In this fascinating analysis, Frederick Hitz, former inspector general of the Central Intelligence Agency, contrasts the writings of well-known authors of spy novels--classic and popular--with real-life espionage cases. Drawing on personal experience both as a participant in "the Great Game" and as the first presidentially appointed inspector general, Hitz shows the remarkable degree to which truth is stranger than fiction.
The vivid cast of characters includes real life spies Pyotr Popov and Oleg Penkovsky from Soviet military intelligence; Kim Philby, the infamous Soviet spy; Aldrich Ames, the most damaging CIA spy to American interests in the Cold War; and Duane Clarridge, a CIA career operations officer. They are held up against such legendary genre spies as Bill Haydon (le Carri's mole in Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy), Magnus Pym (in le Carri's A Perfect Spy), Tom Rogers (in David Ignatius's Agents of Innocence), and Maurice Castle (in Graham Greene's The Human Factor).
As Hitz skillfully weaves examples from a wide range of espionage activities--from covert action to counterintelligence to classic agent operations--we see that the actual is often more compelling than the imaginary, and that real spy case histories present moral and other questions far more pointedly than fiction.
A lively account of espionage, spy tradecraft, and, most of all, the human dilemmas of betrayal, manipulation, and deceit.
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May 09, 2005
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Excerpt from The Great Game by Fredrick P. Hitz
To be blunt, leadership is the ability to dominate and get your way. To do that requires the ability to inspire and provide trust, self-confidence, recognizable professional skills, caring, and many other qualities.
I submit you need these same skills when recruiting an agent, whose cooperation with you, if exposed, holds risk of death, imprisonment, or at a minimum dishonor. As you move into the recruitment "pitch" and the full dimensions of what you are asking dawns on the prospective agent, he or she looks at you with consummate disbelief, even when he or she more or less expects something is coming. Although perhaps not articulated, their eyes scream that what you want is the most ludicrous thing ever requested of them. In the end you succeed through leadership, for through the development of the agent you have brought yourself into a position of dominance and trust.
This excerpt from Duane "Dewey" Clarridge's autobiography is an experienced spy runner's take on the qualities needed to effect recruitment of an agent. In order to collect secret information from foreign countries, which is the essence of spying, one must recruit human sources to gain access to that information. Clarridge has described the straight-up recruitment approach, at which he was adept, but that approach is obviously not the only way to acquire the keys to the secret kingdom. There are as many possibilities as there are human foibles and motivations to exploit. In the textbook case, recruitment occurs only after the potential spy has been identified as having access to the information being sought, has been assessed as vulnerable to a recruitment approach, and has been cultivated to bring him into a state of mind where he might consider a recruitment pitch without denouncing the recruiter to the authorities. The object of the recruitment pitch is to acquire control over the prospective spy so that he will accept direction from the spy runner.
Seldom does the saga unfold in the manner prescribed in the Sarratt (the British Secret Intelligence Service, known as SIS or MI6) or CIA training manuals. A good fictional illustration of this is contained in David Ignatius's account of agent operations in the Middle East, Agents of Innocence. The central character, CIA case officer Tom Rogers (who is loosely modeled on a real CIA officer killed in the Beirut embassy bombing in 1983), cultivates the deputy chief of Fatah intelligence as a secret informant on terrorist threats to U.S. citizens traveling and working in Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt. Rogers is an experienced Arabist with good Arabic-language skills who painstakingly establishes rapport with PECOCK, as the Fatah official is encrypted. (A recruited or potential spy is given a cryptonym in order to protect his identity in normal correspondence between the field and Headquarters.) Rogers's recruitment philosophy is remarkably uncomplicated. It is based on the simple observation that people like to talk: old politicians want to tell war stories and young revolutionaries want to explain how they plan to change the world. Rogers observes that they should not be telling him these things but they always do. All of them, all over the world, seek the ear of an interested American, he believes, and with his open, straightforward approach, just listening beats all the gadgets and formal contractual procedures for obtaining useful secret information.
Recruiting someone is about getting him to do what you want, rather than just forcing him to do what he doesn't want. I learned a long time ago that it's easy to manipulate people-if you know what you want from them and don't tell them why you're being so friendly.