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Go Back   Armchair General and HistoryNet >> The Best Forums in History > Historical Events & Eras > Warfare by Other Means > Spy Wars

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Spy Wars Reconnaissance, deception and intelligence are all vital aspects of warfare, ancient and modern - discuss these aspects here!

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  #1  
Old 06 Mar 12, 21:39
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What exactly do "spies" really do?

I'm not really sure. There's a lot of info on spies but I'm not sure if all that info is real. It seems to me a lot of info is fictional James Bond stuff.

Currently, my knowledge of real life spies consists of the following:

Spies are Intelligence Officers. The role of spies is mainly surveillance and analysis of various issues. Maybe some field work for certain officers. Field work isn't as exciting as Mission Impossible but can sometimes consist of life threatening situations hence the career's issuing of firearms and combat training.

Anyone care to elaborate or provide more info?
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  #2  
Old 06 Mar 12, 21:47
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Spies spy on people.

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  #3  
Old 06 Mar 12, 21:58
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Yoshikawa Takao, pure spy.
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  #4  
Old 06 Mar 12, 23:30
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Wellington sums it up. Spies are recruited by intelligence officers. In the great majority of cases they are natives of the country in which an intelligence agency is operating, and have been recruited for their access to information of interest to a foreign power. They are recruited and trained by handlers (or 'case officers'), who are agents of that foreign power. These handlers can be divided into two classes: Persons with official cover, i.e., in possession of a diplomatic passport, and persons without official cover, i.e. clandestine agents, who have no diplomatic immunity if caught. The handler or case officer will be a person fully training in recruiting agents, assessing their capabilities in obtaining information, training them in the necessary tradecraft for carrying out their operations and in delivering their reports to their handler via dead drops or other means. It is the case officer or handler who performs an initial evaluation of the information to ensure it meets the reporting criteria, and passes a finished report into the proper reporting channels.

Ergo, the spy is generally a citizen of the nation on whom he or she is reporting, though there are occasions when the spy is a third country national working in or reporting on the target country. (Example, a military attache or diplomat of a third nation stationed in the target country) If the spy or 'asset' is particularly valuable, the case officer may also be responsible for developing an escape plan to get his spy to safety in the event of a compromise.

Spies produce "humint" or "human intelligence", which is but one slice of the intelligence spectrum.The United States relies primarily upon technical intelligence means, i.e. communications intercepts, imagery intelligence and other 'ints' to back up humint reporting. Some would say they are too reliant upon technical intelligence gathering means. Analysts are generally far up the chain from agents and spies. Their job is gather the humint reports, compare them with other intelligence products, and make assessments that appear in "all source intelligence reports" and 'summaries' which guide operational planners and operators. They also identify holes or lacunas in the intelligence provided, or reporting needed, and generate further collection requirements which eventually trickle down to the spy for further collection and reporting.

Spies should not be confused with covert or clandestine action agents, whose job is to carry out operations a la Jason Bourne, the Rainbow Warrior, and the North Korean Rangoon bombing (this last carried out by a four man Reconnaissance Bureau Recon Team introduced into Burma as civilian crewmembers of an NK ship, where it was equipped, armed, and directed by a female member of the NK Embassy operating under diplomatic cover.
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  #5  
Old 06 Mar 12, 23:30
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They're going to gather information on their enemy and try to determine the strengths and weaknesses of that enemy. They'll attempt to get as much classified information as they can. They'll try to recruit others to work for them to obtain the information they need. They might be involved with covert operations as well. Below are links to CNN interviews with 2 spies who spied against the United States and they talk about their methods and what they were attempting to do. I think both interviews are very informative. The first link is an interview with Oleg Kalugin a former KGB General, and the second interview is with Markus Wolf who was in charge of HVA the East German equivalent of the KGB.

http://web.archive.org/web/200008290...views/kalugin/


http://web.archive.org/web/200008170...terviews/wolf/
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  #6  
Old 07 Mar 12, 08:44
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wellington95 View Post
Spies spy on people.

You're a real Sherlock.


Quote:
Originally Posted by lirelou View Post
Wellington sums it up. Spies are recruited by intelligence officers. In the great majority of cases they are natives of the country in which an intelligence agency is operating, and have been recruited for their access to information of interest to a foreign power. They are recruited and trained by handlers (or 'case officers'), who are agents of that foreign power. These handlers can be divided into two classes: Persons with official cover, i.e., in possession of a diplomatic passport, and persons without official cover, i.e. clandestine agents, who have no diplomatic immunity if caught. The handler or case officer will be a person fully training in recruiting agents, assessing their capabilities in obtaining information, training them in the necessary tradecraft for carrying out their operations and in delivering their reports to their handler via dead drops or other means. It is the case officer or handler who performs an initial evaluation of the information to ensure it meets the reporting criteria, and passes a finished report into the proper reporting channels.

Ergo, the spy is generally a citizen of the nation on whom he or she is reporting, though there are occasions when the spy is a third country national working in or reporting on the target country. (Example, a military attache or diplomat of a third nation stationed in the target country) If the spy or 'asset' is particularly valuable, the case officer may also be responsible for developing an escape plan to get his spy to safety in the event of a compromise.

Spies produce "humint" or "human intelligence", which is but one slice of the intelligence spectrum.The United States relies primarily upon technical intelligence means, i.e. communications intercepts, imagery intelligence and other 'ints' to back up humint reporting. Some would say they are too reliant upon technical intelligence gathering means. Analysts are generally far up the chain from agents and spies. Their job is gather the humint reports, compare them with other intelligence products, and make assessments that appear in "all source intelligence reports" and 'summaries' which guide operational planners and operators. They also identify holes or lacunas in the intelligence provided, or reporting needed, and generate further collection requirements which eventually trickle down to the spy for further collection and reporting.

Spies should not be confused with covert or clandestine action agents, whose job is to carry out operations a la Jason Bourne, the Rainbow Warrior, and the North Korean Rangoon bombing (this last carried out by a four man Reconnaissance Bureau Recon Team introduced into Burma as civilian crewmembers of an NK ship, where it was equipped, armed, and directed by a female member of the NK Embassy operating under diplomatic cover.
Great reply

So what sort of chain is there?
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  #7  
Old 17 Aug 12, 03:16
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There are different types of spies: intelligence operators, walk-ons and informants. Yours truely had to stare down the barrel of a loaded gun at an early age (still in high school) to avoid some meatheads torpedoing my plans to rescue a kidnapped American three houses down from where I lived. The case of Claude Fly.

Then I was employed by a company; Baird-Atomic of 125 Middlesex Turnpike, Bedford MA USA. They had a lucrative contract making tank nightviewfinders for the Pentagon. The International Group of the Spectroscopy Division. was stealing them and trading them to Russia. The International group was also trafficking in cocaine from Colombia to New York. I gave the information to get these people arrested. However it did not do my career any good, but my conscience is clean
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Last edited by Nickuru; 17 Aug 12 at 03:18.. Reason: syntax
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Old 17 Aug 12, 04:12
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Old 17 Aug 12, 04:19
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Quote:
They're going to gather information on their enemy and try to determine the strengths and weaknesses of that enemy
We have caught a few from our "friends" as well.
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Old 17 Aug 12, 05:26
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We have caught a few from our "friends" as well.
That's a good point. Sure ain't much of a stretch to say everyone spies on everyone else.
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Old 17 Aug 12, 05:45
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nickuru View Post
There are different types of spies: intelligence operators, walk-ons and informants. Yours truely had to stare down the barrel of a loaded gun at an early age (still in high school) to avoid some meatheads torpedoing my plans to rescue a kidnapped American three houses down from where I lived. The case of Claude Fly.

Then I was employed by a company; Baird-Atomic of 125 Middlesex Turnpike, Bedford MA USA. They had a lucrative contract making tank nightviewfinders for the Pentagon. The International Group of the Spectroscopy Division. was stealing them and trading them to Russia. The International group was also trafficking in cocaine from Colombia to New York. I gave the information to get these people arrested. However it did not do my career any good, but my conscience is clean
It takes a true spy to find and awaken this spy thread after five months. I thought that Nikita had eliminated all of BA Middlesex and the SD. Your conscience may be clear, but I suggest you do not ever again lift your toilet seat or use your microwave oven. Throw away your cell phone, unless it is an iPhone4S which you shall send to me at the undisclosed address.
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Old 19 Aug 12, 05:02
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My understanding is it is a person who provides intelligence to another power against their own country.
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Old 19 Aug 12, 11:41
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kendoka Girl View Post
My understanding is it is a person who provides intelligence to another power against their own country.
There are different terms for that - not spy. Terms like 'asset', etc. My understanding is a 'spy' gathers intelligence to give to his OWN country.

Spies are patriots. Assets are traitors.


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Old 19 Aug 12, 15:01
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What exactly do "spies" really do?

What exactly do "spies" really do?

Have sex.
Play poker.
Drink Vodka.


Sounds like a Monday night to me.
I should have The Agency.
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Old 11 Oct 12, 02:32
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Originally Posted by Cicero View Post
What exactly do "spies" really do?

Have sex.
Play poker.
Drink Vodka.


Sounds like a Monday night to me.
I should have The Agency.
Spy work is like science, you must pay careful attention to detail. Once you have the main ideas, you then have to carefully sort out the details. Unlike a scientist, who is not in danger unless there is blatant violation of safety procedures; a spy is in danger at all times. A spy is also in danger from the people he works for since a mole from the enemy may be betraying you. Think of Kim Philby, son of a great archeologist Sir Henry Philby. He betrayed so many British operations during the cold war, that he sent dozens to their deaths. Always keep silent about what you do.
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