key to the
success of deception, said Clarke, was not to focus on what you want
the enemy to think, but what you want him to do. Clark used all means to
deceive the enemy. SIGINT was key to convincing the Germans that the
British order of battle had division and corps-level units that did not
exist. He also employed agents to whom he passed deceptive intelligence
intend to reach German ears. At one point, in an operation never fully
explained, he disguised himself as a woman in Madrid, only to be
arrested. Despite considerable embarrassment, he survived the ordeal.
Deception operations were not confined to the Middle East. Holt
recounts the work of the London Controlling Section (LCS) under Col.
Johnny Bevan. This group was responsible for the deception connected
with Overlord, the invasion of Europe. Also described are Operation
Mincemeat, which was made famous in The Man Who Never Was,8
and the Double Cross Committee’s use of double agents supported by
ULTRA. In the telling, we learn of the bureaucratic conflicts that were
overcome to make these operations successful. In Southeast Asia, Holt
tells of Peter Fleming—older brother of Ian—and his elaborate attempts
to deceive Japanese intelligence. (Holt rates the Italians as the best
intelligence service among the Axis nations, the Japanese the worst.)
Turning to the American role, Holt explains that when they entered
the war their deception plans and organization could be characterized as
disorganized at best. And it was only in 1943 that a degree of order
was imposed by Col. Norman Smith, the closest planner in terms of
competence, to the LCS's Bevan. Cooperation with the FBI, tasked to run
some double agents, was equally troubled and the result was not very
effective. Here too the conflicts among personnel were fierce and never
In the epilogue, Holt tells what happened to the key players after
the war. He also assesses the value of deception, concluding that with
the exception of Overlord its contribution is hard to measure. When
compared with the double-agent operations, however, he concludes that
they "had far more influence than the elaborate effort at signals
The Deceivers provides a historical picture of deception that
is truly unique. With descriptions of hundreds of operations and
impressive detail concerning all the principals, all extensively
documented, Holt’s book stands as the definitive work on the subject.
Eyes in the Sky: Eisenhower, the CIA and Cold War Aerial Espionage by Dino Brugioni. (Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 2010), 572 pp., endnotes, photos, index.
Dino Brugioni was more than "present at the creation" of America’s
national photo-interpretation capability. He was a major player and,
equally important, an astute observer until long after it became an
accepted source of national intelligence. In Eyes In The Sky his
focus is on president Eisenhower’s little known contributions to the
origins and development of strategic intelligence programs—especially
photographic systems—but his own first hand comments add color and
insights not available from any other source.
Brugioni’s story begins with a review of the origins of aerial
surveillance from balloons in the 18th century to the end of WW II. The
balance of the book is devoted to the Cold War and the demands it
created that were met by a group of remarkable innovators stimulated and
supported by President Eisenhower. At the big picture strategic level,
they included Edwin Land the developer of the Polaroid camera process,
Generals Doolittle and Goddard, James Killian and Amron Katz. He tells
how, at the working level, Richard Bissell, Clarence Kelly Johnson,
Allen Dulles and Arthur Lundahl combined their administrative and
technical skills to create the U-2 and the first satellite programs that
gave the country the ability to monitor Soviet military and industrial
capabilities. Brugioni takes care to mention many of the other
players—British and American—that played key roles. Their names will be
familiar to numerous readers.
Lundahl’s contributions get detailed attention as Brugioni describes
the origins of the National Photographic Interpretation Center and the
role it played in resolving the so-called missile-gap issue, the Cuban
Missile Crisis, and the monitoring of the Soviet strategic missile
program. Lundahl did more than create an organization, he briefed the
president, often with Brugioni’s help, using photos from the new
intelligence tools he had the foresight to support. These achievements
did not come without bureaucratic battles and Brugioni tells of the
conflicts between the CIA and the Air Force that Eisenhower was forced
to decide. How the challenges from Gen. Curtis LeMay were defeated—
Brugioni played a direct role—are of particular interest.
Brugioni adds some new details, as for example the story of the
"Caspian Sea Monster" that baffles photo interpreters to this day. He
also tells of the Genetrix balloon program, the conflicts surrounding
the U-2 overflights, and the patience Eisenhower displayed when the
first 13 satellites launches failed. While the development of the A-12
Oxcart and SR-71 platforms and their uses in several conflicts are
included, Brugioni concludes that the Corona satellite program is
President Eisenhower’s greatest legacy because it “laid the groundwork
for all the future US satellite reconnaissance systems.” (392)
Eyes in the Sky is history firsthand in which Eisenhower’s
role is finally documented. Dino Brugioni has made a fine contribution
to the intelligence literature.
Hitler’s Intelligence Chief: Walter Schellenberg—The Man Who Kept Germany’s Secrets, by Reinhard R. Doerries. (New York: Enigma Books, 2009), 390 pp., endnotes, bibliography, appendices, glossary, photos, index.
Walter Schellenberg was a Nazi SS intelligence officer whose
controversial career is examined here by a skillful historian.
Schellenberg was born in 1910; by 1936, he had graduated from law
school—Universities of Marburg and Bonn—and joined the Nazi Party. After
a brief period in private practice, he left to join the SS in Berlin,
where he came to the attention of Reinhard Heydrich, who tested his
abilities with brief special assignments in Vienna and Italy. When
Schellenberg returned to Berlin he was assigned to Gestapo
counterespionage. While there, still as a very junior officer in
November 1939, Schellenberg participated in the famous Venlo Incident—a
deception operation that resulted in the arrest of the MI6 head of
station. By the Fall of 1941, Schellenberg’s career had soared and he
became head of Amt VI, the Foreign Intelligence Service of the SD, where
he served during most of WW II.
Author Doerries gives most attention to Schellenberg’s wartime
activities, which are open to several interpretations. Doerries shows
that one reason for the uncertainty is that Schellenberg’s memoirs were
published after his death in 1951, based on notes assembled by others.
The American edition differed from the British version, and both
differed from the German version.9
Moreover, postwar interrogations of Schellenberg conflicted with
other sources, including a short autobiography he wrote in Sweden, which
is published, for the first time, in this volume as an appendix. One
thing Doerries does not explain, is whether Schellenberg ever found out
about the agents that Britain ran against Germany as part of the Double
In the narrative, Professor Doerries attempts to identify and sort out the differences. The Venlo Incident
is a case in point. He shows that it was less a well-planned operation
than an ad hoc venture that turned into a kidnapping only after an
attempt on Hitler’s life. But, Doerries notes that Schellenberg was
quick to capitalize on its apparent success for career purposes.
Likewise Doerries speculates as to why Schellenberg failed to follow
Hitler’s order to kidnap the Duke and Duchess of Windsor and got away
with it. And there is considerable detail on the bureaucratic battles
waged with his arch enemies Heinrich Müller, head of the Gestapo, and
Ernst Kaltenbrunner, chief of the RSHA, the Nazi umbrella security
Aside from his SS service, several things increased Schellenberg’
controversial reputation with the allies. The first was his helping "an
extraordinarily large number" (xiv) of Jewish prisoners escape from
concentration camps near the end of the war. He used this shamefully
self-serving act and the help of his mentor Heinrich Himmler, to get an
appointment as diplomatic liaison with the Red Cross in Sweden. A second
item was his service testifying at Nuremberg against his former
Other sources of controversy are revealed in the final chapter of Hitler’s Intelligence Chief.
Here Doerries tells of Schellenberg’s time in Sweden and his
extradition to Germany and then to Britain. He was much sought after as a
former head of the Nazi foreign intelligence apparatus, but his
interrogations yielded mixed judgments. The British concluded that he
"had not produced any evidence of outstanding genius." The Americans, on
the other hand, reported that he had in one case at least been "both
lucid and credible." (278) Here Doerries explains the detailed charges
against Schellenberg that surfaced during his interrogations. During
1948–49, he was tried and sentenced to six years by US authorities.
Released in 1950 for health reasons, he sought treatment in several
locations, eventually landing in Turin, Italy, where he died in 1952.
Professor Doerries has documented his account with recently released
documents from allied archives. The Germans records remain classified.
Thus the final version of Walter Schellenberg’s career is still to be
JOHNNY: A Spy’s Life by R. S. Rose and Gordon D. Scott.
(University Park: The Pennsylvania State University Press, 2010), 462
pp., endnotes, bibliography, photos, index.
Johnan Heinrich Amadeus de Graaf, called Johnny by his friends and
Jonny X by his case officers, is not one of the famous 20th century
spies, though his existence is confirmed in Christopher Andrew’s Defend The Realm.10
Born in Germany, he joined the merchant marine as a young man, became
a communist radical, and was imprisoned during WW I for mutiny. Freed
in November 1918, Johnny continued his political activism while working
in German mines. When sent to a Berlin conference to represent his party
faction, he was linked to Horst Wessel’s murder and escaped to
Switzerland, leaving his family behind. It was there that he was
recruited by Soviet military intelligence and sent to Moscow for
training. After some eye-opening assignments supervising German refugee
camps in the Soviet Union, he was sent abroad and conducted operations
in Romania, Berlin, Prague China, and London. It was while in London
that he volunteered to work for MI6 in 1933. Sent by the GRU to Brazil,
he served as a double agent until WW II began. After a period in prison
as a suspected Nazi, he escaped to London and dropped off the GRU radar
screen. The British used him to infiltrate German POWs and later sent
him to Canada to do the same. After the war he volunteered to work for
the FBI. He eventually retired with his second wife in Canada and
operated a bed-and-breakfast. Although the GRU learned of his defection
after the war, they decided to leave him alone.
JOHNNY contains intriguing details about GRU tradecraft
training and de Graaf’s relationship with General Berzin, head of the
GRU. Likewise, the authors describe his handling by SIS officer Frank
Foley, later famous for helping Jews escape the Nazis. It is an unusual
story of a double agent who fought the Nazis and the communists and
The Making of a Spy: Memoir of a German Boy Soldier Turned American Army Intelligence Agent, by Gerhardt B. Thamm. (Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers, 2010), 223 pp., endnotes, photos, index.
The Thamm family moved to Detroit in the 1920s and their son Gerhardt
was born there in 1929. When his father lost his job during the
Depression, they returned to Germany. Gerhardt was conscripted into the
Wehrmacht in January 1945 and fought the Soviets until the end of the
war. The NKVD captured his platoon and sent them into slave labor for 17
months. When he was repatriated and rejoined his family, the Soviets
had confiscated their land. They managed to move to West Germany, but
times were not easy there either. Gerhardt applied for a US passport and
returned to the United States where he joined the army. With his
language skills, he was assigned to military intelligence and eventually
returned to Germany with the Counterintelligence Corps (CIC). The Making of a Spy
covers his two years as a CIC agent, although he comments briefly on
several subsequent tours overseas with the Army Security Agency and
assignments with the Office of Naval Intelligence and the Defense
Intelligence Agency. With at least one exception, he has changed the
names of the individuals with whom he worked. The exception is Sgt. 1st
Class (later Col.) George Trofimoff, now a convicted KGB agent serving
life in prison, thanks to Vasili Mitrokhin.
While Thamm tells a compelling personal story, the strength of the
book lies in his descriptions of the training, tradecraft, and
agent-control techniques he developed in the field.
Rome’s Wars in Parthia: Blood in the Sand, by Rose Mary Sheldon. (Portland, OR: Vallentine Mitchell, 2010), 303 pp., end of chapter notes, bibliography, maps, index.
The ancient Parthian Empire encompassed much of what is today Iran
and Iraq. Periodically, for approximately 300 years, beginning about 100
BC, the Roman and Parthian Empires fought territorial wars. Virginia
Military Institute history professor Rose Mary Sheldon acknowledges the
many histories written about of these wars, while pointing out that all
have focused on their military and political aspects, to the neglect of
intelligence. Rome’s Wars in Parthia attempts to correct that deficiency.
In fact what the book reveals is that more is known about the lack of
intelligence, beyond normal reconnaissance and couriers, than its use.
In campaign after campaign Sheldon reports what was not known or even
sought after, and the consequences of such ignorance. The chapter
entitled What Did the Romans Know and When Did They Know It?
illustrates this point in general terms. A particular example, one of
many, discusses the failed invasion of Parthia by the Roman commander
Crassus. He proceeded before assessing the strength and capabilities of
his enemy and was defeated.
Sheldon frequently uses modern terminology in her narrative, as for
example, "covert action" and "shock and awe." The former, however, looks
more like traditional secret diplomacy. The latter is better thought of
as the use of overwhelming force. These concepts have a connotation
that doesn’t fit well with ancient military battles.
Rome’s Wars in Parthia is extensively documented and intended
for a "general audience." Nevertheless, readers who lack familiarity
with the history of those times will need to consult the Wikipedia to
identify and understand the many personages and countries named. In her
concluding chapter, Sheldon attempts some parallels with the current
situation in the Middle East, none of which deal with intelligence,
though they warrant consideration. This is a unique book and will be of
real value to those interested in intelligence and ancient history.
Spies: The Rise and Fall of the KGB in America by John Haynes and Harvey Klehr. (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2010), 704 pp., endnotes, bibliography, photos, index.
The headline in the New York Times of 21 December 1948 read:
"Fall Kills Duggan, Named With Hiss in Spy Ring Inquiry." Prominent
friends were outraged at the suggestion that former State Department
officer Lawrence Duggan had been a Soviet spy. Eleanor Roosevelt wrote
"How anyone could suspect him of un-American activities seems
inconceivable to me."11
In 1995, historian Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., referring to Duggan,
wrote that Yale University Press "should not have permitted this book to
blacken the name of a man whom many knew as an able public servant."12 The book was The Secret World of American Communism, by John Haynes and Harvey Klehr. Their most recent book, Spies,
written with Alexander Vassiliev, a KGB officer turned journalist, lays
any lingering doubts it to rest—"Duggan was a Soviet spy." (220–45)
The Duggan story is just one of many in Spies. The first
chapter reveals new documentation that Alger Hiss was a GRU agent
working with Duggan. The second chapter discusses the many atom spies,
several not previously known. Surprisingly, the authors conclude that
although Robert Oppenheimer had been a member of the Communist Party, he
had never become a Soviet agent. Russell McNutt, on the other hand, was
never suspected, but Spies documents that he was recruited by
Julius Rosenberg. There is new material too that will disturb the
defenders of Ethel Rosenberg. Later, the authors add supporting details
to previously known cases in the major government departments, including
Perhaps the most controversial chapter in the book concerns the 22
journalists who worked for the NKVD/KGB in various capacities. (145)
That the iconic I.F. Stone was included, enraged many of Stone’s
longtime friends and supporters, including his biographer
D.D.Guttenplan, who questions the validity of the KGB documents on which
Spies relies.13 The sources for Spies are contained in eight notebooks made by Vassiliev at the request of the SVR.14
As part of a joint Russian-American book program started in the 1990s,
Vassiliev was to provide extracts from KGB case files and give them to
historian Allen Weinstein after scrutiny by security. The resultant book
was called The Haunted Wood.15
But Weinstein did not use all of Vassiliev’s material. In 2002,
Vassiliev, then living in London, contacted Haynes and Klehr to see if
they wanted to exploit the notes. Spies was the result.
In his defense of Stone, Guttenpan has argued that either the SVR
slanted the message by controlling the material to which Vassiliev was
given access or that Vassiliev left out material or failed to recognize
the value of key items exonerating Stone and did not make notes about
them. The authors deals with these doubts in different parts of Spies and make an over whelming case that the extracts are genuine.
The argument over sources can never be resolved completely, however.
Even if the KGB/GRU archives are opened to scholars, some will say
Soviet sources can’t be trusted. But in the interim, Spies is the
most complete and accurate account to date. It shows the importance of a
good all-source counterintelligence service when a nation is opposed by
forces with a powerful and antagonistic ideology.
A Spy’s Diary of World War II: Inside the OSS with an American Agent in Europe by Wayne Nelson. (Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers, 2009), 204 pp., photos, index.
In December 1941, Allen Dulles, then a lawyer in New York, wrote a
letter recommending his secretary, Aubrey (Wayne) Nelson, for a position
in the Navy. Dulles did not mention that Nelson had partial vision in
one eye or that he was a graduate of the Feagin School of Dramatic Art.
Wayne was his stage name. He was not accepted, so Dulles recommended him
for a position in Col. William Donovan’s Office of the Coordinator of
Information (COI) where he was accepted and worked as an assistant to
Donovan. In the summer of 1942, aware that Nelson wanted an overseas
assignment, Donovan offered a position in the OSS in London. When Dulles
was informed, he suggested that Nelson go with him to Bern instead, but
before that could be arranged, the Swiss-French border had closed. So
Nelson volunteered for North Africa and after a series of assignment
changes began his overseas career there. He began his diary on 12
February 1943 on the ship to North Africa. His final entry was on 15
February 1945. He wrote the entries in a self-taught shorthand on
whatever paper was to hand and placed them in a briefcase he carried
throughout the war. He had plans of turning the diary into a play, but
that never happened. As his wife explains in the introduction to this
volume, she and her daughter found the briefcase after his death and
after translating and arranging the entries in chronological order,
edited the diary in its present form.
The entries are short and often mention well-known OSS figures—Max
Corvo and Carleton Coon and Michael Burke are examples. Nelson describes
missions conducted with the navy to land and retrieve agents from
Sardinia. Later he tells of his experiences as a case officer running
agent operations in Corsica and Italy before his major effort in the
invasion of southern France, Operation Dragoon. As the army moved North,
his OSS detachment briefed French penetration agents and worked with
Odette Sansom of SOE. After V-E Day, Nelson served on the Reparations
Commission in Moscow, Berlin, and at the Potsdam Conference, though his
diary does not comment on these assignments.
After the war Nelson worked in Hollywood as an adviser on 13 Rue Madelaine, a film about the OSS with Jimmy Cagney. He then helped Dulles write his book, Germany’s Underground. Assigned to the Joint Chiefs of Staff, he helped Kermit Roosevelt write the War Report of the OSS. Nelson joined CIA in 1949, where he became a case officer, met his wife Kay, and retired in 1970.
The diaries, with an introduction and epilogue by his wife, are a fitting tribute to a modest and brave intelligence officer.
They Dared Return: The True Story of Jewish Spies Behind the Lines in Nazi Germany by Patrick K. O’Donnell. (Cambridge, MA: Da Capo Press, 2009), 239 pp., endnotes, photos, index.
In his 1979 book about the OSS in Europe,16
Joseph Persico devoted several chapters to Fred Mayer, a Jewish
Sergeant born in Germany, who volunteered with several of his
compatriots for risky OSS missions behind German lines. In They Dared Return,
Patrick O’Donnell devotes an entire book to the subject. Thus the
reader learns more about each of the brave Jewish officers before and
after they joined the Army. Some things are administrative in nature, as
for example their training at the Congressional Country Club in
Maryland. But others are operationally significant. For example, at one
point while stationed in Italy, according to Persico, Mayer interviewed a
POW prospect for a mission. In O’Donnell’s account, we learn that Mayer
was himself in a camp housing German POWs, posing as a prisoner and
improving his German while observing Axis prisoners who might be used as
OSS agents. It was there that he noticed the POW, Franz Weber, and
later had him brought to his office for questioning. The obviously
surprised Weber was accepted. In another instance, the case of double
agent Hermann Matull is told for the first time.17
Mayer’s penultimate accomplishment, after being captured and tortured
by the Gestapo, was arranging the surrender of Innsbruck to the Allies
without a fight. The book ends with a not-quite-up-to-date summary of
where the key characters are now. The six appendices are copies of
mission debriefings that provide more details. It is a good story, well
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Intelligence Services Abroad
Nest of Spies: The Startling Truth about Foreign Agents at Work within Canada’s Borders
by Fabrice de Pierrebourg and Michel Juneau-Katsuya, trans. Ray
Conlogue. (Toronto: HarperCollins Canada, 2009), 372 pp., endnotes, no
Fabrice de Pierrebourg is a Canadian journalist. Michael
Juneau-Katsuya is a former member of the Canadian Security Intelligence
Service (CSIS). They have assembled a collection of espionage anecdotes
and commentaries dealing mainly with Canada, but overlapping to the
United States, United Kingdom, China, and Russia. Though some of their
stories on China appear valuable, others have a Weekly Reader plot depiction parsimony, some are just wrong, and most are undocumented.
Questions concerning accuracy are raised by unsupported statements
like, "the overall extent of espionage today is much greater that it was
during the Cold War." (3) A more specific example follows from the
comment that RCMP Sgt. Gilles Brunet approached Vladimir Vetrov,
(Farewell) in Canada when other sources says that couldn’t have happened
for good reason: Brunet was dead. On the topic of US and British
services, it is not true that William Stephenson was coded-named Intrepid,
that OSS was Stephenson's idea, or that he was dispatched by Churchill
as a personal representative to Roosevelt. And, Ian Fleming did not say
James Bond was modeled on Stephenson, and the source cited in the book
doesn’t say he did.
Few will dispute that Nest of Spies is an intriguing title or
that it offers an interesting view of Canadian intelligence. But all
should be watchful for careless errors and of its frugal sourcing. In
short, caveat lector!
Son of Hamas: A Gripping Account of Terror, Betrayal, Political Intrigue, and Unthinkable Choices, by Mosab Hassan Yousef. (Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 2010), 265 pp., endnotes, glossary, no index.
In 1996, Mosab Yousef was arrested in Ramallah by Shin Bet, the
Israeli security service, for buying guns. The son of a founder of
Hamas, he had a detailed knowledge of its personnel and its operations.
His initial confinement was long and harsh. But gradually Shin Bet eased
the pressure and then asked for "his help." He decided to pretend
cooperation, get released and then seek revenge. Freedom did not come
quickly or easily. He first had to convince his fellow Hamas inmates
that he was still one of them. Only then was he allowed to go home. Son of Hamas
tells how Yousef came to admire the Israelis and instead of revenge, he
became their agent for more than 10 years working for "peace against
Shin Bet was clever in its cultivation of Yousef. Before it tasked
him for any information, it helped him get a job to explain the
financial support it would provide to complete his education. Working
with his father Yousef became a trusted associate and helped with
operational details while keeping his handler informed. In return Shin
Bet promised to keep his father off the assassination list of known
Hamas leaders, a promise it kept. Yousef also provided information on
upcoming operations of the Islamic Jihad, the suicide bombers of the
Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade, the second Intifada, and the Hamas
relationship to Yasser Arafat. Yousef explains how, in the midst of his
dangerous clandestine life, he learned about Christianity and eventually
became a Christian.
After a decade of this secret life, Yousef had had enough. He decided
to quit and emigrate to the United States. Shin Bet told him it would
have to arrest his father since he was on its assassination list and
could not be protected if Yousef left. Nevertheless, leave he did, and
today he lives under his true name in California. When he called his
father in prison and told him what he had done, only silence followed.
Today he gives talks about the dangers of Islamic terrorism.
Son of Hamas is a fascinating memoir by a brave young man. On a
personal level, Yousef hopes it will show potential terrorists there is
an alternative to their lives. On an operational level, it provides
details about the tradecraft of both sides. Equally significant are
valuable insights into the complex Arab-Israeli conflict. It is an
important source for those trying to understand the politics of the
Spying on Ireland: British Intelligence and Irish Neutrality during the Second World War by Eunan O’Halpin. (New York: Oxford University Press, 2008), 335 pp., footnotes, bibliography, index.
Hans Marschner was arrested soon after parachuting into Ireland in
1941. He carried a substantial amount of British pounds (counterfeit it
turned out), a radio and a microscope, and Irish intelligence (G2)
concluded he was a spy with Irish associates. But he claimed his contact
would come from Britain. MI5 confirmed Marschner’s contact was a double
agent named Rainbow. (103ff) This seemingly routine exchange between security services was anything but, and Spying on Ireland tells why.
Winston Churchill was not happy that the Irish Free State (today’s
Republic of Ireland) declared neutrality during WW II. Britain—strongly
supported by the United States—feared Ireland would cooperate with the
Axis powers. This didn’t happen, and the British knew it because the
intelligence services of both countries developed an unofficial
clandestine relationship that continued throughout the war. Later, OSS
would join in. (199) In addition to counterespionage—see The Basket Case
for another example—the G2 developed an impressive signal-interception
and code-breaking capability. Results from the illegal radio in the
German legation, plus those of Japan and Italy were shared with Britain.
Both MI5 and MI6 maintained contacts in Ireland that were so important
that they defeated SOE attempts to operate there. The Irish, in turn,
shut down the Irish Republican Army for the duration of the war.
Recently released documents have allowed Trinity University professor
Eunan O’Halpin to study the intelligence relationship between G2 and
MI5-MI6. He explains, in considerable detail, how it fit the political
realities of wartime Ireland. The latter included the "American Note
Crisis" in 1944 that concerned demands to close Axis legations in
neutral nations. Valuable links had been developed in Switzerland,
Persia, Afghanistan, among others that the intelligence services wanted
to maintain. In Ireland, Éamon de Valera, the Taoiseach (head of
government), stood firm and fears of leaks concerning the upcoming
invasion proved unwarranted.
Spying on Ireland has extensive documentation that shows how
intelligence services can work together in unusual circumstances. It is a
very valuable contribution to the history of WW II intelligence.
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1 David Ignatius, Washington Post, 9 April 2010.
2 See, for example, Stuart Farson, et al., Global Security and Intelligence (Westport, CT: Praeger, 2008).
3 Viktor Suvorov (aka Viktor Rezum), Icebreaker: Who Started the Second World War? (London: Hamish Hamilton, 1990). The book first appeared in France in 1988.
4 Andrei Navrozov, www.richardsorge.com.
5 David M. Glantz, Stumbling Colossus: The Red Army on the Eve of World War (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 1990), 3–8.
6 M.R.D. Foot, SOE in France: An Account of the Work of the British Special Operations Executive in France 1940–1945 (London: HMSO, 1966), 461.
7 M.R.D. Foot, review of The Deceivers, English Historical Review, V120 (2005): 1103-04.
8 See Ben MacIntyre, Operation Mincemeat: How a Dead Man and a Bizarre Plan Fooled the Nazis and Assured Allied Victory (New York: Crown, 2010)
9 See Walter Schellenberg, The Labyrinth: The Memoirs of Walter Schellenberg, Hitler’s Chief of Counterintelligence (New York: Harper & Brothers Publishers, 1956); The Schellenberg Memoirs: A Record of Nazi Secret Service, trans. Louis Hagen (London: Andre Deutsch, 1956).
10 Christopher Andrew, Defend The Realm: The Authorized History of MI5 (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2009), 178. De Graaf is inexplicably left out of the index.
11 Eleanor Roosevelt, "My Day," New York World-Telegram, 24 December 1948.
12 Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., "The Party Circuit," The New Republic, 29 May, 1995: 39.
13 See for example, D.D. Guttenplan, "Red Harvest: The KGB In America," The Nation, 25 May 2009. For more detail see Guttenplan, American Radical: The Life and Times of I. F. Stone (New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2009).
original notebooks in Russian, together with English translations, are
now in the Library of Congress where anyone may view them.
15 Allen Weinstein and Alexander Vassiliev, The Haunted Wood:Soviet Espionage in America—the Stalin Era (New York: Modern Library Paperback, 2000).
16 Piercing the Reich: The Penetration of Nazi Germany by American Secret Agents in World War II (New York: Random House, 1979)
17 See National Archives and Records Administration, RG492, Entry 246, Box 2059 and Deadwood Folders.
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All statements of fact, opinion, or analysis expressed in this
article are those of the author. Nothing in the article should be
construed as asserting or implying US government endorsement of an
article’s factual statements and interpretations.