HIS343Y1 History of Modern Espionage 18/09/2012
Lecture 2 Contextual
Check website of course
4 weeks until first assignment (start this weekend) look at topics in library, find relevant books.
Use syllabus as a guide and start some advanced reading.
- Look at Israel
Clarification of what is espionage, intelligence or spy is needed. There are ways in which pop.
culture has painted the picture of espionage but it is not very relevant to the study itself. Have to
distinguish espionage from other areas both practical and theoretical.
How old do we think espionage is? People tend to think they know the answer but they are
wrong. The paradox is that at first glance, intelligence would appear to be a very old and long
established tactic of statecraft. You can find some historical examples of spying from early
civilization of Empires i.e. narratives of spying in the Old Testament and a strategic manual
about the discussion of deception Sun Tsu 6th century B.C. (The Art of War) These examples all
point to a notion that intelligence is long established and seems to be congruent with the idea of
statecraft and security. But the problem with this is that while we have lots of examples of
historic espionage, there's something missing in this historical record: at no time in global history
do we see intelligence emerging as a fully fledged idea with historical foundation (had a ghostly
presence) meaning that until recently (1900) there are aspects of intelligence that are missing
until modernity. The three missing pieces =
Three P's of Intelligence: (Permanence, Profession, Power)
Up until 1900, the practice of espionage or intelligence gathering is never permanent.
Second distinguishing feature is that after 1900 something else happens that doesn't
happen in historical records before: Idea of a profession of intelligence as a
specialization. + Idea of mystique of spying or of the profession of spying. Profession +
Aspiration with regards to intelligence power that is increasingly realized as the 20th
century proceeds. Intelligence power means two things: power aka capacity to do or
know things aka internal power and secondly, power as influence the ways in which
intelligence systems as they increase their capacities, have greater scales of influence on
state decision making for domestic and international security issues.
Intelligence is fairly young and recent. Just as intelligence is recent, the study of intelligence is
even more recent (about mid 1970's). Part of the reason for that time lag had to do with secrecy.
When coming up with bibliographies, remember that literature tends to be quite focused on key
issues i.e. American, British, European intelligence but there are large parts of the world for
which there isn't literature. One example, for Chinese modern espionage there is roughly one
book on the issue in English. The reason for this because in a country like China, the issue remains very secret and protected by two layers of secrecy. This phenomenon makes literature
on intelligence, patchy.
Who drives the exploration of intelligence modernity? The effort to create the conditions of
modernity (building institutions, launching growth of intelligence power) the drivers are the
great powers of the international system. They have the need, the capacity etc. The European
club of great powers implodes and inherited by others (U.S. and U.S.S.R) but the drivers of
change are the premier powers in the international system. Literature is about how these leading
powers develop and change intelligence.
Our focus is going to be very state centric and how states develop and use or misuse intelligence.
In particular, state powers who are of the leading edge in 21st century intelligence.
Will look at what it was about the year 1900 that lead to the creation of modern
intelligence. Starting point of our historical study. Why 1900 and not before or after?
What is unique about that time period?
What is this thing? The problem with this is that the thing we're talking about doesn't fit well
with popular culture images. We need some kind of working definition for purposes of clarity, as
a guide and tool to navigate historical change. But, there is no generic practice of intelligence
and therefore, definition may be controversial and elusive. Intelligence is rooted in history,
culture, attributes of political systems and therefore takes many different shapes depending on
country, government, period. There is no one size fits all definition - need to find universal
characteristics that fit as many types of intelligence as possible but, won't fit all.
Is the American point of view really the general, universal one? Definitions are in the mind of
the author and need to be shaped by the eye of the beholder.
Intelligence is information.