Volume 52, No. 2 (June 2008)

The Intelligence Officer’s Bookshelf

Volume 52, No. 2

The Intelligence Officer’s Bookshelf

Compiled and Reviewed by Hayden B. Peake


Counterterrorism Strategies: Successes and Failures of Six Nations, Yonah Alexander (ed.)

Deception: Pakistan, the United States, and the Secret Trade in Nuclear Weapons, Adrian Levy and Catherine Scott-Clark. Reviewed with:

The Nuclear Jihadist: The True Story of the Man Who Sold the World’s Most Dangerous Secrets and How We Could Have Stopped Him, Douglas Frantz and Catherine Collins

America and the Islamic Bomb: The Deadly Compromise, David Armstrong and Joseph Trento

Insurgents, Terrorists and Militias: The Warriors of Contemporary Combat, Richard H. Schultz Jr. & Andrea J. Dew

General Intelligence

Intelligence, Crises and Security Prospects and Retrospects, Len Scott and R. Gerald Hughes


Empires of Intelligence: Security Services and Colonial Disorder After 1914, Martin Thomas

Historical Dictionary of World War Two Intelligence, Nigel West

I Engaged in Intelligence Work, Colonel Dinh Thi Van

The Kravchenko Case: One Man’s War On Stalin, Gary Kern

A Man of Intelligence: The Life of Captain Theodore Eric Nave, Australian Codebreaker Extraordinary, Ian Pefenningwerth

Programmed to Kill: Lee Harvey Oswald, the Soviet KGB, and the Kennedy Assassination – The Training of a Dedicated Agent, Ion Mihai Pacepa

Secrets and Lies: A History of CIA Mind Control and Germ Warfare, Gordon Thomas

Spies and Revolutionaries: A History of New Zealand Subversion, Graeme Hunt

Stasi: Shield and Sword of the Party, John C. Schmeidel


Yonah Alexander (ed.), Counterterrorism Strategies: Successes and Failures of Six Nations (Washington, DC: Potomac Books, 2006), 271 pp., endnotes, bibliography, glossary, index.

The dust jacket’s claim that this book offers “a counterterrorism road map for the 21st century” is not supported by the narrative. What the book does is review, through the analysis of seven academics, the experiences of six countries—the United States, France, Germany, Italy, Egypt, and Sri Lanka—in dealing with terrorism historically and after 9/11. For reasons not mentioned, the potentially valuable contributions of the United Kingdom and Spain are excluded. For the cases discussed, attention is focused primarily on legislative actions to prevent and counter terrorist operations. If terrorist acts have diminished, the assumption—which some will question—is that the actions were correct. In the United States, for example, the reorganization of the Intelligence Community is thus seen as the correct course of action.

While each country has unique characteristics and histories of successes and failure, which are discussed in detail, the editor finds “policy implications” that apply generally. The first is that nations must “act unilaterally and in concert to develop credible responses and capabilities to minimize future threats.” The second is equally insipid: “There are no simplistic solutions.” As challenges evolve, “nations must adjust and act accordingly.” The third continues the trend by invoking the requirement for “patience, resolve, perseverance, political will, and relentless pursuit of terrorists.” The fourth recommends policies that will lead to apprehension of operatives, destruction of command and control elements, denial of support, and infliction of severe punishment. Too little is said about how the policies should be implemented. (215)

In short, Counterterrorism Strategies provides an interesting review of terrorism as experienced by six countries and viewed by academics, but it presents nothing new and certainly no strategies for the future that have not already been implemented.

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Adrian Levy & Catherine Scott-Clark, Deception: Pakistan, the United States, and the Secret Trade in Nuclear Weapons (New York: Walker & Company, 2007), 586 pp., endnotes, bibliography, photos, index.

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), 413 pp., endnotes, index.

David Armstrong and Joseph Trento, America and the Islamic Bomb: The Deadly Compromise (Hanover, NH: Steerforth Press, 2007), 292 pp., endnotes, photos, index.

By the time Time dubbed A.Q. Khan the “Merchant of Menace” in 2005, he was known throughout the world as the father of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons program.[1] After obtaining a PhD in metallurgical engineering from the Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium, in 1972, Khan found work at the Physics Dynamics Research Laboratory (FDO) in the Netherlands, a subcontractor to URENCO, a uranium enrichment facility. Here he began developing contacts with European contractors supporting the program. Then, taking advantage of the casual security atmosphere at FDO, he acquired top secret documents that he knew would be helpful to Pakistan’s fledgling atomic bomb program. In July 1974, after India’s first successful nuclear detonation on 18 May 1974, he wrote to Ali Bhutto, then Pakistan’s prime minister, and offered his assistance; it was accepted. Between then and May 1998, when Pakistan exploded its own atomic bomb, Khan, with the support of the Pakistani government, formed companies to do the work. He acquired the essential materials from firms around the world, using legal and illegal methods. At some point, Khan expanded his efforts to include a black market in nuclear weapons technology that involved North Korea, China, Iran, and Libya, acquiring a personal fortune in the process. His efforts did not go unnoticed by various intelligence agencies, and in 2004, despite his status as a national hero, Khan was arrested and made a public confession.

The three books cited above agree on these basic facts. They also agree that the United States and its European allies could and should have stopped Khan and Pakistan’s clandestine nuclear program, especially its links to the “axis of evil” nations. In something of a surprise, they also acknowledge that the intelligence agencies involved were aware of the problem from the 1970s on and recommended various actions to stem or at least delay Pakistan’s acquisition of the bomb, actions that were, in most cases, overruled by the governments concerned.

Deception takes the strongest position. Beginning with the Carter administration, the authors argue that the United States, supported by Britain and other European countries, allowed Pakistan to acquire “highly restricted nuclear technology.” (2) More to the point, they allege that the State Department and US intelligence agencies that warned of the proliferation problem were ignored, that federal laws were broken, that Congress was lied to, and that careers were intentionally ruined when analysts dared to speak truth to power. These charges, based on interviews and secondary sources, are judgment calls, not the result of irrefutable facts, and could have different interpretations. And while Deception mentions various Middle Eastern crises administrations were forced to deal with and even includes mention of several unsuccessful attempts by US secretaries of state to persuade Pakistan to abandon its nuclear program, the authors do not realize or acknowledge that once India had acquired the bomb, nothing short of war could prevent Pakistan from at least trying to do the same. Beyond these points, Deception adds more historical, personal, and political detail than the other books. It also looks beyond Khan’s confession and presents facts that suggest that successive Pakistani governments have been at least equally complicit with Khan in continuing nuclear proliferation. Levy and Scott-Clark see little hope for change so long as the United States and Britain need Pakistan in their war on terror.

The Nuclear Jihadist is mostly a biography of Khan, whom the authors credit with being “one of the principal architects of the second nuclear age.” (xv) And while the book also analyzes the proliferation problem, its other common thread is the role and actions of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), an organization scarcely mentioned in the other books. As to the futile efforts of the United States and its NATO allies to stop Pakistan’s nuclear program, Nuclear Jihadist is more balanced and detailed than Deception. One example of this is the handling by Frantz and Collins of the case of France’s decision to cancel its contract with Pakistan. Both books discuss the successful efforts of the United States and Britain to neutralize Libya’s nuclear program, although The Nuclear Jihadist relies more heavily on George Tenet’s memoir, while Deception adds details from other sources. There are also some factual differences, including Khan’s claim reported in Jihadist that he got a degree from the University of Karachi. Deception alleges that Pakistan’s intelligence service determined that Khan acquired his education entirely in Europe.[2] Jihadist has a chapter titled “Spy Games,” that will disappoint: it really deals with Iran’s nuclear ambitions. Frantz and Collins provide documentation in the form of “hundreds of hours of interviews” and books about Khan, with endnotes available on a Web site; they are not very helpful.[3] The questioning reader is left with “trust us, we’re journalists.”

America and the Islamic Bomb is a concise and readable presentation of the A. Q. Khan story, based partly on primary sources not used by the other two books. Nevertheless, with few exceptions, the material and the conclusions are the same. One item discussed only in this book is the relatively minor role US Congressman Charlie Wilson played in supporting the Pakistan nuclear program and US aid to Pakistan in return for support during the Afghan war against the Soviets. On the other side, Armstrong and Trento do not mention the agent Dragonfly, whose story about an atom bomb being driven around New York City ready to be detonated caused some concern but turned out to be untrue. The other two books used the case to illustrate the urgency of stepping up non-proliferation programs.

Each of the books mention and summarily reject two principal arguments for not having taken stronger steps to prevent Pakistan from acquiring the bomb and cooperating with China, North Korea, and Iran in the process. The first is that since the likelihood of Pakistan’s success was high in any event, it is better to monitor the program to learn what and who is involved so that action can be taken if things get out of hand. That is of course, what happened. The second reason the authors find unacceptable is that other foreign policy objectives—the Cold War and then the War on Terror—were of higher priority than the possible spread of nuclear weapons to terrorists and unscrupulous nations. They scoff at Zbigniew Brzezinski’s answer to a journalist’s question about “whether he regretted giving arms and advice to future terrorists.” Brzezinski responded, “What is more important to the history of the world: the Taliban or the collapse of the Soviet Empire.”[4] These authors condemn all US presidential administrations since Carter’s for failing to meet the proliferation challenge. But the final outcome is still unknown; it may yet be achieved and nuclear holocaust avoided.

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Richard H. Schultz Jr. and Andrea J. Dew, Insurgents, Terrorists and Militias: The Warriors of Contemporary Combat (New York: Columbia University Press, 2006), 316 pp., endnotes, photos, maps, index.

Insurgents, Terrorists and Militias adds important qualifications to Sun Tzu’s most famous sound bite, “Know your enemy!” The book argues that in order to defeat the unconventional forces, or non-state actors, attacking Western nations today, it is essential to really understand the hows, whys, and wherefores that drive them to kill. The authors recognize that this is not a new idea and cite Lawrence of Arabia as the premier exemplar of its effective application. But, in the post–Cold War era, they suggest the approach has been ignored. What is new here is their proposed framework that “will allow the intelligence analyst” to provide “commanders with an operational-level assessment of how internal warfare is conducted by modern warriors.” To achieve this goal, they identify six key questions to be answered using an “interdisciplinary approach anchored in historical, anthropological and cultural studies.” (37)

The six questions are framed in conventional terms: concept of warfare, command and control, area of operations, targets, constraints, and role of outside actors. The answers, they suggest, may be found by analyzing clans and tribal actions in the unconventional wars fought in Somalia, Chechnya, Afghanistan, and Iraq. Out of this come six unsurprising “lessons learned…fundamental principles…indispensable prerequisites.” (269) For example: know in detail the tribal traditions and clan relationships; recognize that conventional constraints on the use of force on noncombatants don’t apply. They are significant because the case studies make clear the penalties for ignoring them. Put another way, Insurgents, Terrorists and Militias leaves no doubt that knowing today’s enemies is essential to national survival.

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General Intelligence

Len Scott and R. Gerald Hughes, Intelligence, Crises and Security Prospects and Retrospects (New York: Routledge, 2008), 268 pp., end of chapter notes, index.

The 11 articles by 14 contributors in this volume are based mainly on papers given at a conference at the University of Wales in 2005. While the title of this volume does not convey a theme, the preface suggests that it might be the changes necessary in the processes of estimative intelligence in an era of a “new constitutional order.” (x) Leaving aside the ambiguity of the term “new constitutional order,” none of the articles discuss the concept nor suggest reasons for changing estimative processes. A better characterization may be found in the stated aim of the conference itself, “a critical evaluation of the role of intelligence in relations between states, and to explore what lessons might be drawn from a variety of case studies for the contemporary exploitation and management of secret intelligence.” (3)

The first article summarizes the subsequent contributions. They include interesting historical studies of how intelligence served the British during 1877–78, 1922, 1938, and the Yemen Civil War, 1962–64. Studies of intelligence and counter-insurgency in Morocco and Syria after WW I complete the historical lessons presented. The later chapters are focused on contemporary topics and include one that, according to the editors, “emphasizes the potentially crucial importance of open sources that are frequently neglected,” a topic barely mentioned in the article. What the chapter does do is use open sources to provide an insightful critique of the post-9/11 changes affecting intelligence analysis, organization, and management (for example, why a DNI?). The chapter on CIA covert action “and the abuse of human rights,” which deals with the Gladio stay-behind networks in post-WW II Europe, lacks any relevance. The author of that chapter makes no attempt at objectivity or documentation before concluding: “the CIA should not be engaged in terrorism” or operate prisons that “share features of the Soviet Gulag.” (126) Among the other chapters, one that is very interesting deals with the intelligence services of neutral states, Switzerland in this case. Two valuable contributions assess the role of legislative oversight and accountability in relation to intelligence. The topic of deception is covered in an article by a former Israeli intelligence officer—the only contributor with operational intelligence experience—who uses the Yom Kippur War as an exemplar. What is absent from this collection is a summary chapter that relates the articles to the overall aim or theme. This difficult task is left to the reader.

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Martin Thomas, Empires of Intelligence: Security Services and Colonial Disorder After 1914 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2008), 428 pp., endnotes, bibliography, photos, index.

Long before he was hailed as “Lawrence of Arabia” by American journalist Lowell Thomas, intelligence officer T. E. Lawrence “had dreamed of bringing about self-government for the Arabs.”[5] That this did not occur after WW I, despite his heroic efforts, was for Lawrence a major disappointment. For imperial Britain and France, however, it was a singular victory that needed only to be consolidated by sound, traditional colonial government. Empires of Intelligence—more accurately meaning Empires and Intelligence—chronicles attempts by both nations to impose this result through what British author Martin Thomas calls an “intelligence state.” He defines this concept to embrace domestic security elements, including the police, that collect and analyze information and, if necessary, act to counter domestic conditions that could adversely affect political stability and imperial control during the inter–war period.

Thomas compares French intelligence operations in Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, and Syria with those of the British in Iraq, Palestine, Transjordan, Egypt, and Sudan. In the process he shows how each country drew on its colonial governing experience to penetrate the indigenous societies and gather the information necessary to achieve “consensual rule” (4) and to control political participation. The first chapter discusses the social background, training and field experience of the personnel assigned intelligence or security tasks. Subsequent chapters are devoted to specific French and British intelligence and security operations in their respective colonies as they attempted to deal with political instability and revolts by urban elements and the nomadic Bedouins. He argues persuasively that the revolts were not a consequence, as some claimed, of “external manipulation,” (300) but rather the result of growing domestic anticolonialism to which insufficient heed was paid.

Thomas’s extensively detailed and well-documented analysis concludes that the inevitable failure of colonialism was in part a result of the inability of the “intelligence state” to accomplish unrealistic goals. Similarly, it suggests lessons that apply in today’s operations in the same regions. Western political norms cannot be imposed on Arab nations. Empires of Intelligence is a fine example of what can happen when history is either forgotten or ignored.

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Nigel West, Historical Dictionary of World War Two Intelligence (Lanham, MD: The Scarecrow Press, 2008), 306 pp., bibliography, chronology, index.

Nigel West’s fourth contribution to the Scarecrow Press Historical Dictionary intelligence series continues his precedent of providing a fine bibliographic essay, an index he creates himself, and an absence of source notes.[6] Unfortunately, the essay itself is not indexed, but the dictionary entries include most of the books and individuals discussed.

There are entries for most of the WW II belligerents, though there is no mention of the contributions of Australia or Belgium. Similarly, some of the major atomic spies—the Rosenbergs, Ted Hall, Klaus Fuchs to name a few—are excluded, as are key OSS officers and operations in China. As might be expected, there is some duplication. For example, the Cambridge spies, the Double Cross operation, and VENONA have appeared in the other volumes in the series, although with less detail here. But most topics, for example, the WW II intelligence services of Argentina and Brazil, have not been covered before.

In sum, this useful but not comprehensive treatment leaves many topics for future volumes.

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Colonel Dinh Thi Van, I Engaged in Intelligence Work (Hanoi, Vietnam: The Gioi Publishers, 2006), 252 pp., endnotes, photos, no index.

After the French defeat at Dien Bien Phu in June 1954, the Vietnamese government expanded its Intelligence Bureau (IB) and began sending officers to the South to report on French and ultimately American military operations. Dinh Thi Van, a married provincial party worker, was surprised and honored when she was suddenly assigned to the IB and instructed to learn “the enemy’s strategic schemes, what is new about their military assistance and their equipment, and how the U.S. forces became involved in Vietnam.” (3) To accomplish this goal, she first convinced her husband to “agree to a remarriage” and begin a new life without her. After training, she was sent south to begin her mission. In I Engaged In Intelligence Work she tells of her day-to-day experiences, which included communication problems, an “urgent mission” to determine what the enemy knew about NVA forces in Laos, recruiting agents in the South, and talking her way to freedom after being arrested. The final chapter describes her role in the Tet offensive (1968) after which she continued to operate until the US withdrawal in 1975.

Sadly, she gives few details about what she did. The translated narrative is a bit awkward, but the message is clear: the North Vietnamese were dedicated to achieving victory no matter what the price in human life. Moreover, the US military never adapted to the consequences of that motivation, if perceived. Neither did it understand the extent to which the IB penetrated the South Vietnamese Army and society to keep the North Vietnamese apprised of the situation. Colonel Dinh tells a moving personal story that at the same time illustrates the problems of countering the effectiveness of an ideologically motivated enemy working to protect the homeland.

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Gary Kern, The Kravchenko Case: One Man’s War On Stalin (New York: Enigma Press, 2007), 650 pp., endnotes, bibliography, photos, index.

With, A Death In Washington: Walter G. Krivitsky and the Stalin Terror, Russian scholar and linguist, Gary Kern, set the gold-standard for defector case studies.[7] Besides adding much to what Krivitsky said in his 1939 memoir, In Stalin’s Secret Service, Kern explained the circumstances of his “suicide” in a Washington hotel.[8] Krivitsky’s case set a precedent for Soviet defectors to the United States: once granted asylum, they were debriefed, urged to find a job, applied for citizenship, helped to write a book, and then sought obscurity to avoid Soviet retaliation. In The Kravchenko Case Kern shows how Victor Kravchenko followed this precedent in all respects but the last; obscurity was not for him. He had messages to deliver.

Kravchenko’s case differs from Krivitsky’s in three other major respects: he was not a Soviet intelligence officer; he was a member of the Soviet elite assigned to the Soviet Purchasing Commission in Washington, DC; and he had planned his defection before leaving the Soviet Union. At least that is how he explained his motivation to the FBI and the public. Kern finds no basis to question him on this score. Kern tells the story in 13 long and detailed chapters. The first describes Kravchenko’s origins in the Ukraine, his family background, education, marriages, and often stormy work and party relations. He pays particular attention to his gradual realization that the social conditions created under Stalin, especially the purges and collectivization, were vastly different from the party propaganda that was accepted by the world. Opposition from inside would guarantee at least a trip to the Gulag—thus his clever plan to defect.

In succeeding chapters, Kern covers Kravchenko’s first contacts with Americans who might help him defect, the 1944 defection itself, his decision to go public, and the writing of his first book, I Choose Freedom—a worldwide best seller.[9] The intense and loud Soviet response to the book charged, inter alia, that Kravchenko was a wartime Red Army deserter (not true) and that he did not write the book, also untrue, although he had a ghost translator/editor. All this led to a trial in France, with Soviet witnesses, which Kravchenko won. He then wrote his second book, I Choose Justice.[10] With profits and a reputation from both books, Kravchenko pursued a capitalist-socialist dream in Peru. After initial success, he ran out of funds and returned to the United States in the 1960s in a failed effort to raise money. He died, officially, by his own hand, on 26 February 1965.

Kern adds depth and detail to each period and principal event of Kravchenko’s life. Based largely on archival material, letters, and interviews with those who knew Kravchenko, Kern briefly tells of those who helped or influenced him, almost always in very trying circumstances—writers Isaac Don Levin and Eugene Lyons are premier examples. Kern adds accounts of the world events that shaped Kravchenko’s decisions, the KGB operations against him, and the agents who reported on him (some putative friends), his obstreperous behavior, his family and marriages, his relations with the media, and his contacts with Congress and the FBI.

In the end, readers are likely to infer two questions. First, did Kravchenko commit suicide or did the KGB finally get its man? Second, is there contemporary relevance here? Kerns concludes suicide is most likely but presents curious details that leave room for doubt. He doesn’t comment directly on the second question, but the case has genuine counterintelligence value, since defector handling is still a challenge and Kravchencko’s experiences are valuable precedents. The Kravchenko Case is exhaustive, though not exhausting.

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Ian Pefenningwerth, A Man Of Intelligence: The Life of Captain Theodore Eric Nave, Australian Codebreaker Extraordinary (NSW, Australia: Rosenberg Publishing Pty Ltd., 2006), 304 pp., endnotes, bibliography, photos, index.

The 1991 book Betrayal At Pearl Harbor: How Churchill Lured Roosevelt, coauthored by James Rusbridger and Captain Eric Nave (RN, Ret.), revealed that Nave, a Japanese linguist assigned to the Royal Navy in Singapore, helped break the Japanese Naval code JN-25A.[11] The book went on to claim that this breakthrough enabled the British to learn well before 7 December of Japanese plans to attack Pearl Harbor. Even more startling, the authors wrote that Nave knew Winston Churchill had been informed and that Churchill declined to tell President Roosevelt in order to get America into WW II. Betrayal At Pearl Harbor was published in the United States after several respectable British houses turned it down. The conspiracy theorists gave it serious reviews, but code expert David Kahn, among others, attacked it for its many errors of fact and the lack of evidence supporting the principal claim.[12] Nave denied the role attributed to him in later interviews, but after he died in 1992 at the age of 94, the controversy continued.

A Man Of Intelligence, a biography of Nave’s impressive career, sets the record straight. Author Ian Pefenningwerth shows that Rusbridger, a convicted felon and fantasist journalist in desperate need of money, wrote the critical parts of the book without consulting Nave. Using Australian and British naval records, Pefenningwerth shows that Nave was not even assigned to Singapore at the time Rusbridger claims the Japanese code was broken. Moreover, the code mentioned in the book, JN-25A, was not the one that would have carried the critical intelligence. He also shows that Nave was a brilliant code breaker whose WW II service included assignments in Australia’s signals intelligence bureau and later in MacArthur’s Central Intelligence Bureau in Brisbane. After the war, Nave helped establish Australia’s Defense Signals Bureau and later served in the Australian Security Intelligence Organization (ASIO), analogous to the FBI.

A Man Of Intelligence will be ignored by conspiracy devotees, but accepted with gratitude by intelligence historians and clear-thinking readers.

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Ion Mihai Pacepa, Programmed to Kill: Lee Harvey Oswald, the Soviet KGB, and the Kennedy Assassination – The Training of a Dedicated Agent (Chicago: Ivan R. Dee, 2007), 349 pp., endnotes, index.

In his first book, Ion Pacepa told of his life as a Romanian intelligence officer who achieved high rank and worked closely with the KGB before defecting to the United States in the late 1970s.[13] The present work applies his knowledge of KGB operational tradecraft to the case of Lee Harvey Oswald to determine whether Oswald was a KGB agent. As the title suggests, Pacepa is convinced Oswald was recruited. He concludes that Oswald most likely succumbed to a clever honey trap when he served with the US Marines in Japan, where he provided secret details about the U-2 and became a dedicated communist. After his discharge from the Marines, Pacepa says, Oswald made a “secret trip” to Moscow, which became public when he unexpectedly renounced his US citizenship and demanded to remain in the Soviet Union. Whether Oswald’s story, up to this point, was contrived by the KGB is not clear, but, according to Pacepa, he was later trained in the use of microdots and as a marksman before being dispatched on an assassination mission in the United States. Oswald’s marriage and dissatisfaction with life in the Soviet Union were part of his cover story to explain his return to to the United States, where he was handled by a KGB illegal. When Khrushchev decided not to conduct any more foreign assassinations, Oswald was ordered to stand down, but he declined and decided to show the Soviets what he could do by assassinating President Kennedy. Jack Ruby was then instructed to kill Oswald to keep him quiet, according to Pacepa.

What evidence does Pacepa provide for his imaginative story? Only his analytical skills and his experience with the KGB. The book is filled with terms like “must have,” “could very possible have,” and “of course, there is no way of knowing.” It also fails to account for Oswald’s frequent statements while in the service that he was a Marxist. They were so frequent, in fact, that Pacepa claims Oswald’s Marine buddies nicknamed him Oswaldovich. Equally baffling is Oswald’s retention of a security clearance in the mid-1950s, when, by most accounts, anyone openly espousing Marxist views would have lost his clearance and been dismissed from the service.

An equally likely explanation for Pacepa’s version is what R.V. Jones called Crabtree’s Bludgeon: “No set of mutually inconsistent observations can exist for which some human intellect cannot conceive a coherent explanation, however complicated.”[14] Programmed to Kill presents a conceivable explanation of Kennedy’s assassination, but it is also implausible. Pacepa doesn’t connect the dots, he adds new ones. A health warning is warranted.

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Gordon Thomas, Secrets and Lies: A History of CIA Mind Control and Germ Warfare (Old Saybrook, CT: William S. Konecky Assoc. Inc., 2007), photos, index.

In his 1999 book, Gideon’s Spies, British journalist Gordon Thomas made the never documented claim that a Mossad agent, codenamed MEGA, had penetrated the Clinton White House to spy on the president.[15] In the present work, a revision of an earlier book on the same subject, he alleges that the CIA worked to perfect “the ultimate killing machine: germ microbes.”[16] As to sources, he refers to 22,000 never-before-published documents relating to CIA programs, but he doesn’t identify one from that group that supports his allegation. He also cites interviews, depositions, and affidavits but does not relate them to specific events. There are no endnotes! None of these sources is linked to Thomas’s sensational charges, among them that the CIA murdered Frank Olson and Dr. Sidney Gottlieb and that Richard Helms planned to have Frank Olson murdered. He does include photos of documents dealing with the CIA’s MKULTRA program, but these were all given to congressional committees in the 1970s and have nothing to do with murder. The photos also reproduce an “assassination plan” that the author alleges was written by Gottlieb, but the pages are undated and do not identify an author or any organizational association. Thomas claims to have been an acquaintance of the late CIA officer William Buckley, who was killed while held as a hostage by terrorists in Lebanon, and attributes quotes to him extensively in support of some charges, but he offers no corroboration. Buckley’s colleagues will find most of these assertions spurious. No doubt anti-CIA conspiracy theorists will delight in this book. Scholars and other serious students of intelligence may ignore it without penalty.

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Graeme Hunt, Spies And Revolutionaries: A History of New Zealand Subversion (Auckland, NZ: Reed Books Ltd., 2007), 352 pp., endnotes, bibliography, appendix, photos, index.

The spread of Bolshevik communism began in 1919. It eventually exported espionage and subversive operations to New Zealand as it did most other countries. With some activist exceptions, New Zealanders, however, paid little attention to hints of communist subversion. As journalist Graeme Hunt explains, even in 1969 “it was fashionable to dismiss the Cold War as American propaganda.” (8) With the collapse of the Soviet Union and the release of documents by the US and Russian governments, Hunt realized that “the fear many Western leaders [including New Zealand’s] shared of communism in the 1940s to the 1970s was not exaggerated.” (9) Spies And Revolutionaries recognizes this reality and adds historical perspective by discussing spying and subversion in New Zealand from the start of its European settlement to the present.

The first three chapters cover foreign and domestic threats to New Zealand’s stability. In the former category he includes political actions by the Fenians, as well as French, Russian, Japanese movements, and inevitably Marxism. The latter is typified by the indigenous Maori and other insurgencies. The six succeeding chapters cover the post-WW I Red Scare and the spread of Soviet subversion that led to the formation of the New Zealand Security Services, which Hunt covers in considerable detail. The chapter entitled “Trinity’s Traitor” adds new material on Paddy Costello, one of the lesser known “Cambridge spies,” “who became the most important New Zealand spy recruited by the Soviet Union.” (168) It was Costello, serving in New Zealand’s Paris embassy, who provided New Zealand passports to Americans Peter and Helen Cohen (aka KROGER) that allowed them to serve as KGB illegals in Britain as part of the Molody espionage network. Hunt adds new details on this episode, including photos of the passports.[17] Of nearly equal importance to Costello were two other New Zealanders who became Soviet agents, Ian Milner and Bill Sutch. Milner, a Rhodes Scholar, eventually defected to Czechoslovakia.[18] Sutch, once a member of the government, stood trial but was not convicted. Hunt presents new data that support his guilt. The many other cases described, most seldom mentioned in the literature of espionage, leave no doubt that the Soviets penetrated New Zealand politically as long and as thoroughly as other Western targets.

The final two chapters discuss terrorism in New Zealand, including the Rainbow Warrior attack, a case linked to 9/11, and the impact on security of the revelation that “New Zealand had been used as a base by people wanting to learn about or make weapons of mass destruction.” (288) Spies And Revolutionaries is well documented, well written, and well worth reading.

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John C. Schmeidel, Stasi: Shield and Sword of the Party (New York: Routledge, 2008), 208 pp., endnotes, bibliography, appendix, index.

Soon after the fall of the Berlin Wall, the files of the former Ministerium für Staatssicherheit (MfS), Stasi for short, were gradually opened to the public. As onetime officers, agents, and informants were identified, many were interviewed, and they added important corroboration to the data in the files. The result has been a series of Stasi studies; John Schmeidel’s book is the latest and compares favorably with Mike Dennis’s, The Stasi Myth and Reality.[19] In six well-documented chapters, Schmeidel covers the Stasi’s origins and principal players, the politics that dominated the organization, the tradecraft employed to recruit the massive domestic informant system that penetrated every aspect of society including educational institutions at all levels, churches, and cultural organizations—formal and informal—and the very successful foreign espionage operations. The final chapter examines the links between the Stasi and various terrorist groups.

Schmeidel’s book contains some relatively minor differences with the Dennis book. One concerns the definition of the term Inoffizielle Mitarbeiter (IM), which Schmeidel translates as “unofficial colleague,” whereas Dennis uses “unofficial collaborator.” Both books discuss the many variations of IMs the Stasi defined and since these included informers pressured into cooperation, “colleague” has a positive connotation that really doesn’t apply. “Collaborator” is more neutral and is the better term. Similarly, both mention many counterespionage cases to illustrate points. In Schmeidel’s analysis of the Popov and Penkovskiy cases, he refers to them as “walk-in defectors,” (8) although neither defected. Later, he adds that Penkovskiy “made two walk-in attempts to offer his services to the Americans at the embassy in the heart of Moscow,” something he never did.[20] (110) Finally, Schmeidel does not accept Markus Wolf’s moral equivalence argument that officers and agents of the foreign intelligence element of the Stasi, the HVA, should not be damned by the reputation of the domestic security elements. (110)

Overall, Stasi is a thorough, though not definitive, and generally well-sourced treatment of the MfS that illustrates the ultimate futility of using a secret police force to preserve a dictatorship.

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[1]Time, 14 February 2005.

[2]Deception, 22–23. The source cited by Frantz and Collins, Khan’s official biography by Zahid Malik, A. Q. Khan and the Islamic Bomb (Islamabad: Hurmat, Publications, 1992), is unreliable according to Deception. No sources permitting resolution of the differences are cited in any of the books.

[3]Chapter 7, located on the web www.thenuclearjihadist.com. Some endnotes are included in the book.

[4]Armstrong and Trento, America and the Islamic Bomb, 230.

[5]Jeremy Wilson, Lawrence of Arabia: the Authorized Biography of T. E. Lawrence (London: Heinemann, 1989), 543.

[6]The other three are on international intelligence, British intelligence, and Cold War counterintelligence.

[7]Gary Kern, A Death In Washington: Walter G. Krivitsky and the Stalin Terror (New York: Enigma Books, 2004).

[8]Walter G. Krivitsky, In Stalin’s Secret Service: An Expose of Russia’s Secret Policies By the Former Chief of Soviet Intelligence in Western Europe (New York: Harper and Brothers, 1939).

[9]Victor Kravchenko, I Choose Freedom: The Personal and Political Life of a Soviet Official (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1946).

[10]Victor Kravchenko, I Choose Justice (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1950).

[11]New York: Summit Books.

[12]David Kahn, Cryptologia 15 (1991): 287.

[13]Lt. General Ion Mihai Pacepa, Red Horizons: Chronicles of a Communist Spy Chief (Washington, DC: Regnery Gateway, 1987).

[14]R. V. Jones, Reflections on Intelligence (London: Heinemann, 1989), 88.

[15]Gordon Thomas, Gideon’s Spies: The Secret History of the Mossad (London: Macmillan, 1999).

[16]Gordon Thomas, Journey Into Madness: Medical Torture and the Mind Controllers (London: Bantam Press, 1988).

[17]For a discussion of the Molody network and the ultimate fate of the Cohens, see Christopher Andrew and Oleg Gordievsky, The KGB: The Inside Story of Its Foreign Operations From Lenin to Gorbachev (London: Sceptre, 1991), 444ff.

[18]Richard Hall, The Rhodes Scholar Spy (Milsons Point, NSW: Random House Australia, 1991).

[19]Mike Dennis, The Stasi: Myth and Reality (London, UK: Longman, 2003). See Hayden Peake, “Intelligence Officer’s Bookshelf, Studies in Intelligence 47, no. 4 (2003). For another recent product of research in Stasi files see Beatrice de Graaf, “West -Arbeit (Western Operations): Stasi Operations in the Netherlands, 1979–89” in Studies in Intelligence 52, no. 1 (2008).

[20]For the full story of Penkovskiy’s attempts to contact the West see, Jerrold Schector and Peter Deriabin, The Spy Who Saved the World (New York: Scribner, 1992).

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