Intelligence in Recent Public Literature
The Intelligence Officer’s Bookshelf
Compiled and Reviewed by Hayden B. Peake
Cyber War: The Next Threat to National Security and What To Do About It by Richard A. Clarke and Robert K. Knake
Intelligence and Human Rights in the Era of Global Terrorism by Steve Tsang (ed.)
Intelligence Issues and Developments by Terrance M. Paulson (ed.)
The Intelligence Wars: Lessons from Baghdad by Steven K. O’Hern
Peddling Peril: How the Secret Nuclear Trade Arms America’s Enemies by David Albright
A World Of Trouble: The White House and the Middle East—From the Cold War to the War on Terror by Patrick Tyler
Handbook of Scientific Methods of Inquiry for Intelligence Analysis by Hank Prunckun
Handbook of Warning Intelligence: Assessing the Threat to National Security by Cynthia Grabo
Intelligence Analysis: How To Think In Complex Environments by Wayne Michael Hall and Gary Citrenbaum
Intelligence Analysis: A Target-Centric Approach, 3rd Edition, by Robert M. Clark
Intelligence Research and Analysis: An Introduction by Jerome Clauser
National Intelligence Systems: Current Research and Future Prospects by Gregory F. Treverton and Wilhelm Agrell (eds.)
KH601: “And Ye Shall Know the Truth and the Truth Shall Make You Free,” My Life in the Central Intelligence Agency by Richard G. Irwin
The Reluctant Spy: My Secret Life With the CIA’s War on Terror by John Kiriakou with Michael Ruby
A Woman’s War: The Professional and Personal Journey of the Navy’s First African American Female Intelligence Officer by Gail Harris with Pam McLaughlin
Anthropological Intelligence: The Deployment and Neglect of American Anthropology in the Second World War by David H. Price
Arabian Knight: Colonel Bill Eddy USMC and the Rise of American Power in the Middle East by Thomas W. Lippman
The Black Bats: CIA Spy Flights over China from Taiwan, 1951–1969 by Chris Pocock, and Clarence Fu
Cavalier & Roundhead Spies: Intelligence in the Civil War and Commonwealth by Julian Whitehead
Deathly Deception: The Real Story of Operation Mincemeat by Denis Smyth
Dilly: The Man Who Broke Enigma by Mavis Batey
England’s Greatest Spy: Eamon de Valera by John J. Tur
Hunting Evil: The Nazi War Criminals Who Escaped and the Hunt to Bring them to Justice by Guy Walters
Iran and the CIA: The Fall of Mosaddeq Revisited by Darioush Bayandor
Shadows On The Mountains: The Allies, the Resistance, and the Rivalries That Doomed WWII Yugoslavia by Marcia Christoff Kurapovna
T-FORCE: The Race For Nazi War Secrets, 1945 by Sean Longden
The World that Never Was: A True Story of Dreamers, Schemers, Anarchists, and Secret Agents by Alex Butterworth
The Entity: Five Centuries of Secret Vatican Espionage by Eric Frattini
The Family File by Mark Aarons
Military Intelligence in Cyprus: From the Great War to the Middle East Crisis by Panagiotis Dimitrakis
Mossad Exodus: The Daring Undercover Rescue of the Last Jewish Tribe by Gad Shimron
The Caliphate by Andre Le Gallo
Cyber War: The Next Threat to National Security and What to Do About It by Richard A. Clarke and Robert K. Knake. New York: HarperCollins, 2010, 290 pp., glossary, no index.
Cyber war as defined in this book refers to “actions by a nation-state to penetrate another nation’s computers or networks for the purpose of causing damage or disruption.” (6) The authors argue that because the United States enjoys a substantial advantage in cyber technology throughout its infrastructure, US systems are bigger targets and in greater jeopardy than those of any other nation. Put another way, it is a sobering fact that neither civilian entities nor the military could function without the Internet.
As with other forms of warfare, cyber war has offensive and defensive components. Militarily, the authors give the United States and Israel high marks for offensive cyber warfare capabilities. The attack on the Syrian nuclear facility in 2007 during which the Israelis neutralized Syrian air-defense computers is used to illustrate cyber war reality. To strengthen the argument, cyber attacks against Estonia, Georgia, and South Korea are examined in considerable detail.
On the defensive side, the authors note, the US Cyber Command was established to protect Defense Department systems. Likewise, on the civilian side, the Department of Homeland Security is responsible for measures to defend against cyber attack on government facilities. The authors argue at length, however, that a gap remains: US business and commercial networks. Oil refineries, air-traffic-control systems, banking networks, and the electric power grid are vulnerable to logic bombs—programs placed in a computer network to be activated later to destroy its functions—and other malicious software that could render the Internet impotent and devastate the economy.
Cyber War suggests the main threat comes from a potential conflict with China and Russia, since both have sophisticated cyber warfare capabilities, although smaller nations—North Korea—and even hackers are a problem. A number of preventive measures to minimize the likelihood of cyber attacks are discussed. These include international treaties to ban cyber war against civilian infrastructures, a “no first-use” pledge, plus national and international regulatory mechanisms. Interestingly, the authors do not recommend an attempt to eliminate cyber espionage since it can have positive effects and can’t be stopped anyway.
Richard Clarke’s national security experience under four presidents gives him insights to this problem. Robert Knake, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, adds the perspective of youth. Together they have attempted to alert the public to a potential doomsday scenario. But by not offering source notes, the authors leave the reader wondering whether the problem is as serious as they suggest. Is there more to the story?
Intelligence and Human Rights in the Era of Global Terrorism by Steve Tsang (ed.). Westport, CT: Praeger Security International, 2007, 224 pp., endnotes, index.
How can the West overcome the worldwide terrorist threat while protecting civil liberties and human rights? Steve Tsang, a former dean of St. Antony’s College, Oxford, has assembled 13 papers that address various parts of the answer. The authors are senior academics and government officials—retired and active—from six Western nations; all have considerable experience thinking about and, in some cases, dealing with terrorism. War and “immoral” operations, they suggest, are not the answer; good intelligence, however, is a basic requirement.
The authors dwell heavily on what must be done to combat terrorists. “Intelligence organizations must work with their governments…to remove the wider social, religious, economic, and ethnic conditions that enable groups like al Qaeda…to entrench and regenerate themselves by recruiting new generations of leaders, agents, and suicide bombers.” Of equal importance is the need for democratic governments and intelligence communities “not to lose credibility and confidence among their own citizens” as they deal with the threat. (6)
British journalist, Mark Urban suggests the need for “greater transparency” to create understanding among the public—“greater specificity about terrorist or weapons of mass destruction threats.” (24) Several authors discuss improvements needed—especially oversight, legal frameworks, better assessment, and budgetary procedures—in the US, British, Israeli, and German intelligence communities. Oxford academic Alex Danchev devotes a chapter to the “human intelligence” problems created by Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay. Professor Anthony Glees writes about needed reforms in the British intelligence and security services. Professor Richard Aldrich comments on the necessity for setting priorities in a world of continuing and shifting threats “as intelligence services struggle to address globalization,” (163) suggesting that the changes already made “are not radical enough.” (168)
While the articles are strong on what needs to be done in general, the question raised at the outset is not answered directly. Moreover, the authors do not seem to recognize that the intelligence services are themselves well acquainted with the problems and have implemented solutions. The recommendations made may indeed improve public understanding, but whether they are really addressing a problem that is already solved is not considered.
Intelligence Issues and Developments by Terrance M. Paulson (ed.). Hauppauge, NY: Nova Science Publishers, Inc., 2008, 177 pp., end of chapter notes, index.
Nova Science Publishers specializes in reprinting—and sometimes portraying as fresh work—material that is available in the public domain, often at no cost. This collection contains eight chapters, each of which is an excerpt from a congressional research report. Thus they provide indications of what is furnished to the intelligence oversight committees of Congress. Topics the chapters cover include proposals for changes to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and the role of the director of national intelligence (DNI). One chapter includes a study on the use of the polygraph in the Department of Energy—in response to congressionally mandated changes after 9/11. The study shows why this counterintelligence tool is controversial. The price of ignoring open source intelligence (OSINT) is illustrated in a report on India’s nuclear tests in the 1990s. A chapter on national intelligence estimates asks: “How Useful to Congress?” The final chapter discusses whether DOD counterintelligence operations encroach on CIA’s covert action mission.
This book may be of value as a “one-stop” introduction for readers new to these subjects, since congressional research reports are not made directly available to the public. But the editor’s stated intent, to present “new in-depth analyses of developments in the field” of intelligence in the “21st century environment,” is too ambitious. The commentary on developments is thin, more descriptive than analytical, and many topics—budgets and contractors, to name two—are omitted. For real depth, further reading is essential—no bibliography is provided. Google would be the place to start.
The Intelligence Wars: Lessons from Baghdad by Steven K. O’Hern. Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books, 2008, 292 pp., index.
Air Force Col. Steven O’Hern was not prepared to battle an insurgency when he was sent to Iraq to command a joint counterintelligence unit in 2005. His experience convinced him that the “nation’s intelligence community does not work well against an insurgency.” The Intelligence Wars summarizes the problems he identified—personnel, doctrinal, bureaucratic, and operational—and suggests some solutions.
The distinguishing characteristic of the current insurgency or fourth generation warfare (4GW), as O’Hern calls it, is that “it seeks to convince our leaders that their strategic goals are either unachievable or too costly.” He suggests there are no technology fixes to prevent or defeat this kind of warfare, though technology can help. The solution, he writes, is improved HUMINT, and O half the book is devoted to explaining what changes are necessary and how they should work.
There are chapters on recruiting and handling, interrogations, the demand for translators, the role of contractors and problems of “stove piping.” (20–27ff) After recognizing the many units engaged in HUMINT at all levels and considering the need for coordinated operations, he concludes by suggesting “a counterinsurgency supremo” may be required. (272)
There is no way to tell from the instances O’Hern provides whether that is the right approach. There may well be alternatives. His particular solution aside, The Intelligence Wars does make a very strong case for an improved HUMINT counterinsurgency program now.
Peddling Peril: How the Secret Nuclear Trade Arms America’s Enemies by David Albright. New York: Free Press, 2010, 295 pp., endnotes, index.
Several books have covered the story of A.Q. Khan and how he made millions selling atomic secrets and hardware to Iran, North Korea, and Libya while helping Pakistan become a nuclear power.1 David Albright, a journalist and former UN nuclear inspector, updates the previous works as he argues that trade in nuclear weapons continues. In one chapter he looks at CIA and MI6 roles in ending Libya’s bid to become a nuclear power and in bringing down Khan’s network with the cooperation of other nations. Curiously though, Albright mentions fewer participants than the earlier accounts. The book also discusses court actions taken and not taken against the principals in several countries—no one wanted to prosecute; this part adds new material. Albright’s sources include unnamed confidential informants and various media and court documents, but the reader is left to trust his word in many cases. Peddling Peril is a good summary, but not definitive.
A World Of Trouble: The White House and the Middle East—from the Cold War to the War on Terror by Patrick Tyler. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2009, 628 pp., endnotes, photos, index.
Each post–WW II US president has had to deal with problems in the Middle East. A World Of Trouble chronicles the “foreseeable diplomatic blunders” of successive administrations. The primary emphasis is on the Arab-Israeli conflict, but relationships with Egypt, Lebanon, Iran, Iraq, and, eventually, al Qaeda are discussed. Eisenhower comes off the best; his successors are poor seconds. To varying degrees, the CIA played a role in each adventure. The CIA role in the 1953 coup in Iran is mentioned but without much detail. William Casey’s contributions to the Iran-Contra affair under President Reagan are covered in detail. Several incidents during the Clinton administration receive attention; the account of the efforts of CIA officer Robert Baer to bring down Saddam Hussein in the mid-1990s includes new information. Likewise, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s attempts to link Jonathan Pollard’s release to an Arab-Israeli peace agreement are dealt with at length, as is George Tenet’s reaction when Netanyahu leaked to the Israeli press that he was “coming home” with Pollard. (493) The circumstances surrounding the Iraq war in 2003 are reviewed but nothing new is added. Tyler notes that an “impressive CIA-produced video” was used to make the case for the Israeli bombing in 2007 of the nuclear facility in Syria, (551) but he concludes that since the intelligence was available before the attack a more prudent course would have been to present the evidence to the UN and perhaps avoid the bombing.
Whatever the truth on the diplomatic side, A World Of Trouble makes clear the necessity for good intelligence in dealing with the Middle East conflict.
Handbook of Warning Intelligence: Assessing the Threat to National Security by Cynthia Grabo. Lanham, MD: The Scarecrow Press, 2010, 306 pp., no index.
Cynthia Grabo wrote the original manuscript for this book on her own time toward the end of her career at DIA. When she submitted the 700-page volume to her masters, it was confiscated and classified secret. She didn’t keep a copy. DIA published a three volume classified version and released it in 1972 and 1974. In 2002, an abridged, unclassified version was published under the title Anticipating Surprise. The edition discussed here contains the first two of the three volumes; the third remains classified for some reason. In the foreword, former National Defense Intelligence College professor Jan Goldman writes that few books describe “how to do intelligence.” (xiv) Although Goldman implies that this is among the few, this book really is not. Instead, it describes the kinds of things intelligence analysts should look for, but not how to go about doing the job. Not a single specific example is given.
There are other weaknesses. The author explains she saw the invasion of Czechoslovakia coming and couldn’t get anyone to listen. But she gives no details to support her argument or how she presented it. In the chapter on what makes a good analyst, the attributes of subject knowledge and language ability are omitted. When speaking about political warning factors, she finds them more susceptible to deception than military ones, but once again she gives no examples and cites no sources. Her contention that “the perception of enemy intentions is essentially a political judgment” (177) is easily refuted by any competent military commander. As to deception, at the time of her writing she found it the least understood factor of the warning problem. But even in 1972 that was incorrect, and it certainly is now as Thaddeus Holt’s book, The Deceivers, makes clear. The book, in short, is out of date and needs source citations and practical examples.
Intelligence Analysis: How to Think in Complex Environments by Wayne Michael Hall and Gary Citrenbaum. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC Clio, 2009, 440 pp., endnotes, bibliography, index.
Handbook of Scientific Methods of Inquiry for Intelligence Analysis by Hank Prunckun. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, 2010, 233 pp., end of chapter notes, photos, index.
Intelligence Analysis: A Target-Centric Approach, 3rd Edition, by Robert M. Clark. Washington, DC: CQ Press, 2010, 338 pp., end of chapter notes, index.
Intelligence Research and Analysis: An Introduction by Jerome Clauser. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, 2008, 218 pp., end of chapter notes, index.
Each of the four books above has the objective of helping the intelligence analyst get it right by offering scientific methods to resolve intelligence problems. The authors of Intelligence Analysis: How to Think in Complex Environments devote chapters to the following techniques of “advanced analysis”: decomposition, critical thinking, link, pattern, trend, anticipatory, cultural, anomaly, semiotics, aggregation, recomposition, synthesis, and technology. It ends with some ideas on a system of thought. A reader should be wary of a major weakness of this book; it is written in advanced Pentagonese. The following example is unfortunately typical: “Recomposition is a cognition—and machine—driven compilation and recompilation of parts, components, basic elements, and data to gain insight, information, knowledge and understanding of the whole.” (299) Summing up, “It is with recomposition that the important bridge between seemingly meaningless data (zeros and ones) becomes meaningful.” (312) There is an even more serious limitation to consider. There are no examples demonstrating that the techniques described actually work. They authors discuss only what should be done. Certainly not for a beginner.
The second book, by Australian professor Hank Prunckun, who teaches criminal intelligence at Charles Sturt University is more of a general primer. In 15 chapters it reviews the basics of intelligence, the research process, use of covert sources, basic statistics, presentation and reporting, and some advanced techniques. There is a separate chapter on techniques for analyzing counterterrorism and another for ethical considerations. But Prunckun too falls short when it comes to illustrating how techniques work. For instance, he notes that “force field analysis can be carried out to weigh the possible success of a planned operation.” (139) But he gives no examples that show how to do it, any indication that it has ever been successful, or the criteria for selecting a particular technique.
Intelligence Analysis: A Target-Centric Approach, contains Robert Clark’s latest thinking on the subject. He has designed a system intended to ensure sharing of information and analytic objectivity while enhancing the chances a decision maker will act on and not ignore a product. The target-centric approach is a collaborative method that uses analytic techniques needed to solve the problem. The techniques are discussed in three parts containing 15 chapters. Part 1 introduces target-centric analysis. Part 2 considers modeling, and Part 3—more than half the book—describes the techniques of predictive analysis. He includes many diagrams and charts to illustrate his points, but like the books mentioned above, one is left asking which technique works, when should one be used as opposed to another, how is a given technique applied, etc. Clark discusses the value of case-based reasoning but his illustrations (201–2) clarify little. Thus, one is left wondering just how the various approaches discussed are actually applied to a real-world situation, or whether they have ever been applied successfully.
The revised edition of Clauser’s Intelligence Research and Analysis, like Prunckun’s book, is an introductory text and covers basic techniques. It is the only one, however, to give a real-world example of how the techniques and methods discussed are applied. The author points out that his example is not given as a recommended approach but just to show how an actual study—in this case using open sources—was performed and the results achieved. One might wish it were more detailed, but at least it is a start.
National Intelligence Systems: Current Research and Future Prospects by Gregory F. Treverton and Wilhelm Agrell (eds.). New York: Cambridge University Press, 2009, 294 pp., footnotes, index.
This book was sponsored by the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency in 2008. It examines the state of research on intelligence and considers where additional research might enrich understanding and practice of the subject. The first of three parts examines the nebulous field of intelligence theory but does not explain why theory is needed. Nor does the book explain why current explanations—the kind most professionals would provide—are not good enough. Treverton and Agrell do offer some interesting thoughts on intelligence after the Cold War, looking at why it did not do well after the war on terrorism began. The second part looks at post-9/11 technical intelligence and the relationship of counterterrorism and intelligence. In the latter case, after considering the threat and requirements, there is a discussion of metrics, a topic not often mentioned in intelligence literature.
The third part examines the relationship between intelligence and the policy- or decision maker, oversight from a German perspective (210ff), and the nature of any limits when dealing with secret intelligence in “the age of public scrutiny.” (235ff) The final chapter deals with the question of whether intelligence is a profession. It allows that there are intelligence professionals but not necessarily an intelligence profession. It also acknowledges that a theory of intelligence would be of more value to academics than to practitioners, although why this is so is not immediately obvious. The contributors, both academics and former professional intelligence officers, come from a number of Western countries. They have made a thoughtful contribution that illustrates the extent to which intelligence in international relations today has changed.
KH601: “And Ye Shall Know the Truth and the Truth Shall Make You Free,” My Life in the Central Intelligence Agency by Richard G. Irwin. Herndon, VA: Fortis Publishing, 2010, 363 pp., photos, glossary, no index.
In pursuit of a boyhood dream to become a Pennsylvania state trooper, Richard Irwin submitted his application when he was a junior in college. He was rejected. Then he saw an advertisement for CIA officers and, relying on his experience as a construction worker, bouncer, bartender, and security guard, he submitted an application. He was rejected. But this time the door of opportunity was not shut completely; he was offered the chance to become a contract CIA security guard with the possibility of staff employment in the future. He accepted. After a 28-year career, with assignments in the Office of Security, the Directorate of Science and Technology, the Directorate of Operations, the White House, and the new Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Irwin retired and wrote KH601.
The book tells his story of life overseas, with adventures in Latin America, Europe, and at Headquarters, during which he visited 87 countries while raising a family. He covers his training, his duties on the DCI security staff, his realization that work as an analyst was not for him, and a special assignment in Africa to conduct a personal protection survey. In Latin America he worked against insurgents and in Europe on the counternarcotics program. His final overseas tour was in Afghanistan, where he implemented security measures at various locations.
Irwin’s career was not without its bumps, which he describes with candor, but he ended as a senior manager during assignments at the White House and DHS. KH601 shows the importance of motivation and what can be achieved when one is willing to start at the bottom and work hard.
The Reluctant Spy: My Secret Life in the CIA’s War on Terror by John Kiriakou, with Michael Ruby. New York: Bantam, 2009, 224 pp., index.
John Kiriakou was recruited as an analyst by the CIA out of George Washington University in 1990. He later became a case officer, but that career move was not a reluctant choice, as the title suggests. The reluctance surfaced gradually as he realized the negative impact his life in the field would have on his marriage and family. The substance of the book, however, concerns his training, the importance of knowing foreign languages—Arabic and Greek— his service in Pakistan, the capture of Abu Zubaydah, and his views on torture that surfaced publicly after he resigned. He also tells of his tour in Greece, working against terrorist groups, and at Headquarters, where he encountered the management conflicts that led to his departure. For prospective intelligence officers, he gives a realistic picture of the challenges and opportunities one can expect with the right skills and motivation. As former senior CIA officer Bruce Riedel writes in the preface, “Any American who wants to know what it is really like to work as an intelligence officer in the CIA should start here.”
A Woman’s War: The Professional and Personal Journey of the Navy’s First African American Female Intelligence Officer by Gail Harris with Pam McLaughlin. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, 2010, 278 pp., end of chapter notes, no index.
When Gail Harris watched actor Don Ameche give an intelligence briefing to his carrier pilots in the movie Wing and a Prayer she decided that was what she wanted to do in life. She was 5 years old. Before she was 60, she was a US Navy captain. A Woman’s War tells how she did it.
After graduating from Drew University and Navy Officer Candidate School, Harris was accepted for intelligence training—as a test case. She would be the first African American female officer in each of her subsequent assignments. A Woman’s War is roughly chronological—there are occasional topical digressions—and describes her career with considerable candor. Told by an intelligence instructor, in front of the class, that she did not “belong in the Navy, let alone in a squadron,” (13) she responded with a wisecrack that shut him up and won her class’s respect. The constant thread of her story is hard work and doing her job well.
While serving in a variety of assignments all over the world, Harris overcame a number of potentially career ending obstacles: Graves disease (a thyroid condition), depression, a persistent weight problem, a “wild child drunken playgirl reputation,” (135) being passed over for promotion to commander, and an investigation for security violations. She treated them as speed bumps. Her solutions make inspiring reading.
Her groundbreaking assignments included a war-gaming tour at the Naval War College, where she declined an offer to join the CIA; work at the naval component of CENTCOM; service as acting naval attaché in Egypt; a tour at the Strategic Air Command, where she managed a staff of 500; and the Space Command in Colorado Springs, where she learned the potential threats posed by cyber warfare.
Captain Harris concludes her memoir with a chapter on lessons she learned as a black woman and her views on intelligence as a profession. (258ff) A Woman’s War is an inspirational story for career intelligence professionals in general and for African American women in particular. A really valuable contribution to the intelligence literature.
Anthropological Intelligence: The Deployment and Neglect of American Anthropology in the Second World War by David H. Price. (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2008), 370 pp., endnotes, bibliography, index.
Author and anthropologist David Price has a problem. He can justify anthropologists participating in WW II against fascism, but applying the science to “CIA’s efforts to achieve global hegemony” is an entirely different matter. What this scientist avoids is any evidence that the CIA has hegemonic objectives or that anthropological techniques would be a factor if it did. These nuances aside, the bulk of the book is devoted to the uses of anthropology during WW II. He discusses uses that were legitimate in his view and notes occasions in which anthropological considerations should have been, but were not, taken into account, for example, the decision to drop the atomic bomb. He argues that Truman and Eisenhower didn’t understand the Japanese culture and opted instead for an “expedient display of power.” Good anthropology, by Price’s definition, does not use cultural knowledge against those from whom it was acquired—fascism excepted.
At times Anthropological Intelligence becomes encumbered by the jargon of social science, e.g., “the postmodern commitment to maintaining a stiff incredulity towards metanarratives.” And Price is upset by calls for anthropologists to join the war on terrorism, although he is resigned to the practical need for the American Anthropological Association to accept CIA recruitment ads in its publications. But overall, despite the author’s unconcealed biases, the role and value of anthropology in intelligence work is evident. So far, this book is the only one on the subject. Price is working on Anthropological Intelligence in the Cold War.
Arabian Knight: Colonel Bill Eddy USMC and the Rise of American Power in the Middle East, by Thomas W. Lippman. Vista, CA: Selwa Press, 2008, 317 pp., endnotes, bibliography, photos, maps, index.
The son of Protestant missionaries, Bill Eddy was born in Sidon, on the coast of Lebanon. By the time he entered Princeton he spoke Arabic, French, and German. He was a Marine intelligence officer in WW I, saw combat in France, and was left with a lifelong limp from wounds suffered there. In the interwar period, he tried academic life but was ready to reenter the Marines when WW II began. His language skills trumped his limp, and he became the US naval attaché to Egypt. During the war he worked with OSS in the runup to Operation Torch, the British-American invasion of North Africa, and he was the translator for FDR when the president met King Ibn Saud in 1943. After the war Eddy served in the State Department and was its point man with Congress in working out details of the postwar intelligence community. The discussion of the evolving CIA-State relationship is particularly good. Eddy eventually retired from State and served ARAMCO in the Middle East until his death in 1962. A well done biography of a fine officer.
The Black Bats: CIA Spy Flights over China from Taiwan, 1951–1969 by Chris Pocock with Clarence Fu. London: Schiffer, Ltd., 2010, 208 pp., index.
In 1953 the CIA was ordered to cease its flights penetrating PRC airspace. But the missions continued with planes piloted by a US-trained unit of Chinese flyers on Taiwan named the Black Bats, not to be confused with the Black Cats who later flew U-2s. Chris Pocock tells the story of the former in this book. Despite losing 142 crew members, the Black Bats flew photoreconnaissance and SIGINT missions for 20 years using a variety of platforms including B-17s, B-26s, and modified P2Vs. Pocock discusses mission training, CIA administrative support, planning, and execution. In the end the SIGINT missions provided the most valuable intelligence. Overall supervision was provided by the CIA station in Taiwan initially headed by Ray Cline and later Hal Ford. During the Vietnam War, the Bats flew missions over North Vietnam. That program ended in 1973 with the conclusion of the Vietnamese peace talks. The documentation for the book comes largely from the Republic of China archives where co-author historian Clarence Fu did the heavy lifting. Interviews with former participants also contributed. The Black Bats is a fitting tribute to some very brave men.
Cavalier & Roundhead Spies: Intelligence in the Civil War and Commonwealth by Julian Whitehead. Barnsley, South Yorkshire, Pen & Sword, 2009, 243 pp., endnotes, appendices, photos, index.
In her 1935 history, Espionage!: The Story of the Secret Service of the English Crown, M. G. Richings excluded discussion of “the intelligence system under Oliver Cromwell” during the British civil war and after, roughly 1642–1660. Cavalier & Roundhead Spies fills that gap by describing the intelligence battles between the Royalist cavaliers, who wanted to regain power, and their republican opponents—the Roundheads—who fought to keep it. Author and former British military intelligence officer Julian Whitehead tells of the intelligence organizations created for the new form of government at the time and the men who led them while protecting the state. Cromwell’s principal intelligence officer, John Thurloe, established a precedent-setting small but effective intelligence structure. Whitehead describes it and the espionage techniques employed to counter the never ending assassination plots at home and abroad. These include the recruitment of agents and informers, mail interception, decrypting coded messages, and dealing with defectors. He also stresses the importance of a good relationship between the political leader and his intelligence officer. One of the most important lessons from this period is that intelligence can help in sustaining a government, but it is not likely to maintain a government in power. Remarkably, after Cromwell’s commonwealth fell and Charles II was restored to the throne, Thurloe survived, and some of his agents managed to change sides; Harvard-educated George Downing—who survived to name a London street after himself—is a notable example.
Cavalier & Roundhead Spies is rich in British historical detail and brings to light the key role of intelligence in government and the historical importance of techniques that are basic practices to this day.
Deathly Deception: The Real Story of Operation Mincemeat by Denis Smyth. New York: Oxford University Press, 2010, 367 pp., endnotes, bibliography, photos, index.
The story of Operation Mincemeat was first told by Ewen Montagu in his 1954 book, The Man Who Never Was. For security reasons only the bare essentials were revealed. In brief, the body of a recently deceased man was used to serve as a fictitious British officer, “Major Martin,” who had died in a plane crash off the Spanish coast in April 1943. The dispatch bag fastened to his wrist was recovered by a fisherman and eventually delivered to German intelligence officers, who found in it supposedly top secret documents indicating that the military objective of the upcoming Allied Operation Husky was Greece and not Sicily, as the Germans suspected. The deception, monitored by Ultra, was successful. The Germans repositioned their forces, and the landing in Sicily was almost unopposed.
In 2010, Ben Macintyre published an updated version of the story in his book, Operation Mincemeat.2 Macintyre had discovered an uncensored copy of Montagu’s manuscript, and other materials had been released by the British National Archives. Thus, he was able to add names of more participants and details about the planning and execution on both the British and German sides.
What then, might one expect from another book on the subject? Surprisingly, University of Toronto history professor Denis Smyth does present new details. For example, while Montagu didn’t even mention that the Germans had performed an autopsy on “Martin,” Macintyre found that an autopsy had been performed, albeit it a superficial one that failed to reveal the true cause of death—rat poisoning. Smyth confirms this result, adding some technical details and additional comments by pathologists. (202–4) On one point, the construction of the container used to transport “Martin” on his submarine ride to Spain, the Smyth and Macintyre accounts differ sharply. Macintyre credits the design and construction to Charles Fraser-Smith—later said to be the model for Ian Fleming’s “Q” in the James Bond novels. He doesn’t give a source, but Fraser-Smith makes the same claim in his memoir.3 Smyth’s version credits the Ministry of Aircraft Production and cites a primary source (317, fn 95). Smyth also adds a lengthy and detailed analysis of the German reactions to the planted documents. In an appendix, Smyth discusses a postwar controversy that challenged the true identity of the body used in the deception, a topic Macintyre avoids. On the other hand, Smyth has much less than Macintyre on the subject of Montagu dining out with his secretary in London during the planning of Mincemeat—to the irritation of his wife—probably because he didn’t have access to Montagu’s personal letters as Macintyre did. Finally, Smyth’s bibliography is more extensive than Macintyre’s.
Deathly Deception is an important, well-written, and soundly documented history of Operation Mincemeat. For the most complete story, however, Macintyre should also be consulted.
Dilly: The Man Who Broke Enigma by Mavis Batey. London: Dialogue, 2009, 244 pp., endnotes, appendices, glossary photos, index.
Alfred Dillwyn (Dilly) Knox was a classical Latin scholar at Oxford who joined the Admiralty’s codebreaking section—Room 40—during WW I and remained a cryptographer for the rest of his life. He moved to the Government Code & Cypher School (GC&CS) after the war, where he began breaking Bolshevik codes and then attacking the multiple variations of new German cipher machine, Enigma. He broke the Italian and Spanish versions of Enigma before WW II, and he worked with the Poles and French to bring their version of Enigma to England just before the war. His most famous accomplishment during the war was the breaking of the Abwehr Enigma, the feat that allowed the Allies to monitor German army plans and operations.
Although a biography of Knox already exists,4 author Mavis Batey, who worked with Knox at Bletchley Park (BP), is the first to write about his career since secrecy restrictions were lifted. The portrait she creates is one of a brilliant, absent-minded intellectual—he forgot to invite two of his brothers to his wedding—who recruited a group of women—Dilly’s girls—and broke some of the most important Enigma codes of the war. The product they produced was initially called Illicit Services Knox but later identified as Intelligence Services Knox (ISK), a designation used within BP but called Ultra elsewhere. The ISK decryptions were a key element of the Double Cross Committee’s double-agent operations that played an important role in deception operations against the Germans. Kim Philby refers to Knox’s breaking of the Abwehr codes in his book My Silent War—a disclosure the British Secret Service chose to overlook—six years before the Ultra secret was officially made public by Frederick Winterbotham in his 1974 book, The Ultra Secret.
Batey uses lay terms to explain the methods Knox used to accomplish his feats. Some technical details are included in appendices. Knox succumbed to cancer in 1943, but before he did he worked through his illness on his death bed, solving new variations of Enigma. Dilly is an important book in the history of cryptography, and it shows how much this critical field is both a human art and a science.
England’s Greatest Spy: Eamon de Valera by John J. Turi. London: Stacey International, 2009, 472 pp., end of chapter notes, bibliography, photos, index.
Eamon de Valera, Ireland’s iconic founding statesman and first president, led the nation during more than 50 years in opposition to British rule. John Turi, a student of Irish history researching a book on Michael Collins—a contemporary of de Valera—discovered evidence that de Valera was a British spy during most of his career. His thesis is that de Valera used his reputation to mask his espionage service to the British crown while promoting English interests in Ireland and America. Turi argues that what were perceived as monstrous blunders by de Valera were the result of his work for the British. For many Irish historians this attempt to turn Irish history on its head remains unproved. Though the foreword claims that the book provides proof of guilt, Turi himself notes that “the final verdict is up to [the reader]. (xi) The documents that might prove his case remain locked in the British archives. Thus the title claims a bit more than the book proves—cause and effect remain obscure when espionage is considered.
Hunting Evil: The Nazi War Criminals Who Escaped and the Hunt to Bring Them to Justice, by Guy Walters. NY: Bantam Books, 2009, 518 pp., endnotes, bibliography, photos, index.
This is a familiar topic: “With the help of the Vatican, an escape network called Odessa helped thousands of Nazi war criminals escape prosecution after WW II.” But there are some who have challenged this view, and British journalist Guy Walters decided to determine who was right. His research revealed a mix of fact, embellished truth, and flagrant errors “served up by junk historians.” (1) In short, he found that the Odessa network is a myth and that allegations that Pope Pius XII was directly involved in engineering escapes are wrong, though the participation of various priests is well documented. His research also revealed that legendary Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal was a self-serving fabricator who also did some good. Hunting Evil presents new details of what really happened in instances not previously reported. And, for completeness, he includes familiar cases—for example, Klaus Barbi (Gestapo), and Wilhelm Höttl (SS), who were recruited by US intelligence—and Adolf Eichmann, who is discussed in a separate chapter.
The Odessa and Wiesenthal stories are intertwined. Walters shows that the term “Odessa” originated with a Hungarian who claimed it was run by “one Clara Stauffer.” (138) Wiesenthal asserted he heard the term from a former Abwehr officer. He later provided author Frederick Forsyth “with a vast amount of material” for his book The Odessa File. (346) Forsyth himself realized there was no evidence of an Odessa network and characterized the reality as “an old boy network, the old school tie.” (347) In his chapter, “The Odessa Myth,” Walters adds considerable detail about the other players involved and the variants of the story that have persisted in both fact and fiction.
With piercing irony, Walters discusses several so-called nonfiction authors—some of the junk historians—who wrote books claiming various Nazis, declared dead, actually survived to continue their work. American author Ladislas Farago, in a series of newspaper articles and his book Aftermath, claimed to have met Martin Bormann and learned the details of his escape.5 (159) Even more sensationally wrong, Walters writes, was the contribution of William Stevenson in his book The Bormann Brotherhood.6 Wiesenthal was part of the Bormann story too, as revealed in his book The Murderers Among Us.7
Hunting Evil draws on primary and secondary sources and interviews with survivors to add substance and perspective to a darkly sordid story that still commands attention. It also makes brutally clear the dilemma faced by intelligence agencies whose potentially valuable agents have less than unimpeachable résumés. This is a fine book containing valuable professional background.
Iran and the CIA: The Fall of Mosaddeq Revisited by Darioush Bayandor. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010, 247 pp., endnotes, bibliography, photos, index.
The 27-month-long government of Prime Minister Muhammad Mosaddeq succumbed to a coup d’état in Iran on 19 August 1953. Most historians and participants writing about the event have attributed the coup to a conspiracy engineered by CIA and British intelligence services.8 In recent years, however, alternative explanations have emerged. In 2004, Professor Mark Gasiorowski, while acknowledging the US and UK roles, concluded that a wide variety of Iranians made crucial contributions, to bringing about Mosaddeq’s overthrow.9 In 2008, Professor Fariborz Mokhtari suggested that the “political turmoil” that led to the coup resulted from “internal dynamics more potent than any foreign influence…the same political forces that brought Mossadeq to power brought him down.”10 A recent op-ed piece in the Washington Post noted that “the CIA’s role in Mossadeq’s demise was largely inconsequential.”11
In his book Iran and the CIA, Darioush Bayandor—a historian who served as a diplomat for the government of the shah of Iran—goes even further. He makes four main arguments. First, the coup planned by US and British intelligence for 15–16 August failed. Second, “no organic link [can] be established between the failed CIA-MI6 plot to oust Mosaddeq in mid-August and his actual downfall on 19 August 1953.” (155-6) Third, “a nucleus of revolt among the line officers in the Tehran garrison already existed before CIA/SIS developed their plan.” (171); Finally, the actual overthrow was due to a confluence of these “disgruntled officers and crowds of diverse profiles” ignited by the actions of Islamic clerics—whom he names—fearful of a secular republic. They were supported by government troops that refused to put down the demonstrations. (173) Bayandor does acknowledge that the failure of the CIA plan codenamed TPAJAX “set off a chain reaction which led to the…Mosaddeq downfall,” but its role, he argues, was indirect—success by default. (175)
These judgments are based mainly on recently released government files —Iranian, US, and UK—interviews with participants, and a CIA history leaked to the New York Times. Bayandor takes care to identify the key Iranian political, military, and religious players, while probing the shifting allegiances that link them and their contacts with the CIA/SIS officers. He also analyzes the literature on the subject, paying special attention to Kermit Roosevelt, the CIA officer most directly involved. Roosevelt’s book, he concludes, borders on “prevarication,” (155) for claiming the CIA was the prime mover behind the coup on 19 August.
Has Professor Bayandor got it right? Would the coup have occurred without any CIA/MI6 involvement? An affirmative answer to the first question, aside from embarrassing a number of historians and upsetting CIA officers involved who were not interviewed, would undercut the current Iranian government’s persistent allegations that the coup was an imperial adventure that led to years of repression until salvaged by the revolution. Iran and the CIA implies the answer to the second question is yes, “eventually,” thus leaving the door open for further studies as to which side really knew what the other was doing. Attributing cause and effect is a persistent intelligence problem.
Shadows on the Mountains: The Allies, the Resistance, and the Rivalries that Doomed WW II Yugoslavia by Marcia Christoff Kurapovna. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, 2010, 320 pp., endnotes, photos, index.
In the lobby of the CIA’s Original Headquarters Building is a memorial to OSS officers lost during WW II. It consists of a single star on the marble wall and a book that lists the names of the 116 fallen.12 In the middle of the list is the name of Major Linn M. Farish, who died in an airplane crash in l944. His story opens Marcia Kurapovna’s book. Anxious to get into the European war, Farrish, a Stanford University–educated engineer, volunteered with the British army in Canada. He transferred to OSS in 1943 and joined a British Special Operations Executive (SOE) unit in Yugoslavia. He was charged with finding landing fields and helping downed airmen escape the Balkans. His ability to work well with the locals at all levels earned him the nickname “Lawrence of Yugoslavia” among his Allied colleagues.
The struggle to rescue and deliver airmen to safety while supporting the Yugoslav resistance forms one thread of the story told in Shadows on the Mountains. The other thread is a description of the complex political situation within which the Allies had to function as pro-democracy Chetniks and Tito-led communist Partisans fought each other as much as they fought Germans. Both accepted Allied logistical support—in fact, the Partisans demanded it. But they didn’t trust the British or the Americans. They saw in Lawrence of Yugoslavia “not an idealistic hero but the perfidious, arrogant champion of an empire.” (85) The situation was complicated even more by two events. First, Churchill announced British backing for the Partisans—thought to be killing more Germans than the Chetniks—and the ending of all support to the Chetniks. Then the Allies rejected a German offer to surrender in Yugoslavia, an action that resulted in increased Soviet suspicion and recriminations. (254ff) Kurapovna explains how, in the midst of these tensions, Chetnik leader Draza Mihailovic continued battling the Nazis and the Partisans and still helped more than 500 downed fliers to safety as part of Operation Halyard.
Shadows on the Mountains ends with the story of Tito’s postwar takeover in Yugoslavia and the trial and execution of Mihailovic. Cries for intervention by those he had rescued were ignored by the US government to placate Tito. In the epilogue Kurapovna recounts how attempts to vindicate Mihailovic’s role were finally realized. In the end, she writes, “the American airmen and Chetniks had triumphed.” (271)
T-Force: The Race for Nazi War Secrets, 1945 by Sean Longden. London: Constable, 2009, 379 pp., endnote, bibliography, photos, index.
In early 1945, the various Allied commands each formed teams to follow the invasion troops in Europe and capture enemy men and materials associated with the advanced weapons the Germans were known to be developing. While there was a level of cooperation in some areas, the British formed a secret independent team that was given specific targets to acquire before the Russian and Americans could do so. It was called T-Force.
Little has been written about the exploits of T-Force because what records remained were only recently declassified. Military historian Sean Longden first learned about the unit while interviewing some of its former members in connection with another book. When he realized the T-Force story needed to be told, the veterans helped him interpret the sometimes incomplete records.
There was precedent for T-Force. Early in the war Ian Fleming had formed a special-forces-type unit called 30 Assault Unit (30AU) whose job it was to obtain records and documents during raids on enemy headquarters, mainly after land battles. Longden learned that Fleming played a role in the formation of T-Force too and later was on the committee that selected its targets.
Since T-Force was formed near the end of the war, it drew personnel from the “waifs and strays” at replacement depots. Some had landed at Normandy, others were members of the landing craft crews that put them ashore, and others had been ambulance drivers and merchant mariners. There were also civilian volunteers, scientist, and secretaries. T-Force gradually grew in size to 5,000, commanded by a brigadier who made them a proud, elite group.
The book tells how the force captured German nuclear scientists and their records, secured rocket research reports, found V-2 rockets, infrared cameras, U-boat designs, and chemical weapons materials. The unit even exceeded its brief in May 1945 by occupying the naval research facility at Kiel ahead of General Montgomery’s advancing army, accepting the surrender of 40,000 Germans, and freeing 420,000 slave laborers. At Kiel it found submarines under construction and two German heavy cruisers, the Admiral Hipper and the Prinz Eugen. Another T-Force element found “three lorry loads of Krupps documentation hidden is a colliery” (233) and liberated them before the Russians got there.
There were several instances in which T-Force elements helped German civilians escape oncoming Russians, though that was not part of their official mission. By 1947, T-Force recoveries had reached a point of diminishing returns, and the operation was terminated in June of that year. Longden concludes with a chapter on the legacy of T-Force, recognizing its contribution to the advancement of warfare by acquiring the secrets of German weapons science. T-Force, the book, gives long overdue recognition to a secret technical intelligence unit and its contribution to the history of WW II.
The World that Never Was: A True Story of Dreamers, Schemers, Anarchists, and Secret Agents by Alex Butterworth. New York: Pantheon Books, 2010, 482 pp., notes on sources, bibliography, photos, index.
The primary title refers to 19th and early 20th century anarchists and revolutionaries who employed assassinations, bombings, and coup attempts in efforts to achieve a utopian world without government. Alex Butterworth’s central thesis is that there is much to be learned from this early “war on terrorism” that applies to the parallel world that exists today. To support his argument, he provides examples of assassins, bombers, agent provocateurs, and radical groups that existed from at least the Paris Commune (1871) until the mid-1930s. He also shows that some government agencies played a role, for example, the Russian Czarist Okhrana—he never mentions the American Bureau of Investigation and the Palmer raids—that worked tirelessly to penetrate and eliminate these groups and individuals.
The book is weak on several levels. First, there is nothing new in the stories he tells. The repressive actions of the secret agents of Okhrana, for example, are well documented elsewhere. And that raises a second weakness. There are no source citations, only general references for each chapter. The third and most troubling weakness is his failure actually to draw any lessons from the mass of detail he provides. He merely notes that the bombings, assassinations, and conspiracies described failed to achieve their overall goals. Any lessons as to why and what might be done today are left to the reader’s imagination. In short, unless one wants a rambling, often disjointed, summary of the nascent radical anarchist and communist movements, readers should pass this one by.
The Entity: Five Centuries of Secret Vatican Espionage by Eric Frattini. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2008, 431 pp., endnotes, bibliography, photos, index.
Vatican espionage has already been the subject of three books in the 21st century. Historian David Alvarez’s Spies in the Vatican: Espionage & Intrique from Napoleon to the Holocaust (2002) revealed papal secret service operations from the early 19th century to the end of WW II; Journalist John Koehler’s work, Spies in the Vatican: The Soviet Union’s Cold War Against the Catholic Church, concentrated on KGB penetration of the priesthood from the early 20th century until the present.13 The latest contribution, by Italian author Eric Frattini, takes a wider scope than its predecessors by examining Vatican espionage and security practices around the world from the 16th century to the present. He identifies two papal intelligence institutions: the counterespionage and security service called Sodalitium Pianum (formally named in 1913) and the foreign intelligence service called the Holy Alliance (origin unknown, renamed the Entity in 1930). The Holy See (the central institution of the church) denies that either exists. The Vatican archives and other reliable sources cited in all three books suggest otherwise.
The Entity describes the origins of the Holy Alliance and how it used the Jesuits to implement plots against foreign sovereigns, Elizabeth I being a famous example. Frattini explains how the Vatican’s agents assassinated William of Orange (1584) and spied on a Chinese order of missionaries thought to be deviating from papal policy. The Holy Alliance was dissolved when Napoleon occupied the papal palace and exiled the pope, but members of the institution managed to carry files to safety. They were returned to Rome, along with the pope, after the Battle of Waterloo. The Sodalitium Pianum exposed a German priest-agent who had penetrated the Vatican during WW I, breaking his codes in the process. It was one of several such operations during the period. Frattini also covers Vatican espionage against the Germans during WW II and the various priests—but not the pope—who helped Nazis flee Europe after the war. Operations during the Cold War include a banking scandal and support of CIA agent Ryszard Kuklinski’s escape from Poland. Frattini addresses the investigation of the attempted assassination of Pope John Paul II and the curious “pontifical order” to suspend all investigations into the case; he reports on the sealing of the files in the Vatican archives but does not analyze the event. (332ff) The Vatican’s position on the assassin’s sponsor has never been made public, and Frattini doesn’t speculate.
The final chapter deals with the death of Pope John Paul II and the role of the Vatican’s intelligence services in the election of the new pope, which included a sweep of the Sistine Chapel for concealed listening devices. A year after the new pope was elected, he used his security services to deal with a revelation that more than 30 priests had been long time agents of the Cold War Polish intelligence service, the SB and its parent, the KGB.
The Entity, based on a variety of sources, many unnamed, presents a fascinating history. What it doesn’t do is explain how the intelligence services recruit and train its members, and if the Entity has its way no book ever will.
The Family File by Mark Aarons. (Melbourne, Australia: Black, Inc., 2010), 346 pp., glossary, photos, index.
The Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO), which strives to preserve domestic security, functions much like Britain’s MI5. For most of the 20th century ASIO and its predecessor organizations had two principal targets. The first was the Communist Party of Australia (CPA), whose members were considered subversives “committed to the overthrow of the constitutional order.” (xii) The Family File reveals that for five decades four generations of the Aarons family—including the author—was the prototypical example the ASIO’s communist target. Throughout this time, the family was subjected to intense security surveillance because it “proudly espoused the cause of revolutionary change to replace Australia’s political, social, and economic system with one based on the communist ideal.” (x–xi) The second target was the Soviet intelligence service and the Australians it recruited to work as agents in the Australian government and overseas. Not surprisingly, these two sets of targets were operationally entangled.
The Family File is based on recently declassified documents, more than 14,000 pages just on Laurie Aarons—the author’s father—who eventually became the general secretary of the CPA. The files reveal “a powerful and basically accurate” account of Aarons family activities and the Australian left under intense surveillance. (xii) The files also show that the family, while active in the party, shunned KGB attempts to involve them directly in espionage. As Laurie Aarons later put it when he refused attempts by a KGB officer—later expelled from the country—to help with recruitments, “spying is a very damaging thing to have alleged against you.” (170)
A sub-theme of the book is the many espionage cases that surfaced in the report of the Royal Commission on Espionage issued in 1955 after the uproar following the defection of KGB officers Vladimir Petrov and his wife. The most important revelation, detailed in this book for the first time, involved Wally Clayton, the Soviet spymaster in Australia who had served as an agent since 1942. Clayton was exposed by Venona but that evidence couldn’t be used in court or before the commission. Clayton was questioned by the commission but he was evasive. Nevertheless, several of his agents were identified, for example Ian Milner, an External Affairs officer who had defected to Czechoslovakia in 1950.
But all this is not to say Laurie Aarons was unsympathetic to CPA members who did serve as KGB agents; he described Wally Clayton as “a terrific comrade.” (171). Although the ASIO suspected that Laurie had assumed Clayton’s role as spymaster, in fact Aarons shut down Clayton’s illegal apparatus.
The Family File tells how genuine dedication to the communist cause evolved into disillusionment with its communist dream. The final irony, Laurie admitted, was that he only achieved financial security on a capitalist government pension. There are strong parallels with the communist attempts to subvert the Australian government and the approach used against other Western nations, with about the same degree of success. There really was a worldwide communist threat.
Military Intelligence in Cyprus: From the Great War to the Middle East Crises by Panagiotis Dimitrakis. New York: I.B. Tauris Publishers, 2010, 223 pp., endnotes, bibliography, photos, index.
For more than 3,000 years, the strategic location of the isle of Cyprus made it the target of conquests by Greeks, Persians, Romans, and Turks. In 1878, the British, with a view toward protecting its interests in the Suez Canal, signed an agreement with Turkey that allowed Britain to occupy and administer the island. The importance of Cyprus increased in 1888, when the canal was placed under British protection, and island became part of the British Empire in 1914. After a brief summary of Cyprus’s role during WW I, when it served as a staging area and the location for intelligence and communications units, Panagiotis Dimitrakis, a British-educated Greek historian, reviews the island’s military intelligence role and its many controversial players after it became a crown colony in 1925.
Dimitrakis explains that early in WW II, under constant German threat, Cyprus was spared German occupation in part because of a successful British deception operation and in part because of SOE covert operations. These depended on Cypriot informers who also kept tabs on the Greek, Cypriot, and communist factions then seeking power.
After WW II, the British negotiated a military base and intelligence agreement with the Greeks, who were pressing for independence but were hobbled by their civil war. In 1955, the British were surprised by a Greek revolt that their spies failed to detect. (76ff) A long insurgency followed, ending in 1960 with the creation of the Sovereign State of the Republic of Cyprus. (104) Dimitrakis provides a vivid account of how the British managed to retain their bases and communications units.
Dimitrakis also presents a detailed description of the events before and after the 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus. By then the island was a base for U-2s as well as British agents and COMINT sites that had to be protected. Although a cease-fire was quickly reached, the Cypriot government was soon the victim of a sequence of terrorist attacks following the 1979 Iranian revolution. This resulted in the strengthening of British and US bases. By the mid-1990s, Dimitrakis concludes, “Cyprus was deemed the most militarized island in the world.” But by 2007, the situation had calmed and Cyprus became a member of the Euro-zone. Throughout these years of turmoil, however, its intelligence role has functioned well.
Military Intelligence in Cyprus is a scholarly reference work based mainly on primary sources and is not light reading. But it is a sound history of a topic not covered elsewhere and thus a most welcome and valuable contribution to the literature.
Mossad Exodus: The Daring Undercover Rescue of the Lost Jewish Tribe by Gad Shimron. (Jerusalem: Gefen Publishing House, 2007), 231 pp., photos, no index.
In his book, The Main Enemy, former CIA officer Milton Bearden mentions that in 1985 he helped shepherd Ethiopian Falasha Jews on their “long trek to Israel and then protected a team of Mossad agents on the run in Khartoum.”14 Author Gad Shimron was one of those agents. Mossad Exodus is his story.
The Falasha, or Beta Israel Jews, had lived for generations in a less-than-friendly Ethiopia. Only a few had been allowed to emigrate to Israel, though many had made their way to Sudan. Early in the 1980s, Prime Minister Menachem Begin approved what became known as Operation Moses, a plan to covertly exfiltrate those who had escaped to Sudan. Shimron arrived in Sudan under European cover in 1981 to make arrangements. He describes the recruitment of support agents, the use of cover businesses, the acquisition of vehicles—a major undertaking—and the establishment of the cover company, Arous Holiday Village, nominally a resort for Europeans. Despite horrendous living and logistical conditions early in the operation, secret exfiltrations of small groups by sea soon began. When these were discovered, exfiltration by air was implemented with the cooperation of the Sudanese government. When the government was overthrown, secret flights, arranged by the CIA, continued. Shimron’s participation in the operation ended in 1985, but in the concluding chapters he describes continuing efforts, with the cooperation of the Ethiopian government, well into the 21st century. More than 2 million Falashas have made it to Israel.
Mossad Exodus is an exciting story that describes field expedient tradecraft conducted by a few officers working under difficult nonofficial cover conditions. It is told with a sense of humor and is a tribute to all involved.
The Caliphate by Andre Le Gallo. New York: Dorchester Publishing, 2010, 362 pp.
The author is a retired CIA case officer who served in the Middle East. He draws on considerable experience to craft this, his first novel. The protagonist, Steve Church, is the son of a retired CIA officer, whose career choice Steve did not plan to follow. But when he becomes involuntarily involved in a plot of a group of Islamic fundamentalists determined to achieve a caliphate by violent elimination of infidels, Steve rises to the occasion. The leader of the terrorist group happens to be Steve’s eccentric college classmate, and Steve turns to the work of defeating him. Steve cooperates with the CIA and Mossad—a surprise or two here—to penetrate the terrorists and prevent an act of nuclear terrorism. There is a woman in the mix, and her role is cleverly integrated into the operation. The tradecraft is realistic, as is the brutal treatment of terrorist traitors, and the plausible plot. A good if sometimes frightening read.
1 Adrian Levy and Catherine Scott-Clark, Deception: Pakistan, the United States, and the Secret Trade in Nuclear Weapons (New York: Walker & Company, 2007); Douglas Frantz and Catherine Collins, The Nuclear Jihadist: The True Story of the Man Who Sold the World’s Most Dangerous Secrets… and How We Could Have Stopped Him (New York: Twelve, 2007); David Armstrong and Joseph Trento, America and the Islamic Bomb: The Deadly Compromise (Hanover, NH: Steerforth Press, 2007).
8 See for example, Kermit Roosevelt, Countercoup: The Struggle for the Control of Iran (New York: McGraw Hill, 1979) and Stephen Kinzer, All The Shah’s Men: An American Coup and the Roots of Middle East Terror (Hoboken, NJ:John Wiley & Sons, 2003)
13 Spies in the Vatican: Espionage & Intrigue from Napoleon to the Holocaust (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2002); Spies in the Vatican: The Soviet Union’s Cold War Against the Catholic Church (New York: Pegasus Books, 2009).
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.