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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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  #16  
Old 23 Oct 12, 22:43
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On another idea, what do counterintelligence operators do? The techniques of infiltration of enemy spy rings are not explained anywhere. Wine, women and song, as well as drugs, blackmail and extortion seem to be the rule of thumb. There is a lot of hard work in this, not for the nervous type.
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  #17  
Old 31 Oct 12, 17:59
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  #18  
Old 05 Nov 12, 04:30
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Here is an example of intelligence at work before WWI, This is from the memoirs of Max von Hoffman of the German General Staff. Note the emphasis on gold as being crucial to espionage

"One of my last tasks while I was in the Russian department of the Great General Staff was to construct the plan of a Russian attack on Germany, from the information we possessed. Our intelligence service had not worked very well during the years of peace. The chief cause of this was, that the large sums of money, that are necessary to enlist agents and spies abroad, were not at its disposal. As far as I can remember it was only once, in the year 1902, that we succeeded in buying the whole Russian plan of attack from a colonel in the General Staff. From that time on we only knew, that the plan had been changed, but in what way remained doubtful for many long years. In the year 1910—if I am not mistaken—the Intelligence Officer, Captain Nicolai, of the General Staff of the First Army Corps in Konigsberg was able to obtain a copy of orders for the defence of the frontier by a detachment of the 26th Russian Division that was then stationed at Kovno. From this it appeared, that of the troops which would at first be at their disposal, the Russians would advance two Armies against us : the so-called Vilna Army and the Warsaw Army. They were both to attack East Prussia, the one from the North and the other from the South of the Masurian Lakes. The two Armies were to advance their inner wings in the direction of Gerdauen and attempt a junction behind the chain of the Masurian Lakes. The orders we had in our hands gave no instructions about the formation of the two armies. At first the troops belonging to the military district of Warsaw and those belonging to the military district of Vilna were naturally to form part of the force. The troops that were stationed in the Southern portion of the Warsaw district and those stationed in the military districts of Kiev and Odessa were destined for the advance on Austria-Hungary. On the other hand, we knew nothing about the probable employment of the troops in the military districts of Petersburg, Finland, Moscow, Kasan, the Caucasus and all the Asiatic troops. With regard to the last named, our General Staff took it for granted, at least as long as I was in the Russian department (Autumn, 1911), that the Russians would not be in a position to throw them all into Europe, as they supposed that our diplomacy would succeed in keeping Japan from joining the alliance of our enemies. If our Foreign Office succeeded in this, which according to ordinary human understanding seemed no very difficult task, the Russians would be obliged to keep at least part of their East Siberian troops in the Far East."
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  #19  
Old 30 Nov 12, 18:19
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Spies don't brag on their achievements. They don't identify their parents, wife, children. They always introduce themselves through pseudonyms. Blow the lid off an important and dangerous spy, his days are numbered. If the enemy concludes through their damage assessment experts that the spy had done terrible damage to the enemy spy agency, chances are the patriotic British, American or Canadian spy dies either mysteriously or through some other ways just like the 75 British agents who died mysteriously on Philby's orders in Moscow only for their mere rude remarks while they were interrogating him..

Last edited by AnthonyGlen; 30 Nov 12 at 18:33..
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  #20  
Old 23 Aug 13, 18:25
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In an age with technical collection systems, we can see all the pieces on the chessboard. What spies can do is tell us what is in the mind of the chess player. Read the Penkovsky Papers.
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Old 23 Aug 13, 18:32
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  #22  
Old 25 Aug 13, 23:57
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'Spies' is a generic word that is usually inaccurately applied to anyone and everyone that works in an intelligence agency.

In the truly classical sense of the word, a spy is the guy or girl who actually collects the raw data, i.e. the agent, the asset, the informer, etc. Back in the ancient days, the agent runs back to the master and reports back what he's heard. If the master is the king, then that's that. No further complications.

Nowadays, there's the handler, also known as the control, the case officer, etc., who recruited the asset, runs him/her, provide him/her with resources and equipment, and usually resides within the targeted country. He or she may also be know as 'the resident' because of this. This handler may also be known as a spy although he or she may not actually collect any of the raw data themselves. In fact, because he or she usually has diplomatic cover, he or she doesn't take the same risks as the actual agent or asset.

And then, there's the vast bureaucracy back home that processes and analyses the raw data that comes not only from the asset but also from other sources such as signal intelligence (a huge, huge part nowadays, which you might well know from the recent NSA scandal), satellite intelligence, and reading Google News (no joke). These people really aren't spies. Many are analysts but even more are administrators. In fact, you might actually have 99% of the manpower of an agency being in the HQ, with only a small number of people actually being the handler or the agents on the ground.

And then, there's the Special Ops, Special Activities, bag jobs, wetworks, etc. type of guys, who really aren't spies at all in the pure intelligence gathering sense of the word, but still got lumped together. James Bond is not really a spy at all, but more of a one-man Spec Ops/Wetworks team. He draws too much attention to himself to covertly collect raw data, and spends most of his time blowing things up or shooting people.
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  #23  
Old 02 Sep 13, 19:50
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A lot of people like to call themselves spies, but they are not in the true sense of the word.

Counterintelligence types think they are spies, but they are really in the business to counter not only spies but also forms of technical collection like bugs. They can get into the business of doubling an agent which makes them an agent handler versus a spy.

Intelligence officers in the various intelligence agencies who are involved in human intelligence have a few who become agent handlers. But you have many who become involved in spotting potential agents, or vet the spotted candidate, then some who recruit only, while the handler main train a recruited agent and then dispatch them. The primary skill in the agent handling business is the same as a used car salesman, its being able to manipulate people. In the case of a spy it is to convince someone to risk their life to gather the information that you want. And you have picked them for there being able to get near the source of information, and they actually have an access. The key to manipulation of spies is to understand their motivation: such as money, revenge, thrill seeker, ideological.....

James Bond is in a different cateqory than those who are running agents for information. The Bond's of the real world are assassins, hit men. It lends itself to Hollywood action and drama, whereas the agent handler gaining information is a lot of humdrum, night work (because if your agent has a job you have to meet them at night) with occasional pearls such as the information that Penkovsky provided the U.S. on the eve of the Cuban Missile Crisis.
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  #24  
Old 07 Apr 14, 14:28
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Spying is very very addictive especially for someone who enjoys and gloats over the fact that he has fooled the enemy. These successes come by one after another, until you can no longer get a spy to abandon his profession." "Our successes are known only to us while our failures are known by all". I once approached a high ranking officer of CIA and told him bluntly, I want to work for the CIA. "Working for me is not a bed of roses. Join Al Qaeda, he replied. So I joined. Trace my name at Al Qaeda website. Whom would you believe to have fooled the enemy, Marcus Wolfe who bragged that he was able to entice the Director and Deputy Director of BND or the latter who walked-in inebriated and begging for alcohol on a Stasi spymaster? West German universities offer Liberal arts program which I am sure the latter two of BND have taken. They were not offered at East Berlin. I am hinting on sophistication. There are only two kinds of people in this world: the fooling and the fooled.

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Old 13 Aug 15, 21:52
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Are there spies in the CFL? Why do they have twelve men on a side? Why the bleep must the defense line up a yard off the line of scrimmage? Why not 5 yards? Why not 10 yards?
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  #26  
Old 14 Aug 15, 04:07
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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 post! I like the chess analogy. The other intelligence disciplines SIGINT, ELINT, IMINT tell you what chess pieces are on the board. HUMINT is needed to know what the opponent's future moves will be.
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Old 14 Aug 15, 04:12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nickuru View Post
On another idea, what do counterintelligence operators do? The techniques of infiltration of enemy spy rings are not explained anywhere. Wine, women and song, as well as drugs, blackmail and extortion seem to be the rule of thumb. There is a lot of hard work in this, not for the nervous type.
CI is to deny hostile intelligence collection. In counterespionage, the ultimate goal is to turn a hostile agent into a double agent and operate against a hostile intelligence organization's HUMINT collection.
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Old 14 Aug 15, 07:47
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Counter intelligence may still employ spies to spy on other intelligence agencies. Usually these are foreign intelligence agencies but it is not entirely unknown for rival intelligence agencies from the same country to collect information on each other's activities.

Spies operating in countries occupied by forces from another country may sometimes be collecting information on that countries agents and reporting to a third nation. Thus Colquhoun Grant (Wellington's Chief Intelligence officer) had undercover Spanish agents in Spain sniffing out French agents in Spain
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Old 14 Aug 15, 08:53
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Spies get to use shoephones!



And the Cone of Silence!

Well, at least, Control agents do!
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Old 14 Aug 15, 17:41
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Spies also include agents of influence like Agent Boot.
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