The Intelligence Officer's Bookshelf
Intelligence in Recent Public Literature
Source validation is a critical step in all phases of intelligence. Michael Bennett and Edward Waltz have written a book that asks how one can be sure a source is valid and not deceptive and what can be done when deception is suspected and/or detected? Their answers appear in nine chapters brimming with historical precedent, theories, principles, models, case studies, and documentation. As former CIA officer James Bruce writes in the introduction, "Readers seeking a quick read or a simplistic solution here are bound to be disappointed, but those seeking deeper understanding or high-order complexity that bears on quality intelligence...will be handsomely repaid for the intellectual investment this book demands." Put another way, Counterdeception has the imperative substance and narrative elegance of an army training manual.
Although there are myriad endnotes and citations in the text, the 14-item bibliography is in the final section of the first chapter. The implicit suggestion is that familiarity with these sources will help when reading Counterdeception, and they are right. If one must choose from their list, Thadeus Holt's The Deceivers and R.V. Jones's Reflections on Intelligence are good for openers.
After a discussion of the need for counterdeception, the authors devote three chapters to deception itself on the theory that one must understand what it is that must be countered. The next five chapters discuss the principles of counterdeception, nontechnical and technical approaches, the architecture and technologies of counterdeception, the team structure and methods to get the job done, and the challenges of counterdeception in the modern and future global information age.
While most of the text is concerned with the use of the models and theories, there are practical examples such as the section on metadata, which assesses the factors that go into validating human source reporting.1 Specific ideas and methods are presented for getting the job done.
Counterdeception is a comprehensive treatment of a long-neglected but currently important subject. Beginners will get the most value from it if it is a text for a class taught by an experienced instructor. As a general admonition, don't just read this book, study it.
Loch K. Johnson (ed.), Strategic Intelligence: Understanding the Hidden Side of Government--Volume 1 (Westport, CT: Praeger Security International, 2007), 322 pp., end-of-chapter notes, appendix, glossary, index.
Loch K. Johnson (ed.), Strategic Intelligence: The Intelligence Cycle--The Flow of Secret Information From Overseas to the Highest Councils of Government--Volume 2 (Westport, CT: Praeger Security International, 2007), 366 pp., end-of-chapter notes, appendix, glossary, index.
Loch K. Johnson (ed.), Strategic Intelligence: Covert Action--Beyond The Veils of Secret Foreign Policy--Volume 3 (Westport, CT: Praeger Security International, 2007), 332 pp., end-of-chapter notes, appendix, glossary, index.
Loch K. Johnson (ed.), Strategic Intelligence: Counterintelligence and Counterterrorism--Defending The Nation Against Hostile Forces--Volume 4 (Westport, CT: Praeger Security International, 2007), 376 pp., end-of-chapter notes, appendix, glossary, index.
Loch K. Johnson (ed.), Strategic Intelligence: Intelligence and Accountability--Safeguards Against The Abuse of Power--Volume 5 (Westport, CT: Praeger Security International, 2007), 310 pp., end-of-chapter notes, appendix, glossary, index.
The literature of intelligence contains some 10,000 books and many thousands of articles. The views on the nature of the profession expressed in them are often controversial, if not contradictory. Where might one start to get a handle on this complex profession? University of Georgia professor Loch Johnson provides an answer in this five volume set. The 49 original articles by academics and former intelligence officers from four countries--the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Israel--discuss the profession from its modern origins to the present. The first two volumes consider the literature, the study of intelligence in academia, the problems of analysis, the essence of the so-called intelligence cycle, recent failures and their implications, the roles of oversight, imagery and signals intelligence, the value of espionage, the contributions of intelligence to globalization, the intelligence-policy nexus, and the value of post mortems. Volume 3 is devoted to the most controversial component of intelligence, covert action. Volume 4 is concerned with counterintelligence and counterterrorism. Volume 5 gives detailed attention to the problems of accountability and safeguards against abuse of power.
These volumes look at "the what" of intelligence, not "the how." Although cases are described to illustrate points, the tradecraft and legal details are not discussed, though aspects can be explored using the references provided. Each volume has extensive appendices that add documentary support.
While the subject of a general definition of intelligence is discussed, its context-dependent meanings, with one exception, remain unchallenged. The exception has to do with counterintelligence, which in several articles is said to include responsibility for cryptographic, physical, and personnel security. In practice, these functions are undertaken by separate organizational elements.
Several articles are notable for discussing unconventional topics. Katharina von Kop's Women in Religious Terrorist Organizations: A Comparative Analysis, and Rhodri Jeffreys-Jones's The Idea of a European FBI, are two interesting examples. Similarly, the Israeli experience with covert action, Canadian views on legislative oversight, and the British analysis of the 9/11 failures, add valuable perspective.
The Strategic Intelligence volumes draw on the past to offer a broad view of the role intelligence is supposed to play in today's world and the realities of its challenging existence. The conscientious reader will learn of the myriad problems while developing an understanding of the difficult solutions required.
Agostino von Hassell and Sigrid MacRae, Alliance of Enemies: The Untold Story of the Secret American and German Collaboration to End World War II (New York: St. Martin's Press, 2006), 391 pp., endnotes, bibliography, appendices, index.
The 1996 book American Intelligence and the German Resistance to Hitler reproduces 102 documents, nearly all from OSS, on various aspects of German wartime plots, including those to assassinate Hitler, and the hoped for allied assistance.2 While the principal plotters are identified, there is no narrative on their backgrounds, positions, motivations, conflicts or, in many cases, their executions. Agostino von Hassell adds that missing dimension and additional historical details in Alliance of Enemies.
After the war, writes von Hassell, "Americans were wholly, blissfully ignorant of what resistance to a totalitarian regime meant....There were no good Germans, only Nazis...and traitors of questionable motivation." (296) Allen Dulles did his best to correct this image in his book, Germany Underground (1946), but he was just "tilting at windmills" says von Hassell. Many postwar Germans were contemptuous of the surviving plotters and their families, as von Hassell knows from personal experience: his grandfather was hanged for his efforts.
Alliance of Enemies traces the German resistance movements from prewar days through the war when Admiral Canaris and his Abwehr colleagues, plus the Kreisau Circle, to name two groups, made numerous muddled attempts to assassinate Hitler. Considerable space is devoted to the efforts of Allen Dulles to encourage the "good Germans," as he called them, in their efforts to end the war and form a democratic government. Dulles wanted to help them, but when this option was tabled in Washington, Donovan "reminded Dulles that his assignment was nonpolitical." (205) Dulles quietly ignored his orders and encouraged the Breakers group, as it was called, to carry out the notorious plot of 20 July 1944, which Hitler miraculously survived. Von Hassell describes several other OSS operations intended to boost German resisters. One in Turkey, the Dogwood Chain, got out of hand when a network grew to more than 60 agents and was penetrated by the Germans.
The final chapters of the book discuss what von Hassell calls the allied hypocrisy of dealing with the Nazis and collaborators after the war to advance Cold War objectives, while ignoring those who resisted Hitler. He asks rhetorically whether an early peace could have been negotiated had not the policy of unconditional surrender been so fiercely followed. Here too, the OSS is recognized for a study by the Research and Analysis Branch, which reported that German opposition to Hitler was "a tribute to human endurance and courage, and a revelation of a great hope." These views too were ignored.
Alliance of Enemies ends with a Churchill quote that WWII was an "unnecessary war." Von Hassel suggests that it might have been avoided had the prewar opposition to Hitler been supported. His view remains one of the unanswerable questions of history.
American Spy gets off to a poor start, when, on page 1, the author identifies Bob Woodward's Watergate source Deep Throat as Howard (not Mark) Felt. Then, on page 16, Hunt notes that he served in OSS with "Jack Singlaub, who would later become an army general and supreme commander of all forces in Korea," a position General Singlaub never held. Disturbing doubt about the historical accuracy of the book is heightened on page 47 when General Eisenhower is designated president in 1950. The howlers are not confined to US history, as for example, Hunt's comment that "almost all of Spain's gold reserves" were sent to the Soviet Union at the end of the Spanish Civil War (56); they were transferred early in the war by Alexander Orlov.
This pattern of careless errors forces the reader to question the accuracy of Hunt's memoir, which covers his CIA career as chief of station in Mexico, his contributions to covert action operations, including the doomed Bay of Pigs invasion, the Watergate disaster that put him in jail, and his reflections on the assassination of President Kennedy, in which he casually suggests President Johnson is the man to blame. And, when he opines on the "problem with Langley," implying that the "CIA should recruit more agents (he means officers)," in his image, one is left wondering if a better model might be found.
Espionage histories are out of date when published, so it is not surprising that new ones appear periodically. This latest contribution comes from former rock group bassist turned espionage historian, Terry Crowdy. He begins with the ancient Egyptians and biblical stories, and moves through the major periods of history giving examples which show that the principal powers routinely engaged in military and political espionage. There is little new in the book beyond his views on the 9/11 intelligence failures. Crowdy uses mostly secondary sources and he pays the usual price: doubtful assertions and unforced errors. Beyond his persistent use of agent when he means officer, one is left wondering how he knows "the ancient Indians perfected the use of female spies and agents." Who beyond Crowdy says Wilhelm Stieber was "the Godfather of Secret Service"--a gross exaggeration--and why would Crowdy assert anew that J. Edgar Hoover never passed on information in the famous microdot questionnaire provided by the British double agent TRICYCLE--a false claim that has been conclusively disproven?3
And then there are errors closer to home: Philby joined SOE and then SIS, not the other way around, and he was not close to Allen Dulles during the war. (304) MI5 officer Michael Bettaney never worked for the KGB, though he tried hard enough. (330) Turning to the VENONA project, Meredith Gardner did not use "the charred remains of a Russian codebook" to do his pioneering work. Similarly, Julius Rosenberg did not join the "Army Signal Corps"; he was a civilian. (313) Regarding Soviet espionage, Crowdy's claim that Penkovskiy was "sold out" by "two Washington-based KGB double agents, Jack Dunlap and William Whalen" is unlikely, undocumented, and, in any case, neither was a double agent. (319) Careless errors in the recent material suggest caution throughout. Perhaps the paperback edition will be an improvement.
At age 92, Polish Major General Rygor Slowikowski published his memoirs to set the record straight.4 The official British intelligence history in WWII had not mentioned him or Agency Africa, the intelligence unit he established in 1941 for the British in North Africa. OSS histories were no better. They not only ignored Agency Africa, they took credit for much of its work. Finally, what intelligence successes the British and OSS didn't claim, the American vice counsels in North Africa did. Slowikowsi's historical challenge was largely ignored at the time. FDR's 12 Apostles corrects the injustice and provides a detailed, stimulating account of the complex military, diplomatic, and intelligence relations among the allied government, the cantankerous Charles de Gaulle, the Vichy French, and numerous underground groups of various political persuasions.
Author Hal Vaughan, himself a former foreign service officer, describes how President Franklin Roosevelt recognized the need for intelligence about French North Africa long before the United States was in the war and before there was a US foreign intelligence service. In September 1940, the president personally selected and instructed diplomat Robert Murphy to go to Africa and assess the intentions of Vichy policy and not to inform the State Department of his mission. His report of the situation led to recruitment, with the cooperation of military intelligence, and serial dispatch to ports in North Africa, of 12 vice-consuls, beginning in spring 1941. Their cover mission was trade. Their actual mission was to collect intelligence on the ports, shipping, and the local political situation. Soon tagged the 12 Apostles, these amateur agents performed well. FDR's 12 Apostles tells how they did it. The emphasis is on their performance after the US entry into the war required cooperation with the British, OSS, Agency Africa, and various French resistance elements in preparation for Operation TORCH, the invasion of North Africa.
The polygraph is a controversial subject both in the Intelligence Community and in many outside organizations. The National Academy of Sciences, has consistently declared it unreliable, while other government organizations rely on it. GATEKEEPER examines the controversy from the point of view of career CIA polygraph examiner, John Sullivan.
Sullivan's story begins in the late 1940s with the introduction of the polygraph as a standard practice in screening potential employees and reassessing staff and contractors for security purposes. He also discusses how the technique is applied to potential and recruited agents. Sullivan goes to great lengths to demonstrate that polygraphy is just one tool in the process and that it seeks to identify deceptive behavior, not detect lies. The examiner does not make the final decision on whether the subject has passed, though his recommendation is important.
GATEKEEPER comments on examiner training, the subjective aspect of the process, the propriety of questions, how examiners reach their conclusions, the dangers of false-positive results, and the distressing fact that subjects beat the machine. He offers many examples that describe various scenarios encountered. These include what happens when deception is indicated, what happens when the results are inconclusive, and how follow-up interrogations are conducted when required. One case he offers to illustrate the challenges is that of Cuban CIA agents whose examinations were showing signs of deception; the examiner's recommendations were disregarded, with unfortunate consequences.
Sullivan uses his own career to illustrate how one becomes a polygrapher, the career options available, the areas of conflict that can occur, and what his experience has shown are the necessary personality characteristics of a reliable examiner. In response to those who argue that the polygraph has never caught a spy, Sullivan points to the Sharon Scranage and Harold Nicholson cases. In both instances, the polygraph alerted counterintelligence officers to improper contacts with foreigners; each went to jail. He is equally candid about the problems associated with the testing of Aldrich Ames.
GATEKEEPER also looks at the organizational growth of the Polygraph Division and the impact of the digital world on operations. The sometimes contentious relationship with various elements of the Office of Security and the Intelligence Community over the years is also discussed. Overall, he gives an insightful view of the problems the polygraph experience creates and the extensive efforts undertaken to minimize their impact on the subjects.
No other book gives such a comprehensive look at the polygraph and its utility as a security tool in the community. It should reduce the apprehension of both prospective and staff employees, while raising the anxiety level of would-be penetrators.
In his memoir, My Father the Spy, John Richardson tells of the personal and family problems that can result when a child learns his father has been an intelligence officer, not a government bureaucrat with the Department of Agriculture.5 In My Father's Secret War, Linda Franks, the first woman to win a Pulitzer Prize for national reporting, relates how long after she was married, with children of her own, she came to suspect and then confirm that her father had been an OSS officer. She tells of his experiences in Europe, where he conducted surreptitious entries, interrogated concentration camp prisoners, and participated in Operation Paperclip, the program to recruit German scientists to work for America. He was then sent to the Far East.
But the real story is how she learned the details--in jumps and starts through interviews, old letters, and archival searches. As she put the pieces together she convinced her father to elaborate on what she had learned. She was hampered by his chronic passion for secrecy and his oncoming dementia. The story is told roughly in the fashion that she learned it herself, with new facts popping up in between a busy family schedule--her husband is the New York City district attorney and she is a fulltime journalist. Franks makes no attempt to generalize her experiences, they are admittedly unique. But the issues of secrecy and pressures on an intelligence officer she raises are worth contemplating.
In 1908 the Justice Department formed a Bureau of Investigation (BOI) to deal with bankruptcy, fraud, and anti-trust violations. During WW I the BOI worked with the military intelligence services to counter domestic security and German espionage. After the war, it broadened its mandate to investigate a nationwide series of bombings, one of which blew up the front of the attorney general's house near Dupont Circle, Washington, DC, killing only the bomber. Assuming the bombs were the work of alien anarchists and communists, people panicked. The task of keeping records on these subversive elements was assigned in August 1920 to the attorney general's special assistant, J. Edgar Hoover. In 1924, Hoover was appointed director of the BOI, with instructions to limit bureau activities to violations of federal law. In 1933, the bureau was tasked with investigating the new threat of Nazi propaganda in America, and in 1934 the mandate was extended to communist activities. The BOI became the FBI in 1935. From these beginnings, former special agent Ray Batvinis tells how the bureau became the nation's domestic counterintelligence agency.
The Origins of FBI Counterintelligence describes the bumpy CI road Hoover encountered until the end of WW II. The initial attempts to counter Nazi espionage were only partially succesful--most of the spies escaped. As war drew near, Hoover engaged in a series of turf battles with the War and Navy Departments that eventually solidified the bureau's position as the lead counterintelligence agency. By 1941, German and Japanese espionage in America had been neutralized, and gradually the bureau's attention turned to the threat of communism, whose agents by that time had penetrated all important elements of the government and the defense.
Batvinis forthrightly tells the story of how the FBI developed techniques for dealing with foreign espionage. He describes the successful methods devised to "follow the money," and the wire tapping program based solely on the president's authority, contrary to recent law prohibiting the practice, and without informing Congress. One chapter is devoted to "opportunities missed," describing cases that, had they been handled properly, could have put an end to communist espionage in America and England before the war.
As the war in Europe approached, the bureau undertook a series of overseas assignments that led to the formation of the Special Intelligence Service, a secret FBI element that carried out political counterespionage in the Western hemisphere during WW II; the first foreign intelligence service in America's history.
The growth of the FBI counterintelligence program was aided by the British before and during the war, and Batvinis devotes a chapter to that sometimes stormy effort. Curiously, the well-known conflicts with the OSS are barely mentioned; OSS doesn't even appear in the index.
Only a few errors stand out in Origins: Patton was not yet the 3rd Army commander before the invasion; Alger Hiss began his prison sentence in March 1951, not January 1949; and Gaik Ovakimian did not recruit the Rosenbergs in 1938 or at any other time. That feat was accomplished by Konstantin Chugunov in September 1942, long after Ovakimian returned to the Soviet Union.6
The book's final chapter covers the DUCASE, the story of how the FBI used a double agent to identify, capture, and convict over 30 Nazi agents. It was a singular success and later became the basis of the movie, The House on 92nd Street.
In 1950, when actor and wartime naval intelligence officer Douglas Fairbanks Jr. was in need of a butler, "suitably trained staff" was hard to find. The only applicant was referred on the condition that no references would be requested. The interview went well, and Denis Rake was "engaged on the spot." While sorting the mail one day, Fairbanks found a letter addressed to Major Denis Rake, MC (Military Cross). When queried, the butler reluctantly revealed his heroic SOE career. Like all SOE officers, Rake had been sworn to secrecy and for years held his tongue.7 Thus, except for a few official accounts on SOE operations in specific countries,8 plus some heavily edited memoirs, operational secrecy prevailed until the late 1990s when what remained of the wartime files were released to the public. Neville Wylie and his contributors have exploited these records for this volume.
The first two articles discuss how some SOE records survived end-of-the-war orders to destroy files. Another looks at the impact of communist infiltration of SOE Cairo in the person of James Klugman, the outspoken communist from Cambridge University. SOE involvement in European political warfare and foreign currency transactions are covered in separate contributions. Four of the 10 articles are about SOE operations in the Balkans, India, Spain, and the Middle East that have received little previous attention. The Middle East study describes the intense turf wars that limited operational successes and post-occupational planning issues with contemporary relevance. The article on the Massingham mission--the contentious first effort of OSS and SOE to operate jointly--shows how Donovan battled both the British and the US military to keep OSS alive.
Rose Mary Sheldon, Spies of the Bible: Espionage in Israel from the Exodus to the Bar Kokhba Revolt (St. Paul, MN: MBI Publishing, 2007), 304 pp., endnotes, bibliography, glossary, maps, index.
In his book, The Craft of Intelligence, Allen Dulles used Biblical illustrations of "intelligence-gathering" to establish the "historical setting."9 His point was that intelligence has ancient origins; he didn't question the truth of the biblical accounts. That challenging task is the subject of Spies of the Bible.
The book considers "intelligence activities" as they were practiced in ancient Israel, from the entry of the Hebrews into Canaan to the expulsion of the Jews from Roman Palestine about 1,000 years ago. Recognizing that the books of the Bible were written long after the events they describe, Professor Sheldon takes a different approach. While some historians "base their narratives on a literal reading of the Book of Joshua," she integrates "the accounts of the Bible, the archeological evidence, and recent literary studies in an attempt to see what they tell us about the intelligence history of Palestine." (15) She asks whether the events described took place where and when the Bible claims and then compares various accounts with those of Jewish, Greek, and Roman historians. Since most ancient intelligence involved military battles, Professor Sheldon provides the historical detail to understand the circumstances of the times and the intelligence requirements they generated.
The book has two parts. The first deals with spies of the Old Testament; the second with the battles the Jews fought during Roman occupation. A "postscript" at the end of each part summarizes her findings, and for those with little background in the subject, these might well be read first for context.
Spies of the Bible concludes that many of the espionage tales of the Bible didn't take place, at least as described. Professor Sheldon provides ample evidence to support her conclusions and in the process questions the historians who have "been so reluctant to benefit from the last fifty years of research in archaeology or biblical and literary criticism," allowing legends to exercise "great power over the minds of people." (124) As to the existence of spies in ancient times, Professor Sheldon argues that the documented military battles make their existence a practical necessity, but the best the historian can do with regard to specifics is make "an educated guess." Spies of the Bible is a bold attempt to do just that.
Thomas Graham Jr. and Keith A. Hansen, SPY Satellites: and Other Intelligence Technologies That Changed History (Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press, 2007), 162 pp., endnotes, bibliography, no index.
Monitoring the spread of nuclear weapons has been a strategic problem since the end of WWII. Soviet secrecy and refusal to allow overflights or onsite inspections spurred the development of the U-2 and eventually photo-satellites to do the job. In 1963, the Limited Test Ban Treaty was signed. Subsequently, a series of negotiations produced additional agreements and, by 1993, reductions by both sides. SPY Satellites tells the story of these events. Keith Hansen was a CIA arms control analyst who worked with the data needed to monitor nuclear weapons programs. Thomas Graham was the general counsel for the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, where he was concerned with verification--determining whether the monitoring data indicated compliance and what to do when violations were indicated.
The authors' narrative is not technical. They track the progress of the various agreements--in which verification was always a contentious issue--and the collection of monitoring data by what was euphemistically termed National Technical Means (NTM), now openly acknowledged as satellites (photo and signal). At the time, this approach avoided illegal overflight and security issues. SPY Satellites also shows how the complexity of both monitoring and verification increased with the development of chemical and biological weapons and with improvements in existing weapons and delivery means. Chapter 8 deals with monitoring "would-be proliferators," including terrorists, planning to join the nuclear club. These circumstances reveal both the strengths and limitations of NTM while making the case for additional monitoring techniques, which in turn complicates the legal issues.
More than 2 million refugees from East Germany reached the West between the years 1945 and 1961. Each one was questioned and those with information of military, economic, political or scientific value were interrogated by the allied intelligence services. Defectors, former POWs, and attachés received similar but separate attention. In addition, traditional agents, special technical collection teams, mail interception units, and telecommunications monitoring were also used. Spying on Science focuses on the scientific intelligence obtained from these sources and the beneficial results for Western military capabilities.
Chapters on each method of collection describe in detail the techniques used, the types of targets involved, the division of labor, and the roles of the various civilian and military intelligence services--Great Britain, the United States and the Federal Republic of Germany--and the political interactions guiding collection policies. In each case the reactions of the Soviet Union and East Germany intended to counter the Western espionage offensive are factored in.
In the summary and often redundant chapter on the uses of the intelligence gathered, Maddrell argues that substantial monetary benefits resulted from the intelligence, citing, though without examples, the $500,000 savings attributed to input from GRU agent Peter Popov. Maddrell gives only one example of a positive outcome from human intelligence: the improved knowledge of the location of Soviet airfields and military installations. In fact, much of this chapter is devoted to the high-quality intelligence acquired from other sources, SIGINT, aerial reconnaissance, and Operation Paperclip, to name a few. Though he concludes that "returnees and Soviet defectors also provided an unprecedented insight into the Soviet system of war-related scientific research and development," he is short on specifics here too. Maddrell gives the impression that the tremendous human intelligence effort he describes was less productive than he implied at the outset. Spying on Intelligence leaves the reader asking, was it worth the effort?
Nicholas Booth, ZIGZAG: The Incredible Wartime Exploits of Double Agent Eddie Chapman (London: Piatkus Books, Ltd., 2007), 360 pp., endnotes, bibliography, photos, index.
Arnold Edward Chapman--former Coldstream Guardsman, movie extra, wrestler, nightclub owner, con-man and safe cracker--was in a Jersey jail when Germans occupied the Channel Islands in 1940. He promptly volunteered to become an Abwehr (German security service) agent and work for them in England. They accepted and gave him the codename FRITZ. After training, Chapman was inserted by parachute near Oxford and immediately turned himself in to MI5 and revealed his mission. The British knew he was coming because they had been reading the Abwehr ENIGMA traffic on FRITZ--part of the ULTRA material--and his story checked out. When Chapman offered to become an MI5 agent, they accepted and named him ZIGZAG.
Using MI5's facilities, Chapman established communications with his Abwehr case officer and began feeding carefully selected data from the Double Cross committee to his German masters. After his recall to the continent for debriefing and training, Chapman was again parachuted into England to continue his work. He was ordered to blow up a factory, a task he convincingly faked with MI5 help. This pattern of espionage and counterespionage continued until 1944, when his services were no longer in demand. The Germans awarded Chapman the Iron Cross for his efforts; the British treated him shabbily and never officially recognized him.
Both books are based on primary sources on Chapman's wartime exploits, but the overlap ends there. Ben Macintyre has little to say about Chapman's pre-and-postwar life. Nicholas Booth had the cooperation of Chapman's wife and family, and his story is full of details about his origins, his numerous failed business ventures, his female admirers, his Rolls Royce, and his long, but successful, battles to publish his memoirs and make a movie about his double-agent life.10
Ewen Montagu (author of The Man Who Never Was) characterized Eddie Chapman as "a rogue but a very brave man." Denis Clift, president of the National Defense Intelligence College, said in an address at Harvard University, Eddie was "just the sort of person intelligence agencies would need in the twenty-first century." (321) ZIGZAG was a successful double agent, and his story is worth reading for that reason alone.
In June 2001 a shipment of 60,000 aluminum tubes destined for Iraq was intercepted in Jordan. A dispute arose in the US Intelligence Community over whether the tubes were intended for use in a centrifuge for enriching uranium or whether they were to be used in construction of rockets. If the former, Iraq would need concentrated uranium (yellowcake). When, in 2002, reporting "from a foreign service" indicated that Iraq was "vigorously trying to procure uranium ore and yellowcake from Africa," it was the basis of a statement in an NIE that Iraq "had reconstituted its nuclear weapons program." Several months later it was discovered that the documents on which the foreign service based its reports were forgeries, and they were recalled. 11 Then, in February 2003, an Egyptian terrorist, Abu Omar, was kidnapped in Milan, Italy. How are these events linked? What damage did they cause? Italian investigative journalists Carlo Bonini and Giuseppe D'Avanzo, present answers in Collusion.
The link between these events, the authors assert, was the Italian intelligence service. With regard to the tubes, the Italians knew they were intended for an Iraqi adaptation of the Italian Medusa 8 air-to-ground missile system, but they did not tell the Americans until November 2003. In the interim, some Intelligence Community elements concluded they were part of the putative Iraqi nuclear program. The yellowcake story is more complicated. It involves a group of known fabricators who provided documents that indicated Iraqi attempts to procure yellowcake. More disturbing, the authors charge that officials in several countries suspected that the documents the group had generated were forgeries. The kidnapping story is more complicated still. Abu Omar was abducted because it was thought, after a secret meeting between Americans from the US Defense Department and Iranians in Rome, that he could establish a link between Iraq and al-Qa'ida. The authors provide some complicated political explanations for the Italian behavior in each instance.
In his book, Blowing Up Russia, former KGB officer Alexander Litvinenko accused the Russian government of blaming Chechen terrorists for bombing a Moscow apartment building in 1999 when elements of the domestic security service (FSB) had been responsible.12 Four years later, Litvinenko was dead of polonium 210 poisoning. In The Litvinenko File, BBC Moscow correspondent Martin Sixsmith sets out to explain how and why Litvinenko was killed, and who was responsible. He does a plausible job on the former but leaves the answer to the latter in a haze of speculation.
Based entirely on interviews, Sixsmith reviews Litvinenko's life in Russia. After a promising start in the KGB, according to Sixsmith, Litvinenko's career began to falter when he refused to assassinate the so-called oligarch, Boris Berezovsky, a claim the FSB vigorously denies. Litvinenko was forced to escape to England, where he went to work for Berezovsky himself. After reconstructing the itinerary that led to Litvinenko's poisoning and identifying the various players involved, Sixsmith concludes that the Russian government was not directly involved in the death. But he is unable to explain how the polonium got to England or who it was that administered it. Thus, despite the implication of the subtitle, the "truth" about Litvinenko's assassination remains a mystery. The Litvinenko File will likely become a cold case before it can, if ever, be closed.
1. "Metadata" is not defined in the narrative but is said elsewhere to be "descriptive statistical information about the elements of a set of data." Just how this applies to human reporting is not intuitively clear and is left unspecified.
10. Eddie Chapman, The Eddie Chapman Story (London: Allan Wingate, 1954); The Real Eddie Chapman Story (London: Tandem, 1966). The movie starred Christopher Plummer as Eddie and Gert Frobe (Goldfinger himself) as Chapman's Abwehr controller. It was not an Academy Award contender.