Thursday, September 30, 2010


The term applied to the period of superpower confrontation between the end of World War II and the  collapse of the Soviet Union in 1992. The conflict was marked by small regional wars conducted by proxy, primarily in Africa and Southeast Asia, and a continuous engagement of Eastern Bloc intelligence agencies against their NATO adversaries. The opening salvo of the Cold War in the intelligence field is often considered to have been the defection in September 1945 of cipher clerk Igor Gouzenko, who revealed the  existence of a wide-scale Soviet espionage offensive. Thereafter, the West’s objective was to monitor the  deployment of Warsaw Pact forces so as to predict accurately the scale of any threat. Clandestine operations, including the construction of the Berlin tunnel and the development of an aerial reconnaissance capability—first  dependent on aircraft, then on sophisticated  satellites—were intended to give sufficient warning of any planned aggression so suitable countermeasures could be taken. Whereas United States policy, as articulated by President Harry Truman, had been to contain Soviet hegemony, President Ronald Reagan decided to  confront it and authorized massive military aid to Afghan resistance organizations that eventually succeeded in  forcing the Red Army into a humiliating withdrawal in February 1989. The Cold War effectively came to an  end in November 1989 with the election of a non-Communist government in Poland and the destruction of the Berlin Wall.


Born in Alexandria, Egypt, to orthodox Jewish parents, Eli Cohen attended Cairo University. He was arrested in 1952 when a series of bombs detonated outside American businesses in Alexandria. This episode became a  political scandal in Israel when it emerged that the defense minister, Pinhas Lavon, had personally authorized the attacks to undermine American confidence in Egypt.
Cohen was expelled from Egypt in 1956 and, after undergoing training by the Mossad in Tel Aviv, was sent as an illegal to Syria, where he established himself in Damascus as a wealthy Arab businessman from Argentina, while reporting by radio on military targets and troop deployments on the Golan Heights. His transmitter was  eventually traced in January 1965 and he was arrested while on the air. Cohen was hanged in public in May the same year.


The procedure of deploying an agent, known as a “dangle,” close to an adversary in the hope that the target will  make a recruitment pitch and thereby develop into a double agent.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


When the Central Intelligence Agency was created in 1947, the organization’s operations branch was designated the Directorate of Plans, and in 1975 was renamed the Directorate of Operations, but internally it has always  been known as the Clandestine Service.


The code name given by the Sicherheitsdienst (SD) to Elyesa Bazna, who photographed documents taken from the safe of the British ambassador in Ankara in 1943. Employed as a valet, Bazna evaded detection and resigned from his post before he was identified as a German spy. After the war, he was imprisoned in Turkey for
passing the counterfeit Bank of England notes with which he had been paid. He was later to write his memoirs, I Was Cicero, as did his SD handler, Ludwig Moyszisch (Operation Cicero). Bazna died in 1971. His role was played by James Mason in the movie Five Fingers.


Probably more than any other politician of his era, Winston Churchill understood how to exploit, and benefit from, secret intelligence. His experience as a London Times correspondent in  South Africa made him aware of the importance of timely and accurate intelligence, and his appointment as home secretary in 1910 gave him his first access to the classified reports drawn up by MI5. As first lord of the admiralty Churchill saw at first hand the impact of the cryptographic breakthroughs achieved by the code breakers of Room 40, who were his ministerial responsibility. The Admiralty’s success in reading many of the enemy’s communications, and the Royal Navy’s development of intercept and direction-finding techniques, severely handicapped the kaiser’s  fleet and allowed his Zeppelin airships to be intercepted by British fighters.
Perhaps more significantly, the coup of supplying the Americans with the key to the German diplomatic cipher  so they could read the content of the Zimmermann telegram for themselves proved to be a turning point in the war and led to the entry of the United States into the conflict in 1917.
As well as appreciating the need for secret intelligence and the importance of protecting its often fragile  sources from compromise, Churchill enjoyed the company of those who worked in the shadows and understood the advantage their inside knowledge gave him. During the interwar period, he came to rely  heavily on a Secret Intelligence Service officer, Desmond Morton, and Churchill’s campaign to rearm Great Britain stemmed largely from his access to SIS assessments of the growing military threat from the Nazis.
Although many in the British intelligence community were deeply suspicious of Churchill and his motives, he  was quick to grasp the potential significance of the early research undertaken on the Enigma machine, and when he was elected prime minister, Churchill insisted on a daily personal briefing from “C,” Stewart Menzies, so he could read a selection of the latest intercepts before they had been processed and sanitized.
Churchill would refer to the cryptanalysts at Bletchley Park as “the geese who didn’t cackle” and responded instantly when a group of senior staff complained to him about a lack of resources. Their ULTRA product gave the Allies a decisive advantage in sweeping the Afrika Korps from North Africa, in the Battle of the  Atlantic against the U-boats, and in the elimination of German surface raiders. While ULTRA may not have won World War II, it certainly shortened the conflict by as much as two years, and Churchill’s determination to protect its integrity, while extracting the maximum from it, was critical.


In 1973 Senator Frank Church, a Democrat from Idaho, chaired a Senate committee that investigated allegations of misconduct by the Central Intelligence Agency based upon a document—the so-called family jewels—provided by the director of central intelligence, William Colby, which catalogued various abuses. Church described the CIA as a “rogue elephant,” an oft-quoted remark which he later regretted and withdrew.


Taiwan (Country Guide)The proximity of Taiwan to its principal adversary, the People’s Republic of China, has provided the National Security Bureau (NSB) with a large target since it was established in March 1955. Staffed by veterans of the Kuomintang, the Nationalist Chinese NSB had plenty of experience in combating Mao’s Communists and collaborated closely with the Central Intelligence Agency station in Taiwan. Together, the CIA and NSB  managed an overflight program of U-2 aircraft to monitor missile and atomic weapon tests, and a balloon project designed to drop propaganda leaflets across the Taiwan Strait.

Monday, September 27, 2010


When China Rules the World: The End of the Western World and the Birth of a New Global OrderChina’s principal foreign intelligence agency is the Ministry of State Security (MSS), an organization shrouded in mystery until the defection of Yu Zhensan in November 1986. Since his debriefing, much more has become
known about the MSS, its concentration on technology transfer, and its exploitation of ethnic Chinese across the world. It seems that the MSS’s operations, which are organized very unconventionally, tend to be dependent on recruits of Chinese ancestry and rely on a concept of obligation, rather than any financial or  ideological motivation. Instead of running operations from diplomatic premises like most of its counterparts, the PRC tends to manage its activities centrally, from Beijing, and makes extensive use of ethnic expatriate Chinese communities.
Uniquely, the MSS takes full advantage of a Chinese cultural tradition known as guanxi, which is an effective  social relationship built on personal favors, gifts, undertakings, and obligations. Guanxi is really a network of  social contacts built on interpersonal relations that have been cultivated over long periods, and the patrons  dispensing favors develop what could be described as a capital that can be called upon later. Thus in the Chinese system someone might readily go to considerable effort on behalf of an individual he or she has never  met, purely on the basis that an intermediary has made a demand on that accumulated capital. In China itself guanxi is an accepted route to circumvent the stifling bureaucracy to achieve a specific objective. In an espionage context, guanxi can be the key to access.
This distinctive methodology has the advantage of isolating diplomatic personnel from espionage, but it does make its agents very vulnerable to arrest and interrogation. However, there have been rare exceptions that may have served to fashion the MSS’s unusual tradecraft. In December 1987 Hou Desheng, the PRC military  attaché in Washington, D.C., and Zang Weichu, a consular official based in Chicago, were arrested in a Federal Bureau of Investigation sting as one of its informants, ostensibly with access to National Security Agency documents, handed them classified material in a Chinese restaurant. Both diplomats were expelled,  the first to be declared persona non grata since formal relations had been reestablished in 1979. The case illustrated the PRC’s interest in the NSA and appeared to confirm that, to some extent, the Chinese conformed to the orthodox Soviet and Western style of espionage, with “legals” operating under diplomatic cover to recruit potential agents. However, as the FBI was to discover, the example of Hou was more of an exception than the rule in Chinese intelligence collection.
The MSS concentrates on technology transfer, with a distinct focus on nuclear knowledge and illicit  acquisition of military equipment, rather than the collection of political information. In addition, the MSS appears to exercise total control over all aspects of the operations conducted by its agents, right down to the detail of companies operated as cover firms. A hallmark of MSS operations is their unorthodox construction, their highly ambitious objectives, the preference for personal meetings instead of using more routine tradecraft,
the absence of financial motives, and the participation of Chinese émigrés, often working under entirely  authentic business covers, such as restaurants, normally associated with Chinese expatriate communities. While such backgrounds might not, at first glance, give much opportunity for access, this is merely a function  of generation, and the real concern is that the next generation of the Chinese diaspora, with the advantage of  college education, is much more likely to find government jobs and employment in fields of great interest to the MSS. Add to this group the very large number of students from the PRC who have chosen not to return home at the conclusion of their studies, and a picture emerges of a very large pool of potential talent available for possible cultivation and maybe recruitment.
In the nuclear field, the evidence of Chinese espionage is overwhelming, although little effort was made by the Clinton administration to limit or monitor scientific exchanges with physicists from the PRC. An investigation conducted by the General Accounting Office in 1988 estimated that over the previous two years as many as a  hundred PRC scientists had been welcomed into U.S. weapons laboratories, and that information leaked from the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory outside San Francisco had contributed to the successful Chinese test of a neutron bomb in 1988.
In December 1993 a restaurateur, Yen Men Kao, was arrested at his home in Charlotte, North Carolina, and charged with conspiring to procure and export embargoed military hardware, including the U.S. Navy’s Mk 48 advanced capability torpedo, General Electric jet engines for the F/A-18 Hornet fighter, and the fire-control radar for the F-16 Falcon. The investigation into Kao lasted six years, and his organization succeeded in passing oscillators used in satellites to his PRC handlers, although this matériel had been sold for $24,000 by an FBI informant. Kao was never prosecuted, apparently to avoid upsetting Beijing at a sensitive period in Sino-American relations, but instead was deported to Hong Kong, leaving behind his wife, who
had become a naturalized U.S. citizen, and their two children. According to the FBI, Kao had been paid more than $2 million by PRC agents for the illicit procurement of embargoed technology, but this money had actually been used to feed his gambling addiction. A citizen of Hong Kong, Kao had first visited the United  States in 1971, claiming that he had a small import business there.
The FBI was tipped off to Kao’s espionage in 1987 by an Army veteran and private investigator in Charlotte, Ron Blais, who was approached by Kao to help him with his procurement projects as his grasp of English was poor. Blais was promised $100,000 for an example of the Mark 48 torpedo, and during a meeting in Beijing was offered a further $4 million for the F/A-18 engines. During the investigation into Kao, attention focused on Bin Wu, ostensibly a philosophy instructor from Nanjing who received a visa to study in Norfolk, Virginia, in 1990 but subsequently dropped from sight, only to emerge two years later as the proprietor of the  Pacific Basin Import-Export Company of Virginia Beach. His partner in the business was Li Jing Ping, a former PRC official in the Ministry of Finance who also ran Comtex International in the same town. Also linked to Comtex was Zhang Pin Zhe, a former PRC diplomat. In March 1992 the trio used their firms to buy military technology, such as image intensifiers from Varo, Inc., and export them to a purchaser in Hong Kong.
These transactions breached the export ban on sensitive military equipment and after a surveillance operation conducted by U.S. Customs, all three men were arrested in October 1992. They were convicted of money-laundering offenses in June the following year, and Wu received 10 years’ imprisonment.
Prior to the mid-1980s, the overt characteristic of Chinese espionage had been the relatively low-echelon effort made in the illicit procurement of banned matériel, a process known in the jargon as technology transfer, but in reality there had been an incident in the late 1970s that had gone unreported. The design of the W.70  nuclear warhead, used on the Lance missile, had been stolen from the Lawrence Livermore National  Laboratory and the FBI had identified an Asian-American suspect who was believed to have passed the data to the PRC, which had used it to develop a neutron bomb, subsequently tested successfully in 1988. On that  occasion no charges had been brought, through lack of evidence, and he was allowed to resign in 1981, but later he was monitored making several trips to the PRC, although again no action could be taken against him.
The news in April 1995 that the most recent series of Chinese nuclear tests, which had commenced in 1992, had benefited from American designs of advanced thermonuclear warheads served to reopen the 1981 investigation. Whereas the Soviets and Americans had conducted thousands of tests to achieve their  respective levels of sophistication, the Chinese had been monitored conducting only 45 such experiments since 1964, and their efforts had been handicapped by the excesses of the Cultural Revolution, which had removed  scientists from their laboratories and sent them to work in the fields.
However, according to a report written by two senior scientists, Larry Booth and Bobby Henson, the Chinese must have had access to the blueprints of the W.88, a miniaturized warhead created for the submarine-launched Trident D-5 missile system which was the most advanced in the U.S. arsenal. But how had the  Chinese acquired this highly secret information? A research group code-named KINDRED SPIRIT was empaneled to review the evidence, and it came close to reaching a consensus that the Chinese must have had foreign help when the CIA revealed that in 1995 a walk-in had produced a Chinese document dated 1988 that not only contained a comparative analysis of seven American nuclear weapons but also contained the most secret details of the W.88. When the authenticity of the document was verified, it amounted to  convincing proof that the Chinese had penetrated the U.S. weapons development program, and an intensive investigation followed. The consequence of the leak was that the Chinese had gained a 10-year leap in  research and would be able to deploy the warhead on the DF-31, a road-mobile intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) scheduled to enter service with the Peoples’ Liberation Army in 2002.
In 1996 a further study of Chinese nuclear espionage concluded that the compromised warhead technology included the W.87 (used on the Peacekeeper ICBM), W.78 (Minuteman III), W.74 (Trident  C-4), W.62 (Minuteman III), and the W.56 (Minuteman II), as well as high-performance supercomputers used to conduct simulated tests.
The only successful espionage prosecution concerning the loss of nuclear secrets to China was that of Dr. Peter Lee, which was linked to another, more notorious investigation, that of Dr. Wen Ho Lee. Combined with the Cox Report, which documented the Clinton administration’s unhealthy courtship of Beijing at the expense of America’s national security, the Lee case revealed the vulnerability of the Department of Energy’s (DOE) nuclear weapons facilities and proved beyond a doubt that the Chinese had achieved significant penetration at minimal cost. It also provided an opportunity for the release of some uncomfortable statistics  which hitherto had been hard to come by, the most recent published figure being a total, from 1978, of 25,000 official PRC delegations visiting the United States in a single year. Quite apart from the escalating numbers of official, overseas visitors to the country’s most important sites, it also revealed that 25 percent of the nuclear weapons development program’s employees from foreign countries came from Russia, China,  Iraq, Iran, India, Pakistan, and other places on the DOE’s list of sensitive countries.
As for sending vulnerable personnel overseas, technicians from the U.S.’s most secret weapons laboratories  routinely traveled abroad to attend academic seminars in some very high-risk destinations. Indeed, security and  counterintelligence appeared to be such a low priority that even the most fundamental measures to ensure the laboratories’ physical integrity had been overlooked. Wen Ho Lee had often slipped into the secure area at Los Alamos National Laboratory, even when he had lost his clearance, simply by “slipstreaming” through barriers with colleagues. Incredibly, no logs had been maintained on who had gained access to the security vaults or had removed the nation’s most precious secrets. Almost no attention had been paid to  recommendations of improvements to security procedures, and consequently the blueprints of at least seven American nuclear weapons had been received in Beijing.
As the FBI learned, the MSS regularly used the tactic of sponsoring visits from ethnic Chinese to their  homeland, and sometimes even to the villages of their families, and then asking them to attend, and speak at, scientific symposia where classified issues would be raised.
Having been softened up with reference to their ancestors and appeals to their ethnic loyalty, the target would then be pitched, and none too subtly. Numerous identical reports reached the security authorities of flattering behavior, followed by an unmistakable plea to help China’s research. Among those who acknowledged having succumbed inadvertently into the transparent strategy was George Keyworth, President Ronald Reagan’s chief scientific adviser, who had been tempted unwisely to expound on implosion principles as applied to the neutron bomb. In short, the Chinese pitched everyone indiscriminately, regardless of stature,  and the only suspicion really attached to those scientists who either failed to report the approaches or later denied they had taken place.


In November 1985 Chin, a naturalized American citizen, was arrested after a defector code-named PLANESMAN revealed that the veteran Central Intelligence Agency translator had been supplying CIA  secrets to the  People’s Republic of China (PRC). Chin had retired from the CIA in 1981 at age 63, having joined the Agency in 1952, and was believed to have sold information to the PRC for more than a million dollars over a period of 33 years, longer than any other spy known to have worked against the United States. Decorated for his distinguished service, Chin had been so highly valued by the CIAthat after his retirement the Agency had tried to persuade him to come back to work full-time.
Born in Beijing, Chin had worked for the U.S. Army’s liaison office in southern China in 1943 and then joined the U.S. Consulate in Shanghai as an interpreter. During his early career, he worked as an interrogator in 1952 for the State Department questioning Chinese POWs in Korea and with the Foreign Broadcast  Information Service (FBIS) in Okinawa. This had led to a FBIS posting in California and finally to an appointment as a CIA case officer based in Virginia.
With access to the CIA’s national intelligence estimates on China, he had met his MSS handlers on trips to London, Hong Kong, and Toronto and not only had compromised thousands of classified documents but had also betrayed the sources upon which the CIA had depended for information from inside the PRC. The sheer volume of the material he sent to Beijing required the MSS to take two months to translate and process it.
Chin, who claimed that his additional income was derived from a successful blackjack gambling method, was found to have maintained meticulous records and was challenged about his travel to China, in particular being questioned about a specific hotel room in which he had stayed, that was known to have been under the  control of the Ministry of State Security (MSS). Confronted with what appeared to be incontrovertible evidence against him, Chin offered to act as a double agent and was then invited to describe the extent of his contacts with the MSS. For just over an hour Chin elaborated on his espionage, mentioning that he had supplied the Chinese with sensitive CIA material relating to Henry Kissinger’s historic visit to Beijing in preparation for President Richard Nixon’s momentous change in U.S. foreign policy on China. After Chin completed his exposition, he was arrested, and his confession was the basis of his prosecution.
At his trial on 17 counts of espionage, the prosecution intended to show, with the aid of color charts, that Chin had influenced almost every facet of Sino-American relations over several decades. It was never established precisely when he was recruited by the PRC or the full extent of his substantial real estate investments. Certainly he had met his Chinese contacts in Toronto, Hong Kong, and London and had most recently kept a rendezvous with them in the Far East in March 1985.
Rather than face a long prison sentence after he was convicted by a federal jury in February 1986 of  espionage, conspiracy, and tax evasion, Chin suffocated himself in his cell in the Prince William County jail with a plastic garbage bag. His widow, suspicious as to why Chin had access to the shoelaces he used to  secure the bag around his head, later claimed in a book printed in Chinese and published privately that he may not have taken his own life. However, those who knew him well were sure that he anticipated two life terms, but was most frightened of losing all his rental properties, and killed himself before being sentenced to forfeit his assets, thus preventing the Internal Revenue Service from taking any action that would impoverish his  family.


During the long period of military rule between 1973 and 1990, Chile’s principal security and intelligence apparatus was the feared Dirección National de Inteligencia (DINA), which underwent a name change in 1977 after its personnel were implicated in the assassination in Washington, D.C., of the former ambassador, Orlando
Letelier. The new Centro National de Información (CNI) was dismantled with the restoration of democracy in 1990 and has been replaced by a domestic National Intelligence Service (NIS) and the Dirección de Seguridad Pública e Informaciones (DSPI), which fulfills a coordinating role for the Carabiñeros, the police and antiterrorist squads.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


Asenior member of the Communist Party of the United States of America (CPUSA) in Chicago, Childs and  his brother Jack had come to the United States from the Ukraine in 1911, changing their surname from Chilovsky. Both men became prominent in the Communist movement, and Morris’s first wife, Roz, was an NKVD agent who was later to appear in the VENONA traffic.
In 1954, as part of an operation code-named TOPLEV by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Morris Childs was approached by a special agent on the street in Chicago and invited to cooperate. Surprisingly, he agreed to do so, and for the next 30 years he, his brother Jack, and his second wife Eva Leib supplied detailed information from the heart of the CPUSA to their handlers. From April 1958 they made annual visits to Moscow to channel  Soviet  funds into the CPUSA, and in total received an estimated $30 million.
Never in good health, Childs had needed frequent medical care, and his hospital bill for one life-saving medical procedure was paid by the FBI when the CPUSA refused to do so, thereby earning his gratitude and loyalty. Code-named SOLO, the three traveled across the globe meeting other Communist leaders and  undertook more than 50 foreign visits, on which they submitted lengthy reports. The operation came to a conclusion in August 1980 with Jack’s death.
In their retirement in Miami in 1986, Morris and Eva were obliged to go into hiding in an FBI safe house in the suburb of Hallandale. Following Morris’s death in June 1991, author John Barron was authorized to write Operation SOLO, an account of their collaboration, which was published soon after Eva’s death in June  1995. Both men were awarded the Order of the Red Banner by the Soviets and the U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Ronald Reagan.


The nickname for La Niçoise, a French restaurant in Washington, D.C., which became the venue for a regular weekly lunch during the 1960s attended by Central Intelligence Agency veterans who took the opportunity to discuss their Soviet cases.


The appearance before the House Un American Activities Committee of  Elizabeth Bentley in 1947 prompted former Time journalist Chambers, who had confessed to having acted as a courier for a  Soviet spy ring, to give further testimony relating to Harry Dexter White and to name Alger Hiss as an agent. Having denied the  allegations, Hiss eventually was convicted of perjury.


Created in 1947, the Central Intelligence Agency was headed by the director of central intelligence (DCI) until 2005, when the title was changed to the director of the CIA to reflect the introduction of the new director of national intelligence. The Agency has been divided into three divisions, dealing with operations (once called Deputy Directorate of Plans), analysis (Directorate of Intelligence), and research (Directorate of Science and Technology). Based initially in Washington, D.C., the headquarters moved to Langley, Virginia, in November 1963 and now occupies many buildings both on and off the main campus. At the heart of the CIA is the  Clandestine Service, the traditional name of the Directorate of Operations (DO), headed by the deputy director of operations, who supervises the Agency’s collection effort. DO personnel are deployed abroad  either under official cover—usually diplomatic, consular, or military—or  non-official cover as businessmen and other expedients.
The CIA, as a deniable instrument of often undeclared White House policy, has undertaken numerous  operations in pursuit of goals set out in classified presidential national decision directives, and until the resignation of President Richard Nixon in 1974, the president’s authority to authorize the CIA’s intervention  on national security grounds went unchallenged. During the administrations of Harry S. Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower, and John F. Kennedy, the CIA was active in supporting non-Communist political parties in  election campaigns, undermining hostile foreign countries, and backing friendly governments. Among the  operations made public are the success of the Christian Democrats in Italy and coups in Guatemala,  Indonesia, and Iran.
Public embarrassment over the Bay of Pigs invasion in Cuba and, in May 1960, the loss of a U-2  reconnaissance aircraft served to highlight the potential for political blowback, but it was the revelation in 1974 that the CIA had conducted domestic surveillance operations in breach of its charter that resulted in the congressional investigations known as the  Pike Committee and  Church Committee. During those hearings, the CIA acknowledged a catalog of misconduct, including attempts to assassinate Fidel Castro, mind control  experiments, domestic surveillance of Vietnam War protestors, mail intercepts, and the incarceration of Yuri  Nosenko. These and other “skeletons,” including the PHOENIX program in Vietnam and evidence that contradicted earlier testimony given by Richard Helms concerning CIA operations in Chile, left the Agency’s reputation in tatters, but with the organization essentially still intact. The result was the introduction of comprehensive congressional oversight, which had the effect of relieving the DCI from any soul-searching  concerning the legitimacy of dubious instructions from the White House.
To the CIA’s continuing credit, to be balanced against the allegations of misdeeds, were the successes: the discovery of offensive missiles deployed in Cuba in October 1961; the recruitment of Oleg Penkovsky, Adolf Tolkachev, and several other Soviet sources who had tipped the Cold War in the West’s favor; and the recovery of  the Soviet submarine K-129 from the Pacific. The very fact that the Cold War never developed into a shooting conflict, apart from the proxy campaigns fought, with Third World surrogates, in Angola, Laos, Tibet, El Salvador, and Nicaragua reflects credit on the CIA, even if it failed to anticipate the invasion of  South Korea, the Hungarian uprising, the suppression of the Prague Spring, the Tet Offensive, the nuclear tests conducted by  India and Pakistan, 9/11, and the failure to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.
Inevitably the CIA has been a victim of political expediency, with Adm. Stansfield Turner reflecting President  Jimmy Carter’s appetite for technical sources of intelligence, in preference to enhancing the stable of human assets, thus leaving it to William Casey to restore the lost morale of the Clandestine Service, which had been decimated during his predecessor’s tenure as DCI. Then, having won the Cold War, the politicians were anxious to reap the “peace dividend” by dismantling Casey’s handiwork, thereby leaving the United States vulnerable to a surprise attack from an unexpected but impressively organized religious adversary. In the wake of the recriminations surrounding the Al-Qaeda attacks of 9/11 and the very flawed intelligence produced prior to the second Iraq War, the CIA was subordinated by an unnecessary Intelligence Reform Act to one of many collection agencies coordinated by the director of national intelligence.
Whether the associated wholesale restructuring improves the effectiveness of a CIA suffering from a  risk-averse culture remains to be determined.


A highly classified forum in which selected  counterintelligence personnel from Canada, Australia, the United States, New Zealand, and Great Britain met periodically to exchange counterintelligence information relating to the KGB and GRU. Created in 1964 by James Angleton, then the Central Intelligence Agency’s chief of counterintelligence, the CAZAB conference met periodically in different secure locations sponsored by the participating sponsoring agency. Membership of this exclusive group was governed by strict rules that excluded a candidate with a single blackball.
CAZAB’s existence was revealed publicly for the first time by Peter Wright in 1986 in  SpyCatcher, and when more was revealed by Stella Rimington in her memoir Open Secret, its name was changed.


Conventional distaste of the employment of women as agents in wartime and concern about placing them in great personal danger were exploited in October 1915 when a British nurse, Edith Cavell, was sentenced to death by  the German occupation forces in Belgium after she had confessed to assisting the escape of Allied soldiers to neutral Holland. Her execution by a firing squad created a worldwide revulsion and was a propaganda triumph  for the British.

Sunday, September 19, 2010


Fidel Castro: My Life: A Spoken AutobiographyThe charismatic leader of a land reform program in Cuba. Castro led his rebels into Havana in January 1959 and swiftly introduced a Marxist regime, with catastrophic economic consequences. Having originally enjoyed an  advantageous relationship with the Central Intelligence Agency while conducting guerrilla operations in the Sierra Madre mountains, Castro soon became a target for assassination, and attempts were made to recruit Mafia hit  men to administer botulism and a variety of lethal toxins. None of the plots succeeded, and following the Bay of  Pigs fiasco and the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, his future as the permanent leader of Cuba’s revolution was guaranteed. Castro was encouraged by the  Soviet Union to export Cuban military expertise to Nicaragua, El  Salvador, Bolivia, and Angola.


Casey: The Lives and Secrets of William J. Casey: From the OSS to the CIAAs a young naval lieutenant handicapped by poor eyesight, stagnating in the Office of Naval Procurement  dealing with the construction of landing craft during World War II, Casey used his connections with Washington law firms to get an invitation in late September 1943 to join the Office of Strategic Services  (OSS), where he was introduced to William Donovan. Casey, then age 29, and Donovan, age 60, were both the sons of Irish immigrants, devout Roman Catholics, and Wall Street lawyers and shared the same first and
second given names. Casey joined Donovan’s OSS secretariat, a group of other young well-connected  lawyers, but within a couple of months he had acquired a posting to London to run David Bruce’s secretariat. Soon after the D-Day landings, on D+19, Casey was at Bruce’s side as he stepped ashore in France on an inspection tour.
Casey acted as Donovan’s eyes and ears, visiting OSS units and writing reports. One such report was the  result of a study undertaken by an OSS committee, for which Casey had acted as secretary, into America’s postwar intelligence requirements. Casey drafted the document and then hand-delivered it to Donovan in  Washington for presentation to the president. Later to be dismissed as essentially a plea for OSS’s job security, the paper concentrated on the Soviet Union and the need to collect, collate, and distribute  intelligence—a crucial function of government that had been wholly neglected by the administration prior to  Pearl Harbor.
Upon his return to London, enhanced by a growing reputation as a blunt, impatient, and very sharp staff  operator with a direct line to Donovan, Casey prompted a new study, running to eight pages and completed on 12 October, on OSS’s role in running agents into Germany. Donovan then appointed Casey as the new  chief of OSS Secret Intelligence in Europe, and by March 1945 Casey’s first team, a pair of Belgian  Special Operations Executive (SOE) agents, was ready to be dropped into Kufstein in the Austrian Tyrol from Dijon in Operation DOCTOR. There followed more than a hundred missions which, according to his own after-action report dated 24 July 1945, divided up as 29 failures, 11 unknown, and 62 successes, with a casualty rate of 5 percent—which compared very favorably to SOE’s experiences in France or the attrition suffered  by Bomber Command, which was considered a standard benchmark for high-risk operations.
At the end of the war in Europe, Casey intended to go to the Far East, but his plans were dashed when the atomic bomb brought about the Japanese surrender. Casey, already a civilian, returned to the United States and resigned from the OSS in August 1945, thus narrowly avoiding having to share Donovan’s humiliation the following month when President Harry S. Truman signed the executive order to close the organization. Casey  returned to his law practice in Washington, D.C., and prospered, relying heavily on the many contacts he had developed during the war. Casey’s networking brought him plenty of business and ultimately brought him tremendous support behind the scenes as he took over the  director of central intelligence’s (DCI) desk at Langley on 28 January 1981 as President Ronald Reagan’s nominee, having received unanimous approval from Congress. One of his first actions upon his arrival was to place an autographed portrait of Donovan on the wall, leaving no doubt about how he wanted to run the Central Intelligence Agency, which, having had no less than five DCIs in the prior eight years, he believed lacked only strong leadership and a renewed sense of confidence.
During his first two years, Casey called on 23 station chiefs, cramming in 11 during one particularly hectic fortnight. Even in terms of political influence, the contrast with his predecessor, Adm. Stansfield Turner, could hardly have been more marked. Casey not only had instant and continuous access to the Oval Office but was also a member of Reagan’s cabinet. Unlike his predecessor, Casey became immensely popular with his troops, beguiling his station chiefs on his frequent whirlwind tours by calling informal staff meetings to introduce himself and whispering in his host’s ear, “How am I doing?” The easy Irish charm rarely failed to work its magic.
While Casey came to the DCI’s job with an agenda, his first task was to redirect the CIA onto what he considered to be the key strategic targets. On 24 February 1981, within four weeks of taking over, he proposed a new  covert action program to interdict the flow of weapons from Cuba and Nicaragua to the guerrillas in El Salvador.
President Reagan approved the new intelligence finding on 9 March and thus set in motion a plan to confront the Soviets around the globe. As far as Central America was concerned, Casey on 6 April produced a national intelligence estimate entitled Cuban Policy in Latin America, which acted to explain the new approach to policy makers and assert that the Sandinistas had expanded their ambitions and were now receiving aid from  Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Ethiopia, Vietnam, and the Palestine Liberation Organization.
However, the real catalyst was Casey’s visit to Panama in midJuly, when he realized that the Sandinistas had stepped up their subversion in the region. Some 70 Nicaraguan pilots had been dispatched to Bulgaria to undergo conversion courses on various models of MiG fighters, and it was known that Cuba had been  equipped with two squadrons of the impressive MiG-23 interceptor. Although banned by Congress from using federal funds to finance the Nicaraguan Contras, Casey found a way of circumventing the restrictions and channeling money to them from funds paid by the Iranian government for embargoed weapons. This  became known as the Iran-Contra scandal, but Casey succumbed to a brain tumor in January 1987 before he could be held to account by Congress.


A German naval officer who escaped from internment in  Chile during World War II, Canaris was appointed
chief of the Abwehr in January 1935. He proved an assiduous spymaster, and under his supervision extensive networks were developed in Great Britain and the United States and representatives were posted under diplomatic cover to most of the capitals of Europe. His organization grew very large, adopted the  Brandenburger Grenadier regiment as a military adjunct, and trained saboteurs to disrupt industry in the United States. Although personally an anti-Nazi, Canaris employed many zealous Nazis, but some of those closest to him were to be implicated in the 20 July 1944 plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler.
Prior to the invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941, Canaris disclosed details of the plan to his Polish mistress, Halina Szymanska, whom he knew to be in touch with Polish, and presumably therefore British, intelligence officers. Canaris was dismissed following the defection of Erich Vermehren and was arrested in the aftermath of the 20 July plot. He is believed to have been hanged at Flossenberg concentration camp in February 1945. After his death, rumors abounded about the extent of his contact with the Allies, but no cred-
ible evidence has emerged to support assertions that he held a wartime meeting with the British Secret  Intelligence Service chief Stewart Menzies in Spain. In February 1940 GRU defector Walter Krivitsky claimed to MI5 that Canaris has been on the Soviet payroll before the war, but again the allegation is  unsubstantiated.


Created in 1984 on the recommendation of a lengthy royal commission conducted by Justice David McDonald into allegations of abuses committed during a period of political unrest in Quebec, CSIS has acted as a Canadian domestic security apparatus with responsibility for screening employees, conducting investigations, and countering terrorism. The preference for so many émigré extremists to organize in the relatively benign, liberal cosmopolitan environment offered by Toronto and Montreal has led to a significant internal security problem posed by Croatian, Ukrainian, Sikh, and Punjabi extremists who have raised funds and planned atrocities with minimal interference.
The sabotage of an Air India jet over the Atlantic with the loss of 329 lives in June 1985 prompted a lengthy but inconclusive CSIS investigation into a Babbar Khalsa cell, illustrating the challenge presented by émigré terrorist groups.
Although widely regarded as a purely domestic agency, CSIS’s former director Ward Elcock disclosed to the Security and Intelligence Review committee that the organization had posted security liaison officers at diplomatic posts in nine unnamed countries abroad and has also deployed personnel under “non-official  cover.” Jim Judd was named as Elcock’s successor at CSIS in 2004.


Prior to World War II, Canada’s embryonic security and intelligence apparatus was limited to operations  undertaken by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) to monitor the activities of potential subversives and to infiltrate the Canadian Communist party.
Experience acquired from the covert surveillance conducted against radicals, usually émigrés, proved helpful when, during the war, the RCMP was called upon to engage in counterespionage against Nazi spies landed by U-boat. Two good double agent cases were run with guidance from MI5, and in 1946, as the RCMP  investigated leads originating from the  Soviet defector Igor Gouzenko, a  Special Branch was established.
The RCMP Special Branch was renamed the Directorate of Security and Intelligence in 1956, but in 1970, following the Mackenzie Commission Report, was reestablished as the RCMP Security Service. In 1984, following a royal commission conducted three years earlier by Justice David McDonald into allegations of  misconduct during the Quebec crisis in 1972, the Security Service was separated from the RCMP and absorbed into a new civilian organization, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service. During the McDonald Commission hearings, it had been alleged that during the  terrorist campaign conducted by the Front de  Libération du Quebec (FLQ) in 1970, the RCMP had intercepted mail without warrant, burned down a barn near Montreal suspected of having been an FLQ meeting place, and burgled offices to trace the FLQ’s  membership.
During World War II, Canada made a significant contribution to the Allied interception and decryption of Axis signals, and in June 1941 the Examination Unit of the National Research Council (NRC) employed the controversial American cryptographer Herbert O. Yardley to exploit enemy broadcasts that had been monitored by the Royal Canadian Signals Corps at Rockcliffe Barracks in Ottawa. Under Yardley’s supervision, the Examination Unit concentrated on Japanese broadcasts. In January 1941 he was replaced by Oliver Strachey, who had broken the Abwehr’s hand ciphers at Bletchley Park.
After the war the Examination Unit continued in its covert role as a cryptographic organization under the guise of the NRC’s Communications Branch. In 1975 it was moved to the Department of National Defence and became the Communications Security Establishment.
As a member of NATO and a party to bilateral agreements with the United States and Great Britain, Canada has played an active but not entirely reliable role in the West’s signals intelligence architecture. Prime Minister Lester Pearson’s refusal in October 1962 to allow Canadian personnel to assist the American enforcement of
the quarantine imposed on Cuba almost led to the loss of a crucial direction-finding contribution from Daniel’s Head, the Canadian wireless base in Bermuda, thereby undermining confidence in the Canadian commitment to the UKUSA partnership, which was enhanced by a separate CANUS agreement in September 1950.
During the Cold War, Canada’s other significant contribution to the intelligence community was to host two  SOSUS terminals, at Massett on Queen Charlotte Island and at Shelburne, Nova Scotia.


The Cambridge Five: A Very Brief HistoryFollowing his graduation from Cambridge University and a visit to Vienna, where he married Soviet agent Litzi Friedmann, Kim Philby was recruited by an NKVD  illegal, Otto Deutsch. On his recommendation his friend  Guy Burgess agreed to become a spy, and Burgess then approached Anthony Blunt, a don at Trinity College, and Donald Maclean, who had graduated from Trinity Hall in October 1934. Maclean joined the Foreign Office in 1935 and continued to supply information to his Soviet contacts until he was obliged to escape to Moscow in May 1951. Meanwhile Burgess, who graduated from Trinity College in 1935 and the following  year joined the BBC as a radio talk show producer, gravitated toward the Secret Intelligence Service.
Blunt acted as a “talent spotter” for the group and identified another Trinity College student, John Cairncross, as a potential member. Having excelled in both the Home and Foreign Civil Service examinations, Cairncross joined the Foreign Office in October 1936 and for a time shared an office in the Western Department with Maclean, unaware that he too had become a Soviet spy.
In 1940, having worked as a war correspondent in Spain and France for The Times, Philby joined the Special Operations Executive to train agents in propaganda techniques, having been suggested by Burgess, who was himself working for SIS’s Section D as an expert on broadcasting. In September 1941 Philby was transferred to the SIS, where he worked throughout the war as a signals intelligence analyst, studying the enemy’s  organization in the Iberian Peninsula.
At the end of the war, Philby, having established himself as an intelligence professional, in 1946 was posted to the SIS station in Istanbul. Three years later he was sent to Washington, D.C., where he learned that Maclean had become the focus of an MI5 investigation, based on VENONA texts, into the leakage of classified  documents from the British embassy in 1944. On his tip, Burgess conveyed a warning to Maclean, by then promoted to head of the Foreign Office’s American Department, and both men fled the country in May 1951.
Upon the disappearance of Burgess and Maclean, suspicion fell on Philby, who was interrogated and dismissed from the SIS in November 1951, and then onto Blunt. Blunt had joined the Intelligence Corps on the outbreak of war, and in 1940 had been recruited into MI5 but had gone back to academic life at the end of hostilities. Under suspicion following the defections of Burgess and Maclean, he eventually confessed, in return for an offer of immunity, in April 1964 to having spied for the Soviets since his recruitment by Burgess in 1935.
Blunt confirmed that he had recruited Cairncross, who had resigned from his post in the Ministry of Supply in 1951 when questioned about his prewar contacts with Burgess. Although on that occasion Cairncross had denied having passed classified information to Burgess from the Foreign Office, he had hemorrhaged secret documents to the Soviets when he was a junior diplomat, and later from the Cabinet Office and from Bletchley Park, where he had worked during the war as a linguist. In 1944 he had been assigned to the SIS,
and after the war had joined first the Treasury and then the Ministry of Supply.
Although popularly known as the “Cambridge Five,” only Burgess and Blunt had been recruited at the  university, and not all of them had been aware of the full extent of the spy ring—Cairncross was unaware that either Kim Philby, whom he had encountered briefly in the SIS, or his colleague Maclean was also a Soviet  spy.
When the evidence against Philby mounted, he was confronted in January 1963, and in return for immunity from prosecution, he supplied a bogus confession before vanishing from his home in Beirut, only to emerge years later in Moscow. While Philby, Maclean, and briefly, until his death in May 1963, Burgess maintained a miserable existence in Moscow, Blunt continued to live as an academic in London until his public exposure as a traitor in November 1979.


A method of compressing a signal and transmitting it in a short concentrated burst so as to avoid interception by direction-finding equipment. An example of a miniaturized device pioneered by the Central Intelligence Agency is the Discus.


When a  Central Intelligence Agency source has proved unreliable, a warning known as a Burn Notice is  distributed, alerting personnel with responsibility for the recruitment or running of sources not to have any further contact with that individual.


Independent from Great Britain since 1948, Burma was the scene of a bitter guerrilla war against the  Japanese, who occupied the entire country in 1941. Force 136 and the Office of Strategic Services armed and trained the fierce northern Karen, Kachen, and Mong tribesmen, who continued to campaign for their  autonomy. The military junta that took control of the country in 1988 and renamed it Myanmar has suspended the constitution and its leader, Gen. Khin Nyunt, has also headed the local security organization, the Directorate of Defense Services Intelligence (DDSI), since 1984. His appointment followed a terrorist attack, sponsored by North Korea, of a ceremony at the Rangoon Martyrs’ Memorial in October 1983 attended by the South Korean cabinet. Thereafter, the junta became heavily dependent on the National Intelligence Bureau and the DDSI.
General Nyunt was deposed in October 2004 in a major purge that removed 2,000 of his subordinates from  their posts, and much of the apparatus that had given him so much personal power was dismantled, restoring the role of military intelligence collection to the branches of the armed forces, known as the Tatmadaw.


The principal Federal German intelligence agency was established in the Munich suburb of Pullach in April 1956 under the leadership of Gen.  Reinhard Gehlen, and he ran the organization until his retirement in May 1968.
During the Cold War, the BND suffered penetration at the hands of the KGB, and in October 1961 Heinz Felfe, Gehlen’s trusted chief of counterintelligence and a former wartime Sicherheitsdienst officer, was convicted of having spied for the previous decade, and another mole, Hans Clemens, was also arrested. At their trial they  admitted to having passed films containing more than 15,000 classified documents to their Soviet handlers. In  1998 Dr. Hans-Georg Geiger was replaced as the BND’s president by Dr. August Hanning.

Friday, September 17, 2010


German Intelligence Agencies: Sicherheitsdienst, Stasi, Abwehr, Bundesnachrichtendienst, Sicherheitspolizei, Bundesamt Für VerfassungsschutzCreated in 1950 in Cologne under the leadership of Dr. Otto John, the Office for the Protection of the Constitution is the principle Federal German security agency responsible for domestic security,  counterin-
telligence, and counterterrorism. During the Cold War, the BfV was regularly  penetrated by the East German Hauptverwaltung Aufklärung (HVA). In August 1985 another senior officer, Hans-Joachim Tiedge, defected to East Germany and compromised many more current operations, prompting the BfV’s director, Herbert  Hellebroich, to be transferred to the Bundesnachrichtendienst  (BND), but after a month he was replaced by a career diplomat, Hans-Georg Wieck, a former ambassador in Moscow. In June 2000 the BfV’s director, Peter Frish, was replaced by Heinz Fromm.


During the Cold War, with the totalitarian dictator Todor Zhivkov in control of the country since 1956, the Street Without a Name: Childhood and Other Misadventures in BulgariaBulgarian Darzhavna Sigurmost (DS) was a feared security apparatus; RUMNO was its military counterpart. The DS, implicated in the assassination of Georgi Markov in September 1978 and an attempt on the life of Vladimir Kostov 10 days earlier in Paris, was dismantled in 1990 and replaced by a National Security Service, now headed by Gen. Atanas Atanasov, and a National Intelligence Service led by Gen. Dimo Gyanov


A soundproof environment—typically built of transparent Plexiglas and elevated off the floor—in which sensitive conversations may be conducted without fear of eavesdropping. There are many variations in design. Most premises, such as diplomatic missions, that are known to be the subject of hostile technical surveillance, are equipped with such enclosures.


The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy And Its Geostrategic ImperativesIn February 1980 President Jimmy Carter’s national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski visited Pakistan’s President Muhammad Zia Ul-Haq in Islamabad to restore relations that had become strained over the Carter administration’s suspension of aid in April 1979, following the discovery that Pakistan was developing an atomic bomb. Carter had been committed to nuclear nonproliferation, but the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in December had altered the regional geopolitics. During a visit to the Khyber Pass, Brzezinski offered a  resumption of economic and military aid, which was to amount to $3.2 billion, if the Pakistani authorities would allow a few of the two million Afghan refugees camped on their territory access to Chinese and Soviet weapons donated by the Saudis in a jihad, a holy war, against the Russian occupation. This event, supported by a presidential national decision directive, marked the beginning of a campaign that would drive the Red  Army from Afghanistan, act as a catalyst for the collapse of the Soviet Bloc, and ultimately embolden Muslim political extremism.
Taken to Canada at the age of three by his father, a Polish diplomat, Brzezinski was always committed to dismantling the Soviet Bloc and had warmed to his lifelong commitment that “there is no supranationalism in the Soviet Union” while preparing his dissertation at McGill University. He saw the crushing of the Prague  Spring in August 1968 as “the beginning of the end” and in his thesis, “Inability to Renovate,” he expanded on the same theme. As the U.S. national security adviser, Brzezinski saw détente as simply a method of getting Moscow to lower its guard and had masterminded numerous secret presidential findings, the most significant of which was a still-classified  covert action program aimed at the “delegitimization of the Soviet Union,” which involved detaching some of the component states by encouraging nationalism and separatism. As well as channeling money to émigré organizations, this policy also meant developing conduits into the most  vulnerable regions to fund dissidents and opposition groups.


Probably the most dangerous moment in the career of any spy is the moment when he or she is engaged in a  personal meeting with a case officer. To minimize the risk and keep the contact short, operational personnel are trained to undertake a brush exchange, where an item, perhaps microfilm or money, can be passed between the parties swiftly without any hesitation, mutual acknowledgment, or overt sign of what is happening.


The acronym for the security agreement concluded between Great Britain and the United States  in May 1943,  which set the terms of the Anglo-American exchange of cryptographic techniques and products, the reciprocal  cross-posting of liaison personnel, and the standardization of procedures. BRUSA was enhanced in the post-war era with UKUSA, signed in 1947.


The British Military Mission, created by treaty, allowed American and British occupation forces in Germany to move freely throughout the country for the purpose of observing the 400,000 Soviet troops stationed in the Soviet zone. Although the teams were small, amounting in total to just 32 unarmed officers and men, equipped with cameras but no radios, they roamed at will, limited only by “temporary restricted areas,” which had to be announced. By declaring such an area along the frontier with Poland in 1981, the Red Army attempted to exclude the BRIXMIS cameras and thereby inadvertently drew attention to armor and troops assembling in anticipation of an invasion.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


The wartime umbrella organization created in 1940 and located in New York to provide cover in the Western Hemisphere for the Secret Intelligence Service, MI5, Political Warfare Executive, and  Special Operations Executive. Located in Rockefeller Center on Fifth Avenue and headed by Canadian businessman William Stephenson, BSC conducted operations within the  United States to counter Nazi propaganda and bring pressure on the German-American Bund. It also ran agents against neutral diplomatic missions in Washington,
D.C., much to the dismay of the Federal Bureau of Investigation director, J. Edgar Hoover, and maintained security in ports visited by British shipping.
BSC played a significant role in influencing U.S. public opinion prior to Pearl Harbor through the supply of British propaganda to newspapers and radio commentators. This was achieved by the bribery of compliant journalists; the establishment of a news agency that provided low-cost, ostensibly independent reporting, especially to Jewish-owned newspapers; and the acquisition of a shortwave broadcast station to act as a platform for a pro-Allied viewpoint.
Other clandestine efforts included the dissemination of bogus public opinion polls and the harassment of  businesses trading with Germany. BSC’s remit terminated in 1945 and it was not replaced.


In August 1910 Royal Navy lieutenant Vivian Brandon and Royal Marines captain Bernard Trench were  arrested by the German police while undertaking a survey of the forts in Heligoland. They had already  completed one mission, to Kiel, the previous year, but on this occasion their photography of the fortifications
on the island of Wangerooge attracted the attention of the sentries, and they were taken into custody. Their arrest caused “rather a panic” at the War Office. The director of naval intelligence, Admiral Bethell, decreed that the Whitehall line would be complete disavowal: “We had ascertained that the two unfortunately were not military men, not connected in any way with any C.C. work. We knew nothing at all about them.” Bethell thereby established a position intended to protect the British government from the embarrassment of  association with officially sponsored espionage, and maybe offering the two defendants an opportunity to portray themselves as hapless, harmless tourists. However, the seizure of pictures of the Kaiser Wilhelm
Canal, Borkum, and Wilhelmshaven sealed the fate of the two officers at their trial in Leipzig in December 1910; they were each sentenced to four years of imprisonment. Although they admitted only to having been in contact with a naval intelligence officer named “Reggie” (actually the Naval Intelligence Division’s Capt. Cyril Regnart), Brandon and Trench were actually agents of Mansfield Smith-Cumming, code-named respectively BONFIRE and COUNTERSCARP. Brandon and Trench served their sentences in the fortresses of  Konigstein in Saxony and Glatz in Silesia, respectively, but were released in an amnesty to celebrate the marriage of the kaiser’s daughter to Prince Ernst Augustus, the Duke of Cumberland, and resumed their  normal duties upon their return home.


The son of a Federal Bureau of Investigation special agent, Boyce worked for TRW in California between
July 1974 and December 1976 and had access to highly classified satellite manuals. He stole dozens of secret documents, removed from a communications bunker, and handed them to his friend, Daulton Lee, who was a drug addict and acted as an intermediary with the KGB in Mexico. It was while Lee was attempting to  reestablish contact with the KGB at the Soviet embassy in Mexico City in January 1977 that he was arrested by the local police and discovered to be in possession of classified data. The FBI promptly arrested his accomplice, and Boyce admitted having compromised the Rhyolite and Argus satellite systems. In April 1977 Boyce was convicted of espionage and sentenced to 40 years’ imprisonment, but he escaped in January 1980 and remained a fugitive until August the following year. In April 1982 he received a further 20 years for 16  bank robberies that occurred while he had been on the run. In May 1977 Lee was sentenced to life imprisonment, having been  convicted on eight counts of espionage.


The acronym for the South African Bureau of State Security. BOSS acquired a reputation as an instrument of political repression, known to have conducted a “dirty war” against the military arm of the African National Congress (ANC) in Zimbabwe, Botswana, and Tanzania. BOSS waged a global campaign against the opponents of apartheid, and some of its operations were disclosed by Gordon Winter in Inside BOSS (1981).


On the island of Borneo, which was the focus of the jungle war fought against Indonesian insurgents between 1966 and 1968, British Special Forces developed tactics that were to transform military doctrine and provide the foundation for strategies later adopted in fighting Yemeni guerrillas in the Radfan Mountains. The 22nd Special Air Service regiment undertook small-scale, four-man patrols into the rain forest, usually accompanied by a doctor, to win over the indigenous populations by establishing medical clinics. The trust gained, and the intelligence acquired, enabled long-duration missions to be conducted to monitor the border area, ambush enemy
infiltrators, and mount deniable raids into Indonesian territory to destroy bases and assembly areas. The principle of winning the “hearts and minds” of the local villages proved the key to a successful campaign that defeated the Communist-inspired guerrillas.


The code name applied to the Secret Intelligence Service operation to remove the radical Prime Minister  Mohammed Mossadegh from power in Iran in 1953 and reverse his policy of nationalizing the country’s oil assets, exploited hitherto by the British-owned  Anglo-Iranian Oil Company. Executed jointly with the Central Intelligence Agency, BOOT initially faltered, but huge demonstrations, financed by the plotters, eventually turned the tide and enabled Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi, who had earlier fled to Rome, to return to Tehran and install a government acceptable to Great Britain and the United States. Undertaken with minimal bloodshed, the coup resulted in Mossadegh being placed under house arrest, where he remained until his death in 1967. In 1979 the shah was himself forced to flee Iran.

Friday, September 3, 2010


James Bond Ultimate Collector's SetCreated by the pen of Ian Fleming in Casino Royale (1953), this fictional character was a member of the British Secret Service who undertook clandestine missions for his chief, known only as “M.” The books  proved an immediate best-seller, and more than 20 movies since Dr. No in 1961 have made the series the  most successful of all time, having been seen by an estimated half of the world’s population.
The extent to which the fiction was based on fact has been the subject of much debate, and several candidates have been suggested for the basis for Bond—including Fleming himself, who served in the Naval Intelligence Division during World War II and worked closely with the Secret Intelligence Service. The parallels between Bond’s organization and the real SIS are many, and the author undoubtedly drew on his own experiences, and those of his contacts, for his plots.
His closest friend throughout his life was Ivar Bryce, a wartime British Security Coordination officer who  completed secret missions in South America during World War II, and a double agent, Dusko Popov, whom he encountered in the gaming rooms of Estoril, Portugal, in 1941 may have been the inspiration for Casino  Royale.
Although intelligence professionals are sometimes quick to disown Bond’s adventures as unrealistic, his  gadgetry is studied with interest by technicians anxious to develop new communications and surveillance equipment.


As a consequence of observations made during the fly-past of Myasischev M-4 aircraft during the 1954 May  Day parade in Moscow, the  United States overestimated the  Soviet bomber strength and predicted 800 of the strategic bombers with the NATO designation Bison would be operational by 1960. Similarly, the production level of Tupolev Tu-16 Badgers was miscalculated at 25 a month. In fact, only 150 of the Bison’s bomber variant were built, as U-2 reconnaissance eventually demonstrated. However, the miscalculation led to the “bomber gap” theory that suggested the United States was at a serious disadvantage.
Air attaché reports that the Bisons counted at a subsequent 1955 Red Air Force Day display at Tushino  amounted to four times the U.S. strength in B-52s led to concern that was presented during congressional hearings in April 1956. Evidently the Soviets had flown the same aircraft back and forth before the Western  observers in a deliberate effort to exaggerate Soviet aircraft numbers, and the ruse succeeded.


A widely used slang term to describe the political fall-out following the unintended disclosure, unusually in the  media, of an intelligence operation that has political consequences.


On 22 June 1989, Bloch, formerly the deputy chief of mission at the U.S. embassy in Vienna and currently  director of regional economic and political affairs in the European Bureau, received an early morning telephone call at his apartment in Washington, D.C., from “Ferdinand Paul” who warned him that “Pierre” was “ill” and that “a contagious disease is suspected.” Thereafter Reino Gikman, a suspected Soviet illegal  masquerading as a Finnish businessman—who had come under the Central Intelligence Agency’s surveillance and called himself “Pierre”—disappeared from Austria, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation concluded that their investigation into a high-level leak from the State Department had been compromised. Gikman’s  relationship with Bloch had been under the FBI’s scrutiny since 28 April 1989, following a tip from the CIA.
Soon afterward, in May, he was identified in Paris by the French Direction de la Surveillance du Territoire as  the person to whom Bloch had twice handed over a briefcase. When Bloch returned to his home in Washington, his calls were monitored, and he had received the somewhat transparent warning from the Soviet embassy within five weeks of the FBI initiating its investigation.
Under interrogation by the FBI the same day that he received the warning call, Bloch explained his visits to  Paris and Brussels as opportunities to buy stamps for his collection and to spend time with  his girlfriend, Tina Jirousek, a woman he had met through the escort section of the Vienna telephone directory’s yellow pages. When the blonde was interviewed, she revealed a bizarre relationship with Bloch over seven years in which he had paid her an estimated $70,000 to participate in sado-masochism and bondage rituals on Saturday mornings when he had told his wife he was working at his office.
Bloch subsequently was interrogated at length but made no further admissions, and in December 1990, after 30 years in the Foreign Service, he was fired and denied a pension. The case was to have wide ramifications, not least because it convinced the FBI and the CIA that there had been a high-level leak that had  compromised the investigation at a very early stage. Ironically, the senior CIA counterintelligence officer, Brian Kelley, who had initiated and supervised the CIA’s surveillance of Gikman, himself became the subject of a secret mole hunt. It was only after a KGB defector, AE/AVENGE, provided the evidence against Robert Hanssen that Kelley was cleared and it became evident that the further leak had occurred in the FBI and not the CIA.