Definitions

espionage

espionage

[es-pee-uh-nahzh, -nij, es-pee-uh-nahzh]
espionage, the act of obtaining information clandestinely. The term applies particularly to the act of collecting military, industrial, and political data about one nation for the benefit of another. Industrial espionage—the theft of patents and processes from business firms—is not properly espionage at all.

Modern Espionage

Espionage is a part of intelligence activity, which is also concerned with analysis of diplomatic reports, newspapers, periodicals, technical publications, commercial statistics, and radio and television broadcasts. In the last fifty years espionage activity has been greatly supplemented by technological advances, especially in the areas of radio signal interception and high-altitude photography. Surveillance with high-technology equipment on the ground or from high-altitude planes and satellites has become an important espionage technique (see Cuban Missile Crisis). The development of the Internet has created opportunities for espionage through hacking into foreign government and private computers, through electronic surveillance of Internet and network traffic, and through the use of trojan horses, key loggers, and such computer programs. Code making and code breaking (see cryptography) have become computerized and very effective. The threat of foreign espionage is used as an excuse for internal suppression and the suspension of civil rights in many countries. Espionage is a very important part of guerrilla warfare and counterinsurgency. The defensive side of intelligence activity, i.e., preventing another nation from gaining such information, is known as counterespionage. Under international law, intelligence activities are not illegal; however, every nation has laws against espionage conducted against it.

History

Beginnings through the Nineteenth Century

The importance of espionage in military affairs has been recognized since the beginning of recorded history. The Egyptians had a well-developed secret service, and spying and subversion are mentioned in the Iliad and in the Bible. The ancient Chinese treatise (c.500 B.C.) on the art of war (see Sun Tzu) devotes much attention to deception and intelligence gathering, arguing that all war is based on deception. In the Middle Ages, political espionage became important. Joan of Arc was betrayed by Bishop Pierre Cauchon of Beauvais, a spy in the pay of the English, and Sir Francis Walsingham developed an efficient political spy system for Elizabeth I. With the growth of the modern national state, systematized espionage became a fundamental part of government in most countries. Joseph Fouché is credited with developing the first modern political espionage system, and Frederick II of Prussia is regarded as the founder of modern military espionage. During the American Revolution, Nathan Hale and Benedict Arnold achieved fame as spies, and there was considerable use of spies on both sides during the U.S. Civil War.

In the Twentieth Century

By World War I, all the great powers except the United States had elaborate civilian espionage systems and all national military establishments had intelligence units. To protect the country against foreign agents, the U.S. Congress passed the Espionage Statute of 1917. Mata Hari, who obtained information for Germany by seducing French officials, was the most noted espionage agent of World War I. Germany and Japan established elaborate espionage nets in the years preceding World War II. In 1942 the Office of Strategic Services was founded by Gen. William J. Donovan. However, the British system was the keystone of Allied intelligence.

Since World War II, espionage activity has enlarged considerably, much of it growing out of the cold war between the United States and the former USSR. Russia and the Soviet Union have had a long tradition of espionage ranging from the Czar's Okhrana to the Committee for State Security (the KGB), which also acted as a secret police force. In the United States the 1947 National Security Act created the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to coordinate intelligence and the National Security Agency for research into codes and electronic communication. In addition to these, the United States has 13 other intelligence gathering agencies; most of the U.S. expenditures for intelligence gathering are budgeted to various Defense Dept. agencies and their programs. Under the intelligence reorganization of 2004, the director of national intelligence is responsible for overseeing and coordinating the activities and budgets of the U.S. intelligence agencies.

Famous cold war espionage cases include Alger Hiss and Whittaker Chambers and the Rosenberg Case. In 1952 the Communist Chinese captured two CIA agents, and in 1960 Francis Gary Powers, flying a U-2 reconnaissance mission over the Soviet Union for the CIA, was shot down and captured. During the cold war, many Soviet intelligence officials defected to the West, including Gen. Walter Krivitsky, Victor Kravchenko, Vladimir Petrov, Peter Deriabin Pawel Monat, and Oleg Penkovsky, of the GRU (Soviet military intelligence). Among Western officials who defected to the Soviet Union are Guy F. Burgess and Donald D. Maclean of Great Britain in 1951, Otto John of West Germany in 1954, William H. Martin and Bernon F. Mitchell, U.S. cryptographers, in 1960, and Harold (Kim) Philby of Great Britain in 1962. U.S. acknowledgment of its U-2 flights and the exchange of Francis Gary Powers for Rudolf Abel in 1962 implied the legitimacy of some espionage as an arm of foreign policy.

China has a very cost-effective intelligence program that is especially effective in monitoring neighboring countries. Smaller countries can also mount effective and focused espionage efforts. The Vietnamese Communists, for example, had consistently superior intelligence during the Vietnam War. Israel probably has the best espionage establishment in the world. Some of the Muslim countries, especially Libya, Iran, and Syria, have highly developed operations as well. Iran's Savak was particularly feared by Iranian dissidents before the Iranian Revolution.

Bibliography

See A. Ind, A Short History of Espionage (1963); R. W. Rowan and R. G. Deindorfer, Secret Service: Thirty-Three Centuries of Espionage (rev. ed. 1967); R. Friedman, Advanced Technology Warfare (1985); G. Treverton, Covert Action (1989); J. Keegan, Intelligence in War (2003).

Acquisition of trade secrets from business competitors. Industrial spying is a reaction to the efforts of many businesses to keep secret their designs, formulas, manufacturing processes, research, and future plans. Trade secrets may find their way into the open market through disloyal employees or through various other means. Penalties against those found guilty range from an injunction against further use of the knowledge to substantial damages. Seealso patent.

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Practice of obtaining military, political, commercial, or other secret information by means of spies or illegal monitoring devices. It is sometimes distinguished from the broader category of intelligence gathering by its aggressive nature and its illegality. Counterespionage efforts are directed at detecting and thwarting espionage by others.

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Espionage or spying involves an individual obtaining information that is considered secret or confidential without the permission of the holder of the information. Espionage is inherently clandestine, as the legitimate holder of the information may change plans or take other countermeasures once it is known that the information is in unauthorized hands. See clandestine HUMINT for the basic concepts of such information collection, and subordinate articles such as clandestine HUMINT operational techniques and clandestine HUMINT asset recruiting for discussions of the "tradecraft" used to collect this information.

History

Incidents of espionage are well documented throughout history. The ancient writings of Chinese and Indian military strategists such as Sun-Tzu and Chanakya contain information on deception and subversion. Chanakya's student Chandragupta Maurya, founder of the Maurya Empire, made use of assassinations, spies and secret agents, which are described in Chanakya's Arthasastra. The ancient Egyptians had a thoroughly developed system for the acquisition of intelligence, and the Hebrews used spies as well, as in the story of Rahab. Feudal Japan often used ninja to gather intelligence. More recently, spies played a significant part in Elizabethan England (see Francis Walsingham). Many modern espionage methods were well established even then.

The Cold War involved intense espionage activity between the United States of America and its allies and the Soviet Union and the People's Republic of China and their allies, particularly related to nuclear weapons secrets. Recently, espionage agencies have targeted the illegal drug trade and those considered to be terrorists.

Different intelligence services value certain intelligence collection techniques over others. The former Soviet Union, for example, preferred human sources over research in open sources, while the United States has tended to emphasize technological methods such as SIGINT and IMINT. Both Soviet political (KGB) and military intelligence (GRU) officers were judged by the number of agents they recruited.

Various Forms

Unlike other forms of intelligence collection disciplines, espionage usually involves accessing the place where the desired information is stored, or accessing the people who know the information and will divulge it through some kind of subterfuge. There are exceptions to physical meetings, such as the Oslo Report, or the insistence of Robert Hanssen in never meeting the people to whom he was selling information.

The US defines espionage towards itself as "The act of obtaining, delivering, transmitting, communicating, or receiving information about the national defense with an intent, or reason to believe, that the information may be used to the injury of the United States or to the advantage of any foreign nation. Espionage is a violation of 18 United States Code 792-798 and Article 106, Uniform Code of Military Justice." The United States, like most nations, conducts espionage against other nations, under the control of the National Clandestine Service. Britain's espionage activities are controlled by the Secret Intelligence Service.

Espionage is usually part of an institutional effort (i.e., governmental or corporate espionage), and the term is most readily associated with state spying on potential or actual enemies, primarily for military purposes, but this has been extended to spying involving corporations, known specifically as industrial espionage. Many nations routinely spy on both their enemies and allies, although they maintain a policy of not making comment on this. In addition to utilizing agencies within a government many also employ private companies to collect information on their behalf such as SCG International Risk and others. Black's Law Dictionary (1990) defines espionage as: "...gathering, transmitting, or losing...information related to the national defense."

While news media may speak of "spy satellites" and the like, espionage is not a synonym for all types of intelligence functions. It is a specific form of human source intelligence (HUMINT). Codebreaking (cryptanalysis or COMINT), aircraft or satellite photography (IMINT) and research in open publications (OSINT) are all intelligence gathering disciplines, but none of them are espionage. Not all HUMINT activities, such as interviewing prisoners, reports from military reconnaissance patrols and from diplomats, etc., are espionage.

A spy is a person employed to obtain such secrets. Within the US intelligence community, asset is a more common usage. A case officer, who may have diplomatic status (i.e., official cover or non-official cover) supports and directs the human collector. Cutouts are couriers who do not know the agent or case officer, but transfer messages. A safe house is a refuge for spies.

In larger networks, the organization can be complex, with many methods to avoid detection, including clandestine cell systems. Often the players have never met and are sometimes unaware that they are participating. This is often referred to as "the Tyson Effect," where important players are unaware of their own participation. See Clandestine HUMINT for details of the actual operations and people of espionage systems.

Case officers are stationed in foreign countries to recruit and supervise intelligence agents, who in turn spy on targets in their countries where they are assigned. A spy may or may not be an actual citizen of a target country. While the more common practice is to recruit a person already trusted with access to sensitive information, there are cases where a person may attempt to infiltrate a target organization, with a well-prepared synthetic identity for them, called a legend in tradecraft.

These agents can be moles (who are recruited before they get access to secrets), defectors (who are recruited after they get access to secrets and leave their country) or defectors in place (who get access but do not leave).

Risks

The risks of espionage vary. A spy breaking the host country's laws may be deported, imprisoned, or even executed. A spy breaking his/her own country's laws can be imprisoned for espionage or/and treason, or even executed, as the Rosenbergs were. For example, when Aldrich Ames handed a stack of dossiers of CIA agents in the Eastern Bloc to his KGB-officer "handler," the KGB "rolled up" several networks, and at least ten people were secretly shot. When Ames was arrested by the FBI, he faced life in prison; his contact, who had diplomatic immunity, was declared persona non grata and taken to the airport. Ames's wife was threatened with life imprisonment if her husband did not cooperate; he did, and she was given a five-year sentence. Hugh Francis Redmond, a CIA officer in China, spent nineteen years in a Chinese prison for espionage—and died there—as he was operating without diplomatic cover and immunity.'

Many organizations, both national and non-national, conduct espionage operations. It should not be assumed that espionage is always directed at the most secret operations of a target country; national and terrorist organizations and other groups needed to get agents into target countries to learn security routines around their targets. They also needed to arrange secure ways of transferring money.

Communications both are necessary to espionage and clandestine operations, and also a great vulnerability when the adversary has sophisticated SIGINT detection and interception capability.

See espionage organizations for national and non-national groups that conduct clandestine human operations, for any of a number of reasons: assessment of national capabilities at the strategic level, warning of the movements of security and military organizations; financial systems; protective measures around targets. Be aware that certain organizations who have an association with espionage, such as the US FBI, UK Security Service, and Canadian Security Intelligence Service do not perform espionage, but, with these three examples, all monitor and defend against it, the CSIS principally at an analytical levels. In the US and UK, respectively, the National Clandestine Service, part of the Central Intelligence Agency, performs espionage, while the Secret Intelligence Service does so for Great Britain. Canada does not appear to run espionage, although it collects SIGINT. The Russian SVR performs espionage while the FSB defends against it.

Spies in various conflicts

Espionage under Elizabeth I of England

Espionage in the American Revolution

Espionage in the American Civil War

One of the innovations in the American Civil War was the use of proprietary companies for intelligence collection. See Allan Pinkerton

Espionage in the Second Boer War

Espionage in World War I

Espionage in World War II

With a few notable exceptions, most espionage in World War II was conducted by "rings", or teams of agents.

Espionage in the Cold War

Espionage technology and techniques

Spy fiction

An early example of espionage literature is Kim by the English novelist Rudyard Kipling, with a description of the training of an intelligence agent in the "Great Game" between the UK and Russia in 19th century Central Asia.

During the many 20th century spy scandals, a large amount of information became publicly known about national spy agencies and dozens of real-life secret agents. These sensational stories piqued public interest in a profession largely off-limits to human interest news reporting, a natural consequence of the secrecy inherent to their work. To fill in the blanks, the popular conception of the secret agent has been formed largely by 20th and 21st century literature and cinema. While it is obvious from reading news accounts that many real spies, such as Valerie Plame, are attractive and sociable, the fictional secret agent is often a loner, sometimes amoral—an existential hero operating outside the everyday constraints of society. Loner spy personalities may have been a stereotype of convenience for authors who already knew how to write loner private investigator characters that sold well from the 1920s to the present.

While fictional secret agents, such as Johnny Fedora, were popular during the 1950s and 60s, James Bond, the protagonist of Ian Fleming's novels, who went on to spawn an extremely successful film franchise, is the most famous fictional secret agent of all: he uses the best toys and excels at fighting and seduction, completely ignoring the more tedious side of espionage. In direct contrast to this, John le Carré's character George Smiley is often considered the "anti-Bond" and one of the more realistic fictional spies: he is a finite and imperfect man, initially defeated by enemies within the Secret Service, who eventually prevails by patience, intelligence, and compassion. Another is the boy spy Alex Rider, created by Anthony Horowitz; Rider is said to be useful due to his youth. Other popular spies are the characters Johnny Fedora by Desmond Cory; Quiller by Adam Hall; Nikita, played by Peta Wilson, and Michael Samuelle, played by Roy Dupuis, in the TV series La Femme Nikita (1997–2001), Jack Ryan in numerous Tom Clancy novels, and Sydney Bristow, played by Jennifer Garner, in the TV series Alias (2001–2006). The British TV series Spooks is another example of spy fiction. Charlie's Angels has some spying aspects and the popular cartoon series Totally Spies! revolves around three girls named Clover, Sam and Alex who are spies working for a spy agency called WOOHP which stands for World Organization of Human Protection.

Spy fiction has also become prevalent in video gaming, where the "wetwork" aspect of espionage is highlighted. Game situations typically involve agents sent into enemy territory for purposes of subversion. These depictions are more action-oriented than would be typical in most cases of espionage, and they tend to focus on infiltration rather than information-gathering. Some examples are GoldenEye 007, Perfect Dark, Thief, Metal Gear and Splinter Cell. Recent incarnations have attempted to introduce more psychological aspects of infiltration, such as social camouflage and moral decision making, into gameplay.

Further reading

There is a vast and ever-growing body of literature devoted to espionage. The following reading list features some of the better known and more comprehensive accounts. The lists are sortable, using the icons next to the headings. In this way the reader can sort the lists by author, title, date and so forth. This is of value especially in terms of the year, for espionage literature tends to build on earlier material as well as on newfound sources.

Surveys

Author(s) Title Publisher Date Notes
Jenkins, Peter Advanced Surveillance: The Complete Manual of Surveillance Training - - ISBN 0953537811
West, Nigel MI6: British Secret Intelligence Service Operations 1909-1945 - 1983 -
Smith Jr., W. Thomas Encyclopedia of the Central Intelligence Agency - 2003 popular
Richelson, Jeffery T. The U.S. Intelligence Community - 1999 fourth edition
Richelson, Jeffery T. A Century of Spies: Intelligence in the Twentieth Century - 1977 -
Owen, David Hidden Secrets: A Complete History of Espionage and the Technology Used to Support It - - -
O'Toole, George Honorable Treachery: A History of U.S. Intelligence, Espionage, Covert Action from the American Revolution to the CIA - 1991 -
Lerner, Brenda Wilmoth & K. Lee Lerner, eds. Terrorism: essential primary sources Thomas Gale 2006 ISBN 9781414406213
Lerner, K. Lee and Brenda Wilmoth Lerner, eds. Encyclopedia of Espionage, Intelligence and Security - 2003 1100 pages. 850 articles, strong on technology
Knightley, Philip The Second Oldest Profession: Spies and Spying in the Twentieth Century Norton 1986 -
Kahn, David The Codebreakers: The Comprehensive History of Secret Communication from Ancient Times to the Internet - 1996 Revised edition, 1200 pages. First published in 1967.
Johnson, Robert Spying for Empire: The Great Game in Central and South Asia, 1757-1947 London: Greenhill 2006 British Intelligence and its imperial connection
Friedman, George America's Secret War: Inside the Hidden Worldwide Struggle Between the United States and Its Enemies - 2005 since 9-11
Bungert, Heike et al eds. Secret Intelligence in the Twentieth Century - 2003 essays by scholars
May, Ernest (ed.) Knowing One's Enemies: Intelligence Assessment before the Two World Wars - 1984 -
Black, Ian Israel's Secret Wars: A History of Israel's Intelligence Services - 1992 -
Andrew, Christopher For the President's Eyes Only: Secret Intelligence and the American Presidency from Washington to Bush - 1996 -

World War I

Author(s) Title Publisher Date Notes
Tunney, Thomas Joseph and Paul Merrick Hollister Throttled!: The Detection of the German and Anarchist Bomb Plotters Boston: Small, Maynard & company 1919 Chapter 9 is about Duquesne and is available on Wikisource: see text
Beesly, Patrick Room 40 - 1982 Covers the breaking of German codes by RN intelligence, including the Turkish bribe, Zimmermann telegram, and failure at Jutland.
Burnham, Frederick Russell Taking Chances - 1944 Chapter 2 is about Duquesne
May, Ernest (ed.) Knowing One's Enemies: Intelligence Assessment before the Two World Wars - 1984 -
Tuchman, Barbara W. The Zimmermann Telegram - 1966 -

World War II: 1931-1945

Author(s) Title Publisher Date Notes
Babington-Smith, Constance Air Spy: The Story of Photo Intelligence in World War II - 1957 -
Bryden, John Best-Kept Secret: Canadian Secret Intelligence in the Second World War Lester 1993 -
Hinsley, F. H. and Alan Stripp Codebreakers: The Inside Story of Bletchley Park - 2001 -
Hinsley, F. H. British Intelligence in the Second World War - 1996 Abridged version of multivolume official history.
Hohne, Heinz Canaris: Hitler's Master Spy - 1979 -
Jones, R. V. The Wizard War: British Scientific Intelligence 1939-1945 - 1978 -
Kahn, David Hitler's Spies: German Military Intelligence in World War II' - 1978 -
Kahn, David Seizing the Enigma: The Race to Break the German U-Boat Codes, 1939-1943 - 1991 FACE
Kitson, Simon The Hunt for Nazi Spies: Fighting Espionage in Vichy France - 2008
Lewin, Ronald The American Magic: Codes, Ciphers and the Defeat of Japan - 1982 -
Masterman, J. C. The Double Cross System in the War of 1935 to 1945 Yale 1972 -
Persico, Joseph Roosevelt's Secret War: FDR and World War II Espionage - 2001 -
Persico, Joseph Casey: The Lives and Secrets of William J. Casey-From the OSS to the CIA - 1991 -
Ronnie, Art Counterfeit Hero: Fritz Duquesne, Adventurer and Spy - 1995 ISBN 1-55750-733-3-
Sayers, Michael & Albert E. Kahn Sabotage! The Secret War Against America - 1942 -
Smith, Richard Harris OSS: The Secret History of America's First Central Intelligence Agency - 2005 -
Stanley, Roy M. World War II Photo Intelligence - 1981 -
Wark, Wesley The Ultimate Enemy: British Intelligence and Nazi Germany, 1933-1939 - 1985 -
Wark, Wesley "Cryptographic Innocence: The Origins of Signals Intelligence in Canada in the Second World War" in Journal of Contemporary History 22 - 1987 -
West, Nigel Secret War: The Story of SOE, Britain's Wartime Sabotage Organization - 1992 -
Winterbotham, F. W. The Ultra Secret Harper & Row 1974 -
Wohlstetter, Roberta. Pearl Harbor: Warning and Decision - 1962 -

Cold War Era: 1945-1991

Author(s) Title Publisher Date Notes
Aldrich, Richard J. The Hidden Hand: Britain, America and Cold War Secret Intelligence - 2002 -
Ambrose, Stephen E. Ike's Spies: Eisenhower and the Intelligence Establishment - 1981- -
Andrew, Christopher and Vasili Mitrokhin The Sword and the Shield: The Mitrokhin Archive and the Secret History of the KGB Basic Books 1991, 2005 ISBN 0465003117
Andrew, Christopher, and Oleg Gordievsky KGB: The Inside Story of Its Foreign Operations from Lenin to Gorbachev - 1990 -
Aronoff, Myron J. The Spy Novels of John Le Carré: Balancing Ethics and Politics - 1999 -
Bissell, Richard Reflections of a Cold Warrior: From Yalta to the Bay of Pigs' - 1996 -
Bogle, Lori, ed. Cold War Espionage and Spying - 2001- essays
Christopher Andrew and Vasili Mitrokhin The World Was Going Our Way: The KGB and the Battle for the Third World - - -
Christopher Andrew and Vasili Mitrokhin The Mitrokhin Archive: The KGB in Europe and the West Gardners Books 2000 ISBN 978-0-14-028487-4
Jim Colella My Life as an Italian Mafioso Spy - 2000 -
Dorril, Stephen MI6: Inside the Covert World of Her Majesty's Secret Intelligence Service - 2000 -
Dziak, John J. Chekisty: A History of the KGB - 1988 -
Gates, Robert M. From The Shadows: The Ultimate Insider's Story Of Five Presidents And How They Won The Cold War' - 1997 -
Frost, Mike and Michel Gratton Spyworld: Inside the Canadian and American Intelligence Establishments Doubleday Canada 1994 -
Harris, Merv One Mans View: working title of Straw Men , a without prejudice account of AWB/Australian/US operations - 2008 -
Haynes, John Earl, and Harvey Klehr Venona: Decoding Soviet Espionage in America - 1999 -
Helms, Richard A Look over My Shoulder: A Life in the Central Intelligence Agency - 2003 -
Koehler, John O. Stasi: The Untold Story of the East German Secret Police' - 1999 -
Persico, Joseph Casey: The Lives and Secrets of William J. Casey-From the OSS to the CIA - 1991 -
Murphy, David E., Sergei A. Kondrashev, and George Bailey Battleground Berlin: CIA vs. KGB in the Cold War - 1997 -
Prados, John Presidents' Secret Wars: CIA and Pentagon Covert Operations Since World War II - 1996 -
Rositzke, Harry. The CIA's Secret Operations: Espionage, Counterespionage, and Covert Action - 1988 -
Srodes, James Allen Dulles: Master of Spies Regnery 2000 CIA head to 1961
Encyclopedia of Cold War Espionage, Spies and Secret Operations Greenwood Press/ Questia 2004 -
Anderson, Nicholas NOC - 2008 eBook and 2009 published Enigma Books

See also

References

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