Intelligence in Recent
Compiled and Reviewed by Hayden B. Peake
Intelligence: Origins, Obstacles, and Innovations, Roger Z. George and James B.
The Uncensored History of the 9/11 Commission, Philip Shenon
Jihad: Terror Networks in the Twenty-First Century, Marc Sageman
The Search For
WMD: Non-Proliferation, Intelligence and Pre-emption in the New Security
F. Walker (ed.)
Still Broken: A
Recruit’s Inside Account of Intelligence Failures, From Baghdad to the Pentagon, A. J. Rossmiller
Espionage In An Age of Uncertainty, Frederick P. Hitz
The Agency and
The Hill: CIA’s Relationship with Congress, 1946-2004, L. Britt Snider
with Intelligence: Writing and Briefing in the Intelligence and National
Security Communities, James
The Hunt for
Nazi Spies: Fighting Espionage in Vichy
France, Simon Kitson
Intelligence and the Arab Revolt: The First Modern Intelligence War, Polly A. Mohs
Freshman: The Hunt for Hitler’s Heavy Water, Jostein Berglyd
Our Man in Mexico:
Winston Scott and the Hidden History of the CIA, Jefferson Morley
RUSE: Undercover With FBI Counterintelligence, Robert Eringer
Secrets: Inside the Stasi's Spy-Tech World, Kristie Macrakis
The Sixth Man:
the extraordinary life of Paddy Costello, James McNeish
Spies in Arabia:
The Great War and the Cultural Foundations of Britain's
Covert Empire in the Middle East, Pryia Satia
Spies in the
Empire: Victorian Military Intelligence, Stephen Wade
Decorations and Memorabilia: A Collectors Guide, Ralph Pickard
My Years In a
Pakistani Prison: The Untold Story of Kishorilal, alias Amaril Singh, alias
Saleem, an Indian Spy in Pakistan,
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Z. George and James B. Bruce, Analyzing Intelligence: Origins, Obstacles,
and Innovations (Washington,
DC: Georgetown University Press,
2008), 340 pp., end of chapter notes, glossary, index.
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definition of intelligence as the product of the collection, evaluation, and
analysis of all available information occurs frequently in the literature of
intelligence. But does this mean that the secret document
obtained by an operations officer from his agent is not intelligence since
analysis has yet to occur? Not according to the authors of this important book.
Drs. George and Bruce, who are both experienced Intelligence Community analysts
suggest that both explanations make sense—intelligence is collected from agents
(and other sources) and, when combined with other relevant information and
knowledge, remains intelligence in an enhanced state after analysis, a process
analogous to the desalinization of water—water in, refined water out.
is not the first book on intelligence analysis but it differs from the others
in several significant respects. The principal difference is the broad scope of
the 18 chapters that describe the discipline, how it has evolved, and where it needs
to go. The introduction gives a fine description of what analysis is, and it
provides prospective analysts with a good feel for the skills required that
make analysis exciting and demanding. Subsequent chapters discuss the analytic
track record at CIA, techniques for improving reliability, and the dominant
issues that affect performance. Prime examples of the latter are the
policy-analyst relationship—three experts discuss this issue in detail—the
analyst-collector relationship that is critical to success, and the dangers of
politicization. Other contributions examine the links between strategy and
intelligence, what analysts should know about denial and deception, the unique
characteristics of military intelligence analysis, and the distinct demands of
homeland security intelligence.
of the articles addresses the difficult subject of analytic failures.
Especially interesting on this point is the contribution by veteran CIA analyst
Jack Davis, “Why Bad Things Happen To Good Analysts.” Producing accurate
analysis is also examined from management’s point of view.
area of concern is the future of analysis. This is described in terms of
managing analysis in the information age as well as the new techniques
available for doing so—the use of teams, networks and the scientific method.
The articles on this point do not deal with mathematical details or complex
models of unproven value, but rather consider the conceptual issues that
promote critical analysis.
the question of whether intelligence analysis is even a discipline is explored.
Here the elements of a discipline are enumerated and compared with the current
state of the art. It also considers whether there is or should be a right of
passage for analysts analogous to the lawyer’s bar exam. In their conclusion,
George and Bruce summarize what needs to be done to make analysis a profession,
with emphasis on the analyst’s role and the techniques and knowledge they must
short, Analyzing Intelligence is the most comprehensive book on the
subject to date—a really valuable treatment for those anticipating becoming an
intelligence analyst, as well as for those who already are.
Shenon, The Commission: The Uncensored History of the 9/11 Commission
Twelve, 2008), 457 pp., bibliography, index.
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This book gets off to an unusual start: no introduction,
no summary or conclusions, and only narrative endnotes without specific
citations. It begins with the story of Sandy Berger’s surreptitious removal and
destruction of classified documents from the National Archives and ends with
descriptions of how various government officials reacted to the 9/11 report. In
between, author Philip Shenon explains how the commission came about, describes
the roles and contributions of its members, and, at much greater length,
addresses the staff’s work in assembling the facts and writing the
report—including the often vicious bureaucratic and partisan battles that
covered the commission from the day it first met in January 2003 until it
closed shop in August 2004. He describes the interviews he conducted,
identifying those involved where he could and preserving anonymity when
there is little new in the book. The controversies over the release of
documents and the reasons for the decisions made have all been reported before.
He does emphasize some key issues and provides continuity. For example, when
discussing the reasons the report omitted mention of accountability he explains
that the commissioners “wanted no ‘finger pointing’ in the final report” in
order to achieve a unanimous outcome: “Unanimity would cement their place in
another of his judgments, Shenon notes that “George Tenet lost. Robert Mueller
won.” (402) He then explains that Commissioner Kean disagreed, rationalizing
that they did not call for Tenet’s resignation, they just recommended creating
a Director of National Intelligence. One item, new to most, is an anecdote
about former senior CIA officer and commission staff member Doug MacEachin, who
briefed the commission on an NIE notionally written in 1997 that showed in
great detail al-Qa’ida’s intention to attack the United States. After greatly
alarming the commissioners, MacEachin revealed it was only an object lesson;
the data were real, but, for reasons unknown, had never been used to write an
commission members were very proud of the report. It was well written, and it
sold more than a million copies. Shenon has provided an equally readable
account of its history. But like the commissioners, he has avoided taking sides
or commenting on the quality of the commission’s recommendations, even in
hindsight. He reports, we decide.
Sageman, Leaderless Jihad: Terror Networks in the Twenty-First Century
(Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania
Press, 2008), 176 pp., endnotes, index.
publishing Leadersless Jihad, Marc Sageman, the forensic psychiatrist,
former intelligence officer, and current international security consultant, has
sparked a polemic in the journal Foreign Affairs on a key question of the day:
what after seven years of US and Allied effort is the state of al Qaeda today?
In an exchange, conducted over two issues of the journal, Bruce Hoffman—Georgetown University history professor and author
of Inside Terrorism —and Sageman have taken opposing
views of al Qaeda’s role in leading today’s Islamic terrorist movement. In
reviewing Leaderless Jihad in the May/June 2008 issue, Hoffman argued
that al-Qaeda has reemerged and is again actively directing terrorist
operations, and he took issue with what he took to be Sageman’s judgment that
“al Qaeda has ceased to exist as either an organizational or an operational
entity.” This, Sageman wrote in response, is a misrepresentation of his
position. His book, he added, explicitly states that “al Qaeda Central is, of
course, not dead, but it is still contained operationally...the surviving
leaders…are undoubtedly still plotting to do harm to various countries and have
the expertise to do so.”
Leaderless Jihad does argue, says Sageman, is that the al Qaeda can no
longer exercise the direct leadership that resulted in 9/11. Instead, Osama bin
Laden now serves as more of an inspiration for young Islamists who, when
radicalized, will act on their own to continue his work in a “leaderless
jihad.” Sageman stresses that his conclusions follow from applying the
scientific method—developing and testing hypotheses based on data from 500
A key element of the story is his characterization of the process by which
young middle-class well-educated Muslims become Islamic extremists, seeking
self–glorification through violence against Western societies. Sageman explains
the basic parameters necessary for success, describes the links among the loose
networks that are formed, and considers how they can result in terrorist acts
in Europe and the United
States. He devotes an insightful chapter to
the way networks communicate using the Internet to sustain their motivation and
to plan operations. If ever there was an unintended consequence of a positive
social development, this is a prime example.
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Leaderless Jihad is not in
complete conflict with Professor Hoffman’s views of al-Qaeda’s role; terrorist
acts can be directed both from above and below. And even if al-Qaeda’s capacity
is diminished, Sageman stresses that the eventual success of the “bottom-up”
variation of global terrorism is not inevitable. Toward that end, he offers
suggestions to counter the threat, though he makes clear his view that
promoting democracy is not part of the solution. The answer is dependent on the
recapturing “the high moral ground” (171), avoiding strategic mistakes, and
keeping up constant monitoring of and interference with terrorist operations.
Meeting these conditions will cause the threat to fade away. In short, there is
no simple solution, but the path Sageman prescribes makes sense and is
deserving of serious attention.
F. Walker (ed.), The Search For WMD: Non-Proliferation, Intelligence and
Pre-emption in the New Security Environment (Halifax,
Nova Scotia: Dalhousie University,
2006), 406 pp., end of chapter notes, appendices, no index.
The 25 articles in this volume were sponsored by the
Center for Foreign Policy Studies at Dalhousie
University in Nova
Most of the contributions deal with WMD and the Iraq war and with related
proliferation issues, present and future. Six of the chapters address
intelligence analysis and lessons learned from the WMD issue and Iraq.
The analysis is generally fair and insightful. Prof. Robert Jervis (Columbia University), for example, cautions
against asking “more of the intelligence community in both the narrow and
general sense than is possible.” (173) Terrorism expert Lawrence Freedman
considers the impact of politicization on limiting the application of high
standards of proof, or validation, on critical assumptions. Doug Giebel, an
investigative journalist from Montana, does
not distinguish himself with the undocumented comment that hindsight shows “how
grossly the U.S.
war-makers (from both political parties) have elevated lying and disinformation
to a high art.” (194) The Search For WMD is an interesting collection of
viewpoints from outside the Intelligence Community about issues of crucial
importance to intelligence analysts on the inside.
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J. Rossmiller, Still Broken: A Recruit’s Inside Account of Intelligence
Failures, From Baghdad to the Pentagon (New York: Ballantine
Books, 2008), 236 pp., appendix, no index.
graduation from Middlebury
College, A. J. Rossmiller
joined the Defense Intelligence Agency in 2004. Within weeks he concluded the
intelligence service was dysfunctional, badly managed, and generally crippled
from top to bottom. Seeing little hope for improvement any time soon, he
volunteered for duty as an analyst in Iraq. (xx)
he found the intelligence situation in Iraq little better. And when, after
six months on the job, his suggestions for correcting things weren’t
implemented, he returned to the United
States. Back home he was astonished to find
management still had not made the necessary upgrades; the system persisted
instead on its “go-along,” stay “on-message” and be “a-member-of-the-team
approach” to analysis. In short, after less than two years as an intelligence
analyst, Rossmiller concluded that his only alternative was to leave government
and make his incisive conclusions available to all in Still Broken.
Thus, he rages about systemic incompetence and dysfunction while prescribing
corrective measures, among them, for example, “intelligence professionals must
go back to the basics.” (220).
book is filled with similar insightful observations, some of which are on the
mark and, curiously, have been noted by others: Hitz (below), Paul Pillar,
Judge Richard Posner, to name three well-documented accounts that Rossmiller
gives no indication of having read. Still Broken
might have acquired more
traction had analyst Rossmiller used specific examples, cited sources, provided
a bibliography, and included an index. As is, it is little more than the
biased, sour-grapes rant of someone unwilling to pay his dues. It does not
deserve serious professional attention.
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P. Hitz, Why Spy?: Espionage in an Age of Uncertainty (New York: Thomas Dunne
Books, 2008), 224 pp., index.
to the straightforward question in the title to this book are likely to be a
complex mix of at least five viewpoints: agent, intelligence officer,
organizational, international, and the public. Author Fred Hitz, as a former
CIA inspector general and now a professor at the University of Virginia,
has firsthand experience with each. In the four parts of Why Spy? he
proposes actions in the post 9/11 era to improve Intelligence Community
performance from all perspectives.
one, “The Seven Motivations for Espionage,” provides a brief history of
American espionage, the reasons it is necessary, and why it can be successful.
He outlines the classic methods of recruitment and potential agent motivations
so they may be considered when thinking about the operations he describes
later. In part two. “America’s
Spying Competence Today” he addresses lessons from failures, the evils
of politicization, the evolution of the CIA’s role, plus Congress and the
recent intelligence reforms. Part three, “Spying in the Twenty-first Century,”
looks at legal issues, civilian and military intelligence organizations, the
role of technology in collection and analysis, and liaison with foreign
intelligence services. The final part raises two questions: Why Spy? Should We
Do It? Neither is answered directly, though the response to both is implicit
from the threats Hitz outlines in the beginning. This chapter also discusses
the new demands on intelligence officers in the 21st century.
his conclusion he addresses four conditions needed to “make espionage work.”
The first is improved HUMINT, with quality personnel, leadership, and
resources, while eliminating stifling bureaucracy. The second is the
requirement to separate partisanship and politics from objective collection and
analysis. The third deals with the problems of domestic intelligence and law
enforcement when dealing with Islamic terrorism. The fourth is the need to
reinvigorate Congressional oversight.
Why Spy? Hitz candidly assesses what should and should not be done, but
he does not offer implementing details, which he leaves to the professionals.
Examples include encouraging elitism—in the sense of esprit de corps—despite
the “hideous reputation” it has in some quarters (181). He goes on to suggest
less reliance on intelligence officers operating out of embassies and
resolution of the legal constraints on using “dirty assets.” (165) He also
warns against the horrendous problems created by periodic downsizings that only
create gaps in experienced officers.
one exception the book provides some very practical guidance for improving
intelligence performance and for understanding the intelligence profession. The
exception is the criticism that today’s analysts do not have ready access to
the internet—Google, Wikipedia and the like. (155–56) If this was ever a
practical limitation, it was corrected long ago.
those concerned with the current and future practical value of espionage, Why
Spy? is very worthwhile reading.
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Britt Snider, The Agency and the Hill: CIA’s Relationship with Congress,
DC: Center for the Study of
Intelligence, CIA, 2008), 389 pp., footnotes, bibliography, appendices, photos,
other important books have been written about congressional oversight of the
Intelligence Community. The first, by Fred Smist, covers the period from 1947
to 1994. The second, by David Barrett, focuses on the period from 1947 to the Bay of Pigs in 1961. The Agency and the Hill differs with
both in two respects: it covers a broader timeframe—1946–2004—and it is written
by an insider with unusual credentials. Author L. Britt Snider served as CIA
inspector general and as general counsel of the Senate Select Committee on
book is divided into two parts, each with functional chapters. Part one
addresses the nature of the relationship itself; intelligence sharing and the
changes after the Church and Pike Committee hearings; and CIA organizational
arrangements. Additional topics are: budgets, covert actions, charges of
domestic spying, routine interactions, and dealing with leaks and
whistle-blowers. The first two chapters of part two examine specific
legislation plus program and budget issues. The final five chapters consider
oversight of intelligence analysis, collection, cover action, security matters,
and the confirmation process. Each chapter covers the entire period from 1946
to 2004. The appendices list key personnel and positions on both the committees
and at the CIA.
the end of each chapter, Snider adds background and meaning in often extensive
and important “author’s commentary” sections. For example, Chapter 3 outlines, inter
alia, post-9/11 hearings and what was and was not done. Snider’s
assessments elucidate the who and why of what was done. Similarly, his
description of “the ideal nominee” after the chapter on the Senate confirmation
process is enlightening whether applied to the DCI, DNI, or D/CIA. Overall,
these contributions are valuable, if not the most important parts of the book.
The Agency and the Hill adds new well-documented perspective to the legal
requirements of congressional oversight and the political realities that bound
their implementation. It will be the principal reference book on the topic for
the foreseeable future.
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S. Major, Communicating with Intelligence: Writing and Briefing in the
Intelligence and National Security Communities (Lanham, MD:
The Scarecrow Press, Inc., 2008), 420 pp., bibliography, appendices, index.
the introduction of the first American commercial typewriter in 1873 by the
Remington Company, handwriting began its gradual demise and replacement by the
personal computer. But while technological developments eased the mechanics of
putting words on paper, the choice of the right words themselves remains a
challenge for all who attempt the task. Communicating with Intelligence
is intended to help intelligence writers master the process.
James Major taught a writing and briefing course at the National Defense
for many years, and his book lays out the practices he developed to help his
students acquire the skill that is so essential to success in the intelligence
book has two parts, the first devoted to “writing with intelligence.” Here he
covers the value of reading intelligence publications, the basic tools of
writing, the critical drafting and polishing processes, and the techniques for
reviewing analytical papers. Each chapter ends with practical exercises
designed to reinforce to key points. The second part of the book deals with
briefing techniques that lay out the elements of a good briefing and the manner
in which it should be delivered. The appendices in the book include a glossary
for writers, a briefing checklist, a sample briefing, and a self-evaluation
form. Communicating with Intelligence is a welcome addition to intelligence
literature and will be valuable to students and the teachers who must read
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Kitson, The Hunt for Nazi Spies: Fighting Espionage in Vichy France
(Chicago: University of Chicago Press,
2007), 208 pp., endnotes, bibliography, photos, index.
the French surrendered to the Germans in 1940, the collaborationist government
established at Vichy was permitted to rule the
Southern half of France
and maintain a security service. The Allied invasion of Africa in late 1942
ended that arrangement, and, as the Nazis occupied all of France, they seized the records of the Vichy government and shipped them to Germany. After the war, the Soviet
Army sent them to Moscow.
In the 1990s, they were returned to France. In 1997, while using the
files to research anti-German counterespionage in France,
scholar Simon Kitson discovered documentation of agent torture, not of French
agents caught by the Gestapo, but of Nazi agents (French nationals) caught
spying on the French by the Vichy
counterintelligence (CE) service.
The Hunt for Nazi Spies tells the story of this unusual situation with emphasis
on these issues: The fact that an occupied state was allowed to have a security
service at all and that the CE service was permitted to arrest the occupier’s
spies and execute several dozen of them. Kitson examines French motivations,
the character of CE recruits, and the organization, methods and operations of
the CE. The book also describes what happened to the French CE officers—many
escaped to England and
joined DeGaulle—and the agents captured when the Nazis occupied all of France.
Kitson has filled an unexpected gap in our knowledge and will cause historians
to modify the standard image of French collaboration during WW II.
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A. Mohs, Military Intelligence and the Arab Revolt: The First Modern
Intelligence War (New York:
Routledge, 2007), 238 pp., endnotes, index.
Arab Revolt during WW I that reconfigured the Middle East
brought fame to T. E. Lawrence and has been recorded in books and movies. The
role of British intelligence and the Arab Bureau in the revolt, plus the
details of Lawrence’s
contribution as an analyst and unofficial leader of guerrilla operations, were
less well known until Polly Mohs wrote this precedent-setting book. After
describing the geographical and political scene, she discusses how the
traditional British policy of controlling the Empire from London
failed to meet the intelligence and policy needs of the Middle East campaign in
had become an ally of the Germans. Mohs shows that the creation of the Arab
Bureau—to “harmonize the various views and policies” from the British Foreign
Office and the military—staffed with civilian and military experts, including
Lawrence, was a major departure from standard practice in two ways. First, it
ran its own field operations and analyzed the results without prior approval
Second, it “blurred” the distinction between intelligence and policymaking by
“redefining the intelligence-policy dichotomy” and contributing directly to
military-political decision making. (9)
shows how the policy issue worked in practice in her analysis of the Arab
Revolt, which began in mid-1916. The British were faced with the question of
whether or not to support the Arab attacks, and if so, whether ground forces
should be used or whether guerrilla warfare tactics should be adopted. She
describes how Lawrence’s
dual role as an unorthodox field operator and analyst influenced the adoption
of the latter approach. His recommendation—supported by the Arab Bureau—that
the Arabs be allowed to fight their own battles, with Allied support, was, in
the end, key to the Turkish defeat.
what becomes the central theme of the book, Mohs goes on to show just how
intelligence contributed to the revolt’s success. She argues that the
relatively new techniques of aerial reconnaissance and signals interception,
when combined with human sources—including POW interrogation—were more
effective than in Europe because of local
weather and military conditions. While possibly true with regard to aerial
reconnaissance and communications intercepts—though no detailed examples are
given in this otherwise extensively documented work—her comment that
“conditions in German-occupied Europe made it impossible for Allied operatives
to establish agent networks behind enemy lines” (4) is inaccurate as the White
Lady network, to name one, illustrates.
Mohs does not neglect the often-deceitful Allied political decisions kept from
the Arabs during the war, her focus is on the “intelligence-led policy for the
campaign,” (160) the development and application of the unorthodox military
techniques, and the personalities that made it a success. Mohs does not suggest
the success of an intelligence element advocating policy, as happened during
the Arab Revolt, argues for abandoning the conventional intelligence-policy
approach, but she does allow that it should be considered in the future when
dealing with conflicts in the Middle East.
Moh’s book is a valuable contribution to the study of military intelligence.
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Berglyd, Operation Freshman: The Hunt for Hitler’s Heavy Water (Stockholm: Leander &
Ekholm, 2006), 202 pp., footnotes, photos, map, no index.
1965, the movie The Heroes of Telemark, starring Kirk Douglas, told a
story about the destruction of the heavy water plant at Telemark, Norway.
Brave British commandos and Norwegian resistance fighters were sent to prevent
Hitler from acquiring heavy water needed to produce the atom bomb. In what
would today be labeled “Oliver Stone history,” the movie departed from the
truth in nearly every respect including the fact that Telemark was a region of Norway
not the actual city, Vemork, where the plant located. Jostein Berglyd sets the
record straight in this thoroughly documented and illustrated book. Operation
Freshman, the SOE operation to sabotage the heavy water plant, was a
failure. The aircraft carrying the sabotage team crashed in the Norwegian
mountains, and the Nazis murdered the 14 commandos and three crewmen who
survived the crash; in all, 37 men were lost. The plant was later damaged in a
bombing raid and eventually destroyed by Norwegian saboteurs. Berglyd describes
the planning for the operation, its faulty execution, how the Nazis tracked
down the survivors, and the penalties collaborators received after the war. In
the final chapter, Berglyd analyzes postwar books about these operations and
points out their inaccuracies. Operation Freshman fills a gap in history
and is a valuable contribution to the literature.
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Morley, Our Man in Mexico: Winston Scott and the Hidden History of the
University Press of Kansas, 2008), 374 pp., endnotes, photos, index.
Winston Mackinley Scott was born in 1909 in rural Jemison, Alabama.
He spent his early years living in a converted box car, but he did well in
mathematics and athletics in high school and earned a scholarship to a teachers
college before getting his masters and then teaching at the University of Alabama.
When one of his papers was published in the Annals of Mathematics, the
FBI asked if he would be interested in a job.(17) He said he was, but when he
heard nothing more he went to Scotland
to study matrix theory. The FBI offer arrived when he returned after the war in
Europe began. Following service in Cuba he was assigned to Cleveland. While in transit he visited Washington and was recruited by the OSS. In June 1944, he arrived in London becoming, after the war, chief of station, a
position he retained after the OSS
clandestine services became the Strategic Services Unit (SSU). In 1947, he
joined the CIA. After nearly 10 years at Headquarters, Scott was sent to Mexico City as chief of
station, a position he would hold until he retired in 1969. He remained in Mexico City, working as a
consultant until his death of natural causes at age 62.
Morley, a reporter for the Washington Post, decided to write a biography
of Win Scott after a 1995 meeting with Scott’s son, Michael, then a movie
director. Michael told the story of his father on two levels. The first was
that of a CIA officer and closet novelist and poet, whose career touched Lee
Harvey Oswald and the Kennedy assassination, the Bay of Pigs invasion, secret
CIA agents high in the Mexican government, and many of the most famous British
and American intelligence officers—Kim Philby, James Angleton, Allen Dulles,
Richard Helms, Bill Harvey, Howard Hunt, J. C. King, and David Phillips to name
a few—and two presidents, JFK and Lyndon Johnson. Not much had reached the
public about Scott’s career, and his son wanted to know more.
second level of the story was Scott’s personal life, about which even Michael
had spotty knowledge. What he knew—several marriages and numerous
affairs—indicated it was a mess by any standard, curiously analogous to
Philby’s. Michael’s queries disclosed some surprising detail, including the
fact that he was adopted and had brothers.
agreed to help Morley write the story, and he began by filing an FOIA request
with the CIA for whatever documents it or the Agency had on his father. Of
special interest was a copy of a fictionalized autobiography Scott had written
but that disappeared—thanks, they suggest, to Jim Angleton and other senior CIA
officers—soon after his death. Michael also went through his father’s papers
and began a series of interviews with family members and acquaintances. The
result of their collaboration was Our Man in Mexico.
of the book describes Scott’s 12-year service as COS in Mexico City. But there are interesting
asides, for example, about Scott’s relationship with Philby in the UK and the United States. Here, Morley is
careless about Philby’s background—he was never head of Section V in MI6, and
he learned about suspicions of Maclean as a Soviet agent before a visit to the
VENONA element at Arlington Hall. Moreover, Morley suggests Scott suspected
Philby was also an agent at the same time it occurred to Bill Harvey, though he
cites no source for this surprise.
focuses on the high level agents—three presidents among them—Scott recruited in
the Mexican government; Scott’s trusted staff; the Bay of Pigs invasion; his
relationship with David Phillips; and, most of all, his knowledge of Lee Harvey
Oswald’s time in Mexico City.
It quickly becomes clear that Morley is something of a conspiracy theorist. He
is convinced Scott withheld surveillance information about Oswald at the
request of CIA Headquarters. When lawyers from the Warren Commission visited Mexico City, Scott gave
them a story “that was both true and untrue.” (234) Finally, Morley suggests
that Scott too concluded that there was more to the CIA relationship with the
assassination than the Warren Report allows, although he admits a lack of any
Our Man in Mexico is a good title for an interesting book about a complex man dealing with
sensitive issues in and out of government.
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Eringer, Ruse: Undercover With FBI Counterintelligence (Washington, DC:
Potomac Books, 2008), 215 pp., photos, no index.
late Edward Lee Howard, a CIA officer who defected to the KGB, wrote a
forgettable and largely fantasy memoir called Safe House.
According to private “intelligence consultant,” editor, and literary agent,
Robert Eringer, the book proposal Howard submitted had serious weaknesses and
the prospective publisher approached him with the idea of making it
publishable. Eringer agreed but signed on only after securing assurance from
the FBI that they would use the opportunity to capture Howard and return him
for trial—hence the “ruse.”
describes the operation’s set up with the FBI and his meetings with Howard in
Russia, Switzerland, Hungary and Cuba and goes on to explain why the plan ended
in failure. He also adds some new detail to Howard’s claims about making a
secret trip to the United
States in 1986, where the KGB arranged a
meeting “with an authoritative American.” Eringer says he was told that the
American was Aldrich Ames. But Howard said it was not Ames, and according to Eringer, this led the
FBI to suspect another mole existed. (38) Later Eringer hints that Ames, like Hanssen, was
caught because of a KGB informer, not CI analysis at CIA. (210) But are these revelations true? Eringer
provides no evidence at all to support them. Along this same line he alludes to
contacts with an unidentified “spymaster,” uses undocumented reconstructed
dialogue with many fictitious names. The book falls squarely in the “trust me”
category despite the inclusion of some 10-year-old photographs that tend to
substantiate meetings with Howard and former KGB chairman, Vladimir Kryuchkov.
a final curiosity, the Howard story ends at page 175 of the book. With the
exception of the epilogue that attacks Vladimir Putin, the balance of the book
deals with fugitive Ira Einhorn. It may serve as filler for the publisher, but
it adds nothing of intelligence value. With these slender qualifications, Ruse struggles to
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Macrakis, Seduced by Secrets: Inside the Stasi's Spy-Tech World (New York: Cambridge
University Press, 2008), 392 pp., endnotes, bibliography, photos, index.
1972, East German Werner Stiller defected to the West. He had been an officer
in the Science and Technology Division of the HVA (the German Democratic
Republic’s foreign intelligence service) and an agent of the West German
foreign intelligence service, the BND. In 1986, Stiller published his memoir, Im
Zentrum der Spionage (In the Center of Espionage)
and gave the West its first glimpse of the extensive HVA S&T espionage
operations. History of science professor Kristie Macrakis has added to the
Stiller story while providing a much broader look at Stasi scientific espionage
organizations, functions and operations. Seduced by Secrets tells how
the Stasi began—with KGB “assistance”—and shows how it gained fearsome
proficiency in maintaining domestic security and grudging respect for its
foreign espionage capabilities.
Macrakis took a classic approach to writing her book while doing graduate work
for her PhD at Harvard. After reading what was available in German and English,
she went to the Stasi archives in Berlin
and also interviewed former Stasi officers—including former HVA chief Markus
Wolf. Her interviews with Werner Stiller add considerable detail to his story.
(51ff) Part one of the book describes agent and technical operations. Several
of the cases have not received much attention before, including one with an
agent codenamed “Gorbachev”—named after a vodka, not the Soviet leader. (8ff)
Where needed, she includes background on the often conflicting economic and
political issues influencing priorities that resulted in inefficient use of
resources. This is particularly apparent the story of “the computer fiasco.”
two of Seduced by Secrets concentrates on the hardware and techniques of
Stasi clandestine operations. Well-illustrated chapters cover technical
surveillance—electronic, chemical (smell science), optical, visual—secret
writing, and agent-officer communications. As to the technical terms, Dr.
Macrakis translates the awkward Stasi expression for agent or informant—Inoffizieller
Mitarbiter (IM)—as “unofficial staff member” rather than unofficial
collaborator as used elsewhere.
In several instances, her use of English tradecraft terms is inaccurate—for
example dead drops are used synonymously with dead letter boxes—and readers are
cautioned to check other sources.
Macrakis concludes with a brief comparison of the “strikingly similar” Stasi
and Western uses of technology “to solve social or intelligence problems” (314)
but errs when she suggests “the CIA attempted to use science to control agents’
minds.” (315) Seduced by Secrets is nevertheless fine scholarship and a
valuable and unique contribution to intelligence literature.
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McNeish, The Sixth Man: The Extraordinary Life of Paddy Costello (Auckland, NZ: Random
House New Zealand, 2007), 414 pp., endnotes, bibliography, appendices, photos,
“Cambridge Five” were not the only Soviet agents who attended that university
during the 1930s. American Michael Straight, Canadian Herbert Norman, and New
Zealander Paddy Costello share that distinction. Straight eventually admitted
his recruitment, Norman and Costello only their communist party membership. In The
Sixth Man, James McNeish portrays Costello as a gifted student, teacher,
and military intelligence officer in WW II. After the war he served with the New Zealand foreign office in Moscow
and Paris before entering academia in England.
In between those years, as McNeish acknowledges with obvious irritation,
several authors have alleged that Costello might have been or was in fact a
Soviet agent. McNeish strives mightily to dismiss the idea
as fanciful speculation. In support of his position, he notes that even
Christopher Andrew cannot say absolutely that Mitrokhin got it right.
(16) But the arguments McNeish makes are mere speculation and ignore important
facts reported by others. For example, in the chapter entitled, “The Passport
Affair” that discusses the false New Zealand passports issued to
Soviet illegal’s Peter Cohen and his wife, McNeish neglects to mention that the
hand writing on the passports was Costello’s.
McNeish does justice to Paddy Costello’s life story but does nothing to dilute
his reputation as one of the “Cambridge Spies.” Costello may indeed have been The
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Satia, Spies in Arabia: The Great War and the Cultural Foundations of
Britain's Covert Empire in the Middle East (New York: Oxford University Press, 2008),
472 pp., endnotes, index.
biblical times to the early 20th century, Uz was an accepted reference to the Arabian Peninsula. The unofficial British intelligence
agent, George Wyman Bury, wrote a book about his adventures in The Land of
Uz. In Spies in Arabia, Stanford history
professor Priya Satia has written about intelligence in the same region during
and after WW I from the perspective of the 21st century. She provides little
new about the events already described by other historians—the functions and
staff of the Arab Bureau, Lawrence of Arabia as intelligence analyst and field
operator, the Arab Revolt, and the postwar political deceptions. What she tries to do that is different is to
explain the motivations behind “intelligence community” actions and
consequences in psychological and epistemological terms. (23ff) Her principal theme
is the development of Britain’s
“covert empire.” Despite two chapters on the topic, the term is never defined
and it doesn’t project an intuitive meaning. Still, she attempts to show that
intelligence agents—influenced by British culture, a need to spread democracy,
spy fiction, and aerial reconnaissance—played an important role in building and
maintaining the so-called covert empire.
her words—that are typical of the narrative’s pervasive semantic ambiguity—the
book pieces together:
the world of
British intelligence in the Middle East…. I
want to unpack the enduring fascination with Arabia
as a spy-space which colored this British effort…. My focus is on the formation
and fallout of the cultural imagination that shaped agents’ approach and
methods…on thinking about intelligence and agents’ skills rather than on the
agents’ actual abilities. (4)
specifically, she writes, “this book argues [that] in the influence of their
tactical imagination and epistemological outlook…lies the explanation for the
gradual transformation” of British informal intelligence gathering to “the
paranoid preoccupation of a brutal aerial surveillance regime after the war.”
(5) Unfortunately, although Satia devotes a chapter to “Air Control,” she does
not substantiate the charge of brutality.
her attempts to link British agent operations in the Middle East to the fiction
of Erksine Childers, Joseph Conrad, John Buchan, Rudyard Kipling, and John Le
Carré, among others, and then to the “uncanny connections between them and the
Cambridge Five,” (17, 334) are creative, even colorful, but they are not
convincing. She tries but fails to make the case that the
real world of intelligence is inspired by espionage fiction. (96) Similar
issues are raised in the chapter on “conspiracy theories,” which explains the
troubles in the occupied lands. Here, too, she only leaves readers wondering
why it was included.
Spies in Arabia is filled with well-documented
conjecture about the complex psychological motivations of British intelligence
agents in the Middle East. But it provides no
basis for determining whether the author got it right. Thus the more
traditional explanations—patriotism, curiosity, duty, and professional
competence—remain equally plausible. Professor Satia ends this self-inflicted
standoff with a surprising though somewhat Delphic conclusion:
The United States is not repeating what…Britain did in Iraq decades ago [that laid the
groundwork] for what
is happening today. To this Marx might offer the correction, and I would agree,
that those conditions of possibility were material and as much epistemological.
Spies in Arabia is a surprisingly confused and confusing book.
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Wade, Spies in the Empire: Victorian Military Intelligence (New York: Anthem Press,
2007), 276 pp., end of chapter notes, bibliography, photos, chronology, index.
threats to the British Empire were a major
concern of the government from Victorian to Edwardian times, and secret agents
were routinely employed to determine what potential enemies were planning and
what actions were required of the British Army. These are not new topics and
they have been covered in more detail in other books.Spies in the Empire gives, in a single
source, a broad overview of how the needed intelligence was acquired, used, and
misused throughout the British realm.
the beginnings in northern India,
spying on Russians in Afghanistan
in the early 1800s, to WW I when the threat was German, author Stephen Wade
reports how military and political officers—the “heroes of the Great Game”
(29ff)—collected the needed strategic intelligence. Initially all were amateur
intelligence officers, and they traveled as explorers and political
representatives, or simply on holiday. This relatively relaxed pace came to an
end with the Crimean War (1853–1856) when “a powerful lesson regarding the
neglect of intelligence” (66-69) emerged in the disastrous charge of the Light
Brigade. With the formation of the Intelligence Department in 1873, British
military intelligence was on the path to professionalism. Wade describes the
progress through the Zulu Wars, the Boer War, the operations against the
Fenians, and the growing threat from the German Empire.
departs briefly from the strictly military intelligence role in the empire in
the final chapters, when he examines the foundations of what became a military
intelligence department spinoff—the security service (MI5)—after WW I. At one
point, he discusses what he terms “spy mania” and its influence on the press,
playwrights and novelists in particular—Childers, Le Queux, and Conrad being
well-known examples. But he does not make a strong case that MI5 was
established because of these social pressures as opposed to operational need.
Spies in the Empire concludes with the thought, not fleshed out, that “the Victorian years
have much to teach us today.” (245) The book is an interesting summary, but it
has few original insights.
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Pickard, Stasi Decorations and Memorabilia: A Collector’s Guide Lorton, VA:
Frontline Historical Publishing, 2007), 248 pp., bibliography, photos, index.
has been described as “the shorthand of history” and “the floral border in the
garden of history.” Although the term originally applied to
military and familial coats of arms and related badges, the communist nations
created a new form of heraldry, substituting political and industrial insignia
for military symbols in badges and awards. Since the communist forms of
heraldry cannot be found in standard reference works on the subject—though the
topic has received new attention with the fall of communism—Ralph Pickard has
taken a step in the direction of preserving a piece of the East German heraldic
record with his new reference work, Stasi Decorations and Memorabilia.
All the items in the book are in his private collection. As Ambassador Hugh
Montgomery notes in his foreword to the book, Soviet heraldic influence
prevailed and the Stasi “abandoned all efforts to retain any ties to German
a short historical overview of the Stasi organization, the book contains high
quality color photographs of most of the medals, awards, and commemorative
coins—even document covers—issued by the Stasi. Detailed specifications are
indicated for each item so one may in verify authenticity. An unusual aspect of
Stasi heraldry are the coins honoring former spies and espionage networks even
when the officers involved included Soviet agents. The Rote Kapelle network is
an example; native German, but GRU agent, Richard Sorge and his radioman Max Clausen
are another (238-44).
non-German reader will need a dictionary because the German terms on the items
are not translated. Likewise, the table of contents is in German. Future
editions of the book would do well to include translations.
this is a valuable and impressive reference work.
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Sharma, My Years in a Pakistani Prison: The Untold Story of Kishorilal,
alias Amarik Singh, alias Saleem, an Indian Spy in Pakistan (Olympia Fields,
IL: Lancer Publishers, 2008), 224 pp., photos, maps, index.
series of memoirs by retired senior Indian intelligence officers has provided
top-down views of intelligence careers in India. Kishorilal writes from a different
perspective, as a junior military intelligence officer whose career lasted 10
years (1966–1976), seven of those in Pakistani jails.
book doesn’t reveal the details of Kishorilal’s operations in Pakistan.
It does describe in considerable detail his recruitment as a recent graduate of
an automobile college in the Jullundur at age
19, his espionage training, his capture, and unpleasant treatment in several
Pakistani prisons. These circumstances and the suspicions he endured from his
own service after repatriation are still intense memories.
finally discharged, Kishorilal was “encouraged” by his former service to remain
silent about his experiences in prison and his handling when released. After 30
years in business he has chosen to share them because “the treatment of
detainees held on charges of spying is…not known.” But he adds a qualifying
comment that despite “unspeakable interrogations” he found some
“extraordinarily good human beings” among his jailers. (viii) As to his
handling as a possible turncoat by his former colleagues, he is less forgiving.
experiences will be of interest to anyone concerned with life in South Asia but especially to intelligence officers and
those contemplating similar service. The professional similarities and
differences they reveal are valuable benchmarks.
[Top of page]
 See for example: Martin T. Bimfort, “A Definition
of Intelligence,” Studies in Intelligence 2, no. 4 (Fall 1958): 78.
Bruce Hoffman, “Review Essay: The Myth of
Grass-Roots Terrorism,” Foreign Affairs, May/June 2008, and Marc Sageman
and Bruce Hoffman, “Debating the Containment of al Qaeda’s Leadership,” Foreign Affairs, July/August 2008.
Bruce Hoffman, Inside Terrorism, rev. ed., (New York:
Columbia University Press, 2006).
See also Sageman, Understanding Terror Networks
(Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania
Press, 2004) reviewed by Dwight P. Pinkley in Studies
in Intelligence 49, no. 2 (2005)
Richard A. Posner, Preventing Surprise Attacks:
Intelligence Reform in the Wake of 9/11 (Lanham, MD:
Rowman & Littlefield, Publishers, Inc., 2005).
Fred Smist, Congress Oversees the United States Intelligence Community 1974-1994
(Knoxville: The University of Tennessee Press, 1994, 2nd edition); David M.
Barrett, The CIA and Congress: The Untold Story (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2005).
Captain Henry Landau, Secrets of the White Lady
(New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1935).
Edward Lee Howard, Safe House: The
Compelling Memoirs of the Only CIA Spy to Seek Asylum in Russia (Bethesda, MD: National
Press Books, 1995).
See Pete Earley, Confessions of a Spy: The Real
Story of Aldrich Ames
(New York: Putnam, 1997).
Werner Stiller, Im Zentrum der Spionage (Mainz, Germany: Hase and Koehler, 1986). The
English edition—Beyond The Wall: Memoirs of an East and West German Spy
(Washington, DC: Brassey’s, 1992)—was written with Jefferson Adams.
See for example, John O. Koehler, Stasi: The
Untold Story of the East German Secret Police (Boulder, CO:
Westview Press, 2000). British author Anthony Glees designates IM as Inoffizieller
Mitarbeiter which he translates as “unofficial collaborator.”
 For example, Robert Wallace and Keith Melton, Spycraft:
The Secret History of the CIA’s Spytechs from Communism to Al-Qaeda (New York: Dutton, 2008).
See: Chapmen Pincher, Their Trade Is Treachery
(1981), Christopher Andrew and Vasili Mitrokhin, The Mitrokhin Archive: The
KGB in Europe and the West (London:
For more detail on this episode, see Graeme Hunt, Spies
And Revolutionaries: A History of New Zealand Subversion (Auckland, NZ: Reed Books Ltd., 2007).
Abdullah Mansur (Bury’s pseudonym), The Land of
Uz (London: Macmillan, 1911). A naturalist by training, Bury accepted
intelligence tasks from the government when he traveled, though he was not
See for example, Jeremy Wilson, Lawrence of
Arabia: The Authorized Biogrpahy of T. E. Lawrence (London: Heinemann,
1989), and James Barr, Setting the Desert on Fire: T.E. Lawrence and Britain’s Secret War in Arabia, 1916–1918 (London: Bloomsbury,
There are also factual errors—Philby was the
double-agent, Philby’s father was a communist—that come from unreliable
sourcing, in this case Anthony Cave Brown’s book, Treason in the Blood.
See for example, Peter Hopkirk, The Great Game:
On Secret Service in High Asia (London: John Murray, 1990) and Thomas G.
Fergusson, British Military Intelligence, 1870-1914: The Development of a
Modern Intelligence Organization (Frederick, MD: University Press of
See Christopher Andrew, Her Majesty’s Secret
Service (London: Heinemann, 1995)
See Arthur Charles Fox-Davies, A Complete Guide
to Heraldry (London: Thomas Nelson, 1925) and John Pottinger and Sir Iain
Moncreiffe, Simple Heraldry (London: Thomas Nelson, 1953).
See for example, D. C. Pathak, Intelligence: As
Security Weapon (New Delhi: Manas
Publications, 2003); Maloy Krishna Dhar, Open Secrets: India’s Intelligence
Unveiled (New Delhi: Manas Publications:
2005); Maj. Gen. V. K. Singh, India’s
External Intelligence: Secrets of Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) (New Delhi: Manas
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All statements of fact, opinion, or analysis expressed in this article are those of the author. Nothing in the article should be construed as asserting or implying US government endorsement of an article’s factual statements and interpretations.