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Espionage is a practice of obtaining information about an organization or a society that is considered secret or confidential (spying) without the permission of the holder of the information. What differentiates espionage from other forms of intelligence work is that espionage involves obtaining the information by accessing the place where the information is stored or accessing the people who know the information and will divulge it through some kind of subterfuge.

Espionage is usually thought of as part of an institutional effort (i.e., governmental or corporate espionage). The term espionage 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 defence."

A spy is a person employed to obtain such secrets. The term intelligence officer is also used to describe a member of the armed forces, police, or civilian intelligence agency who specialises in the gathering, fusion, and analysis of information and intelligence in order to provide advice to their government or another organisation. In general, intelligence officers travel to foreign countries to recruit and "run" intelligence agents, who in turn spy on their own governments. These agents can be moles (who are recruited before they get access to secrets) or defectors (who are recruited after they get access to secrets).

The risks vary. An officer may be breaking the host country's laws and can be deported or imprisoned. An agent breaking his/her own country's laws can be imprisoned for espionage or even executed for treason. For example, when Aldrich Ames handed a stack of dossiers of CIA agents 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. In the vernacular, he was "PNGed" (pronounced "pinged"). 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: he was an "illegal," operating without diplomatic cover.

Spymaster is a term often used in literature for the superior of a spy ring.


[edit] 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, they played a significant part in Elizabethan England (see Francis Walsingham). Many modern espionage methods were well established even then. [1]

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.

For three decades the United States has cultivated its best and brightest to pre-eminence in what is now known as the field of communication and control. As technology has advanced, the means and methods of espionage have advanced from Nixon era wire tapping, through Reagan era programs like ECHELON and Carnivore, to surveillance of all electronic transmissions including cell phone logs, voice mail, email, packet sniffing, trace routing and wireless transmissions.

However, the Soviet Union has been said to have had fielded the largest and most advanced spy networks during its time, infiltrating some of the most secure places on the planet, which has caused many scandals.

Since January of 2000, a long list of agencies have been data mining the world's stock exchanges; this program was formalized on October 26, 2001 in the form of the Patriot Act. This helps track the financing of people who might be laundering money from drug transactions. For a variety of reasons, including changes in technology, it has been necessary to do this without warrants and it is argued that the necessity makes it legal.

In order to gather political and economic information that might be of advantage to the United States, foreign communications are routinely subject to surveillance. In 2002, new programs of satellite surveillance and unmanned low level drones armed with missiles made it possible not only to perform surveillance in real time, but to respond with force.

[edit] Spies in various conflicts

See also: Intelligence agency and Special Operations Executive

[edit] Espionage technology and techniques

[edit] Spy fiction

Main article: Spy fiction

Since not much is publicly known about real-life secret agents, the popular conception of the secret agent has been formed largely by 20th and 21st century literature and cinema. Similar to the character of the private eye, the secret agent is usually a loner, sometimes amoral, an existential hero operating outside the everyday constraints of society. James Bond, the protagonist of Ian Fleming's novels who went on to spawn an extremely successful film franchise, is probably the most famous fictional secret agent of all. 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 Nikita, played by Peta Wilson, and Michael Samuelle, played by Roy Dupuis, in the TV series La Femme Nikita (1997-2001) and Sydney Bristow, played by Jennifer Garner, in the subsequent TV series Alias (2001-2006).

Spy fiction has also become prevalent in video gaming, where the "wetworks" 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, Metal Gear and Splinter Cell.

[edit] See also

[edit] Further reading

[edit] Surveys

  • Andrew, Christopher. For the President's Eyes Only: Secret Intelligence and the American Presidency from Washington to Bush (1996)
  • Black, Ian. Israel's Secret Wars: A History of Israel's Intelligence Services (1992)
  • Bungert, Heike et al eds. Secret Intelligence in the Twentieth Century (2003) essays by scholars
  • Friedman, George. America's Secret War: Inside the Hidden Worldwide Struggle Between the United States and Its Enemies (2005), since 9-11
  • Johnson, Robert, 'Spying for Empire: The Great Game in Central and South Asia, 1757-1947' (London: Greenhill, 2006) British Intelligence and its imperial connection
  • Kahn, David The Codebreakers: The Comprehensive History of Secret Communication from Ancient Times to the Internet (1996), 1200 pages
  • Knightley, Philip. The Second Oldest Profession: Spies and Spying in the Twentieth Century (1986)
  • Lerner, K. Lee and Brenda Wilmoth Lerner, eds. Encyclopedia of Espionage, Intelligence and Security (2003), 1100 pages. 850 articles, strongest on technology
  • O'Toole, George. Honorable Treachery: A History of U.S. Intelligence, Espionage, Covert Action from the American Revolution to the CIA (1991)
  • Owen, David. Hidden Secrets: A Complete History of Espionage and the Technology Used to Support It (2002), popular
  • Richelson, Jeffery T. A Century of Spies: Intelligence in the Twentieth Century (1997)
  • Richelson, Jeffery T. The U.S. Intelligence Community (4th ed. 1999)
  • Smith Jr., W. Thomas. Encyclopedia of the Central Intelligence Agency (2003), popular
  • West, Nigel. MI6: British Secret Intelligence Service Operations 1909-1945 (1983)
  • [2]

Delgado, Arturo, Counterfeit Reich: Hitler's Secret Swindle, 2005 ISBN 1-4241-0389-4

  • West, Nigel. Secret War: The Story of SOE, Britain's Wartime Sabotage Organization (1992)
  • Wohlstetter, Roberta. Pearl Harbor: Warning and Decision (1962)

[edit] World War I

  • Beesly, Patrick. Room 40. (1982). Covers the breaking of German codes by RN intelligence, including the Turkish bribe, Zimmermann telegram, and failure at Jutland.
  • Kahn, David. The Codebreakers. (1996). Covers the breaking of Russian codes and the victory at Tannenberg.
  • May, Ernest (ed.) Knowing One's Enemies: Intelligence Assessment before the Two World Wars (1984)
  • Tuchman, Barbara W. The Zimmermann Telegram (1966)

[edit] World War II: 1931-1945

  • Babington-Smith, Constance. Air Spy: The Story of Photo Intelligence in World War II (1957)
  • 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. The Codebreakers. (1996).
  • 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)
  • Lewin, Ronald. The American Magic: Codes, Ciphers and the Defeat of Japan (1982)
  • May, Ernest (ed.) Knowing One's Enemies: Intelligence Assessment before the Two World Wars (1984)
  • 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)
  • 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 K."Cryptographic Innocence: The Origins of Signals Intelligence in Canada in the Second World War", Journal of Contemporary History 22 (1987)

[edit] Cold War Era: 1945-1991

  • 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 (1999)
  • 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 by
  • Christopher Andrew and Vasili Mitrokhin, The Sword and the Shield: The Mitrokhin Archive and the Secret History of the KGB, Basic Books (1999), hardcover, ISBN 0-465-00310-9; trade paperback (September, 2000), ISBN 0-465-00312-5
  • Christopher Andrew and Vasili Mitrokhin, The World Was Going Our Way: The KGB and the Battle for the Third World, Basic Books (2005) hardcover, 677 pages ISBN 0-476-00311-7
  • Christopher Andrew and Vasili Mitrokhin, The Mitrokhin Archive: The KGB in Europe and the West, Gardners Books (2000), ISBN 0-14-028487-7
  • Craig, R. Bruce (2004). Treasonable Doubt: The Harry Dexter White Spy Case. University Press of Kansas. ISBN 0-7006-1311-0.
  • 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)
  • 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)
  • Murphy, David E., Sergei A. Kondrashev, and George Bailey. Battleground Berlin: CIA vs. KGB in the Cold War (1997).
  • Persico, Joseph. Casey: The Lives and Secrets of William J. Casey-From the OSS to the CIA (1991)
  • 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 (2000), CIA head to 1961
  • Trahair, Richard C. S. Encyclopedia of Cold War Espionage, Spies and Secret Operations (2004), by an Australian scholar; contains excellent historiographical introduction
  • Weinstein, Allen, and Alexander Vassiliev. The Haunted Wood: Soviet Espionage in America—The Stalin Era (1999).
  • Spectre, One Man's View

[edit] References

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