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Peter McKenna

Books about Intelligence Services

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I have been trying to organize my library of books about Intelligence Services around the world, MI5, MI6, the CIA, OSS, Mossad, KGB, GRU, etc. I have accumulated a few books but over the past few years I let them drift apart (actually if I'm not careful, my wife packs them away). I am going to attempt to reread them.

Anyway, if you wouldn't mind, I'd like to list them, and if you could recommend any additional books, or any editorializing of these, I would appreciate it.

“By Way of Deception”, Victor Ostrovsky

“MI-6”, Nigel West

“Dirty Works”, Phillip Agee

“Reilly, Ace of Spies”, Robin Bruce Lockhart (by the way, I’m told Reilly was Ian Fleming’s inspiration for the James Bond character).

“Intrepid’s Last Case”, William Stevenson

“The Target is Destroyed” Seymour Hersh

“KGB Today: The Hidden hand”, John Barron (Contemporary in the 1970s, but good historically)

“Spy Catcher”, Peter Wright

“Great True Spy Stories”, Allen Dulles

“Her Majesties’ Secret Service”, Christopher Andrew

“The Circus”, Nigel West

“British Military Intelligence; 1870-1914”, Thomas G. Ferguson

“A Matter of Trust; MI5, 1945-1972”, Nigel West

“The Shadow Warriors”, Bradley F. Smith

“A Thread of Deceit”, Nigel West

“Sidney Reilly, Britain’s Master Spy; His Own Story”

“The True Story of the World’s Greatest Spy; Sidney Reilly”, Michael Kettle

“The Spymasters of Israel”, Stewart Steven

I’ve also read several loaned and Library books, the titles of which I cannot remember.

One book however was especially interesting. It concerned the Intelligence Services side of the history of the War in Vietnam, identifying the OSS ties with Ho Chi Minh (known as Dr. Ho), when he was an OSS asset against the Japanese during WWII. It also talked about how the US originally was neutral concerning the French Indochina war until Eisenhower decided we should support the French. One story from this book talks about how the CIA, in an attempt to identify Sampans smuggling Viet Cong arms up the Mekong Delta, paid the local Sampans to “disappear” on a forthcoming specified date, so that the CIA could manage the searches, however each day that approached the specified date (as the CIA continued to pay off the locals to stay away) more and more Sampans kept showing up. When the specified date arrived the Delta was brimming with local Sampans. This book contained this and several other embarrassing stories, but I can’t remember the name or who wrote it. I would like to get a copy for my collection if anyone might know the title.

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Some other interesting ones are:

DEEP BLACK by William E. Burrows (details history of US intelligence satellite surveillance)

TOO SECRET, TOO LONG by Chapman Pincher (MI5 / MI6)

THE DECEIVERS by Thaddeus Holt (Allied military deception operations in WWII, but still a good read)

An excellent one about Australia is BREAKING THE CODES by Des Ball & David Horner. About SIGINT in Australia, VENONA decrypts, and KGB penetration in Australia.

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I have been trying to organize my library of books about Intelligence Services around the world, MI5, MI6, the CIA, OSS, Mossad, KGB, GRU, etc. I have accumulated a few books but over the past few years I let them drift apart (actually if I'm not careful, my wife packs them away). I am going to attempt to reread them.

Peter, could you please add a photograph of yourself? Forum rules do not allow joke avatars.

I would also recommend the work of John Parados. I have not read the latest one mention by Michael Hogan but "The Presidents' Secret Wars" (1986) is very good.

The best books are usually written by rebel insiders. For example:

Philip Agee, Inside the Company: CIA Diary (1975)

Philip Agee, Dirty Work: The CIA in Western Europe (1978)

Philip Agee, On The Run (1987)

Victor Marchetti, The CIA and the Cult of Intelligence (1973)

John Stockwell, CIA: In Search of Enemies (1978)

John Stockwell, The Praetorian Guard: The US Role in the New World Order (1991)

I am in contact with Philip Agee (he lives in Cuba). I have tried to persuade him to join the forum without success. He probably thinks I am working for the CIA. Victor Marchetti has also turned me down (or his daughter has who protects him from people like me).

My favourite book on the CIA is: David C. Martin, Wilderness of Mirrors (1980).

The book that I would love to read has never been published. Cleveland C. Cram, the former Chief of Station in the Western Hemisphere, was asked by George T. Kalaris, Chief of Counterintelligence, to investigate CIA covert operations between 1954 and 1974. Cram accepted the assignment and his study, entitled History of the Counterintelligence Staff 1954-1974, took six years to complete. As David Wise points out in his book Molehunt (1992): "When Cram finally finished it in 1981... he had produced twelve legal-sized volumes, each three hundred to four hundred pages. Cram's approximately four-thousand-page study has never been declassified. It remains locked in the CIA's vaults."

Cram continued to do research for the CIA on counterintelligence matters. In 1993 he completed a study carried out on behalf of the CIA's Center for the Study of Intelligence (CSI). Of Moles and Molehunters: A Review of Counterintelligence Literature. This document was declassified in 2003. In this work Cram looks at the reliability of information found in books about the American and British intelligence agencies. Cram praises certain authors for writing accurate accounts of these covert activities. He is especially complimentary about David Martin's Wilderness of Mirrors. Cram points out that Martin does “not name his sources, footnote the book, or provide a bibliography and other academic paraphernalia” but is invariably accurate about what he says about the CIA. Cram adds that luckily Martin’s book did not sell well and is now a collectors item. (It has recently been republished).

There are a couple of "limited hangouts" that are worth reading. According Victor Marchetti "limited hangouts is spy jargon for a favorite and frequently used gimmick of the clandestine professionals. When their veil of secrecy is shredded and they can no longer rely on a phony cover story to misinform the public, they resort to admitting - sometimes even volunteering some of the truth while still managing to withhold the key and damaging facts in the case. The public, however, is usually so intrigued by the new information that it never thinks to pursue the matter further."

Thomas Powers, The Man Who Kept the Secrets (1979)

Evan Thomas, The Very Best Men: The Early Years of the CIA (1995)

David Corn, Blond Ghost: Ted Shackley and the CIA's Crusades (1994)

I would also highly recommend Angus MacKenzie's "Secrets: The CIA's War at Home (1997). It probably cost him his life.

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I have been trying to organize my library of books about Intelligence Services around the world, MI5, MI6, the CIA, OSS, Mossad, KGB, GRU, etc. I have accumulated a few books but over the past few years I let them drift apart (actually if I'm not careful, my wife packs them away). I am going to attempt to reread them.

Peter, could you please add a photograph of yourself? Forum rules do not allow joke avatars.

I would also recommend the work of John Parados. I have not read the latest one mention by Michael Hogan but "The Presidents' Secret Wars" (1986) is very good.

The best books are usually written by rebel insiders. For example:

Philip Agee, Inside the Company: CIA Diary (1975)

Philip Agee, Dirty Work: The CIA in Western Europe (1978)

Philip Agee, On The Run (1987)

Victor Marchetti, The CIA and the Cult of Intelligence (1973)

John Stockwell, CIA: In Search of Enemies (1978)

John Stockwell, The Praetorian Guard: The US Role in the New World Order (1991)

I am in contact with Philip Agee (he lives in Cuba). I have tried to persuade him to join the forum without success. He probably thinks I am working for the CIA. Victor Marchetti has also turned me down (or his daughter has who protects him from people like me).

My favourite book on the CIA is: David C. Martin, Wilderness of Mirrors (1980).

The book that I would love to read has never been published. Cleveland C. Cram, the former Chief of Station in the Western Hemisphere, was asked by George T. Kalaris, Chief of Counterintelligence, to investigate CIA covert operations between 1954 and 1974. Cram accepted the assignment and his study, entitled History of the Counterintelligence Staff 1954-1974, took six years to complete. As David Wise points out in his book Molehunt (1992): "When Cram finally finished it in 1981... he had produced twelve legal-sized volumes, each three hundred to four hundred pages. Cram's approximately four-thousand-page study has never been declassified. It remains locked in the CIA's vaults."

Cram continued to do research for the CIA on counterintelligence matters. In 1993 he completed a study carried out on behalf of the CIA's Center for the Study of Intelligence (CSI). Of Moles and Molehunters: A Review of Counterintelligence Literature. This document was declassified in 2003. In this work Cram looks at the reliability of information found in books about the American and British intelligence agencies. Cram praises certain authors for writing accurate accounts of these covert activities. He is especially complimentary about David Martin's Wilderness of Mirrors. Cram points out that Martin does “not name his sources, footnote the book, or provide a bibliography and other academic paraphernalia” but is invariably accurate about what he says about the CIA. Cram adds that luckily Martin’s book did not sell well and is now a collectors item. (It has recently been republished).

There are a couple of "limited hangouts" that are worth reading. According Victor Marchetti "limited hangouts is spy jargon for a favorite and frequently used gimmick of the clandestine professionals. When their veil of secrecy is shredded and they can no longer rely on a phony cover story to misinform the public, they resort to admitting - sometimes even volunteering some of the truth while still managing to withhold the key and damaging facts in the case. The public, however, is usually so intrigued by the new information that it never thinks to pursue the matter further."

Thomas Powers, The Man Who Kept the Secrets (1979)

Evan Thomas, The Very Best Men: The Early Years of the CIA (1995)

David Corn, Blond Ghost: Ted Shackley and the CIA's Crusades (1994)

I would also highly recommend Angus MacKenzie's "Secrets: The CIA's War at Home (1997). It probably cost him his life.

Yes, sorry about the Avatar, I just haven't been able to take a digital picture of myself as yet. I was just fooling with the avatar tools and was going to put something up until I got around to finding a digital camera ( I don't have any current pictures of myself to scan, although I have one maybe fifteen - twenty years old), again sorry for the delay, but I will get around to sending in a picture.

Concerning my search for the book about the OSS and the origins of the Vietnam War, did David Halberstam write a book along those lines? His name seems familiar in that context. The book was lent to me by a Soviet Emigre friend of mine, "Izzy", who came over under the Helsinki agreement. He had a huge library of Intel books and enjoyed a hobby reading about that field (Izzy's hero was Al Haig, which inspired me to read "Caveat", which was just OK, but not very deep considering the posts Secretary Haig has held).

Could it have been Angus Mackenzie? This certainly seems to have been in his vein of writing, although I'm sorry to hear he lost his life (esp. if it was due to the publicizing of past US Intel subject matter, and if it was, from what I have read, his work didn't seem to me to be of a classified nature, embarrassing maybe).

Thanks for the recommendations, I should be able to begin adding some of these to my library.

Great excuse for a trip to Barnes and Noble anyway!

PM

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I have been trying to organize my library of books about Intelligence Services around the world, MI5, MI6, the CIA, OSS, Mossad, KGB, GRU, etc. I have accumulated a few books but over the past few years I let them drift apart (actually if I'm not careful, my wife packs them away). I am going to attempt to reread them.

Peter, could you please add a photograph of yourself? Forum rules do not allow joke avatars.

I would also recommend the work of John Parados. I have not read the latest one mention by Michael Hogan but "The Presidents' Secret Wars" (1986) is very good.

The best books are usually written by rebel insiders. For example:

Philip Agee, Inside the Company: CIA Diary (1975)

Philip Agee, Dirty Work: The CIA in Western Europe (1978)

Philip Agee, On The Run (1987)

Victor Marchetti, The CIA and the Cult of Intelligence (1973)

John Stockwell, CIA: In Search of Enemies (1978)

John Stockwell, The Praetorian Guard: The US Role in the New World Order (1991)

I am in contact with Philip Agee (he lives in Cuba). I have tried to persuade him to join the forum without success. He probably thinks I am working for the CIA. Victor Marchetti has also turned me down (or his daughter has who protects him from people like me).

My favourite book on the CIA is: David C. Martin, Wilderness of Mirrors (1980).

The book that I would love to read has never been published. Cleveland C. Cram, the former Chief of Station in the Western Hemisphere, was asked by George T. Kalaris, Chief of Counterintelligence, to investigate CIA covert operations between 1954 and 1974. Cram accepted the assignment and his study, entitled History of the Counterintelligence Staff 1954-1974, took six years to complete. As David Wise points out in his book Molehunt (1992): "When Cram finally finished it in 1981... he had produced twelve legal-sized volumes, each three hundred to four hundred pages. Cram's approximately four-thousand-page study has never been declassified. It remains locked in the CIA's vaults."

Cram continued to do research for the CIA on counterintelligence matters. In 1993 he completed a study carried out on behalf of the CIA's Center for the Study of Intelligence (CSI). Of Moles and Molehunters: A Review of Counterintelligence Literature. This document was declassified in 2003. In this work Cram looks at the reliability of information found in books about the American and British intelligence agencies. Cram praises certain authors for writing accurate accounts of these covert activities. He is especially complimentary about David Martin's Wilderness of Mirrors. Cram points out that Martin does “not name his sources, footnote the book, or provide a bibliography and other academic paraphernalia” but is invariably accurate about what he says about the CIA. Cram adds that luckily Martin’s book did not sell well and is now a collectors item. (It has recently been republished).

There are a couple of "limited hangouts" that are worth reading. According Victor Marchetti "limited hangouts is spy jargon for a favorite and frequently used gimmick of the clandestine professionals. When their veil of secrecy is shredded and they can no longer rely on a phony cover story to misinform the public, they resort to admitting - sometimes even volunteering some of the truth while still managing to withhold the key and damaging facts in the case. The public, however, is usually so intrigued by the new information that it never thinks to pursue the matter further."

Thomas Powers, The Man Who Kept the Secrets (1979)

Evan Thomas, The Very Best Men: The Early Years of the CIA (1995)

David Corn, Blond Ghost: Ted Shackley and the CIA's Crusades (1994)

I would also highly recommend Angus MacKenzie's "Secrets: The CIA's War at Home (1997). It probably cost him his life.

Yes, sorry about the Avatar, I just haven't been able to take a digital picture of myself as yet. I was just fooling with the avatar tools and was going to put something up until I got around to finding a digital camera ( I don't have any current pictures of myself to scan, although I have one maybe fifteen - twenty years old), again sorry for the delay, but I will get around to sending in a picture.

Concerning my search for the book about the OSS and the origins of the Vietnam War, did David Halberstam write a book along those lines? His name seems familiar in that context. The book was lent to me by a Soviet Emigre friend of mine, "Izzy", who came over under the Helsinki agreement. He had a huge library of Intel books and enjoyed a hobby reading about that field (Izzy's hero was Al Haig, which inspired me to read "Caveat", which was just OK, but not very deep considering the posts Secretary Haig has held).

Could it have been Angus Mackenzie? This certainly seems to have been in his vein of writing, although I'm sorry to hear he lost his life (esp. if it was due to the publicizing of past US Intel subject matter, and if it was, from what I have read, his work didn't seem to me to be of a classified nature, embarrassing maybe).

Thanks for the recommendations, I should be able to begin adding some of these to my library.

Great excuse for a trip to Barnes and Noble anyway!

PM

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By the way I have been reading "The Taking of America, 1, 2, 3" By Richard Sprague. Don't know what to make of this yet. If half of what he says is true this is scary stuff.

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Thanks for the recommendations, I should be able to begin adding some of these to my library.

Great excuse for a trip to Barnes and Noble anyway!

I would suggest you get them from Abebooks. It is where I get all my books from.

http://www.abebooks.co.uk/

Do a search from their website and they will tell you where you can find the cheapest copy.

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A History of British Secret Service, Richard Deacon, 1969

British Security Coordination: The Secret History of British Intelligence in the Americas, 1940-1945, (edited by Sir William Stephenson), 1945?

Room 3603: The story of the British Intelligence Center in New York during World War II (published in the UK and Canada as The Quiet Canadian), by H. Montgomery Hyde, 1962

Wild Bill and Intrepid: Donovan, Stephenson, and the Origin of the CIA, by Thomas F. Troy, 1996

Desperate Deception: British Covert Operations in the United States, 1939-44, by Thomas E. Mahl, 1998

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Guest John Gillespie

I have been trying to organize my library of books about Intelligence Services around the world, MI5, MI6, the CIA, OSS, Mossad, KGB, GRU, etc. I have accumulated a few books but over the past few years I let them drift apart (actually if I'm not careful, my wife packs them away). I am going to attempt to reread them.

Anyway, if you wouldn't mind, I'd like to list them, and if you could recommend any additional books, or any editorializing of these, I would appreciate it.

“By Way of Deception”, Victor Ostrovsky

“MI-6”, Nigel West

“Dirty Works”, Phillip Agee

“Reilly, Ace of Spies”, Robin Bruce Lockhart (by the way, I’m told Reilly was Ian Fleming’s inspiration for the James Bond character).

“Intrepid’s Last Case”, William Stevenson

“The Target is Destroyed” Seymour Hersh

“KGB Today: The Hidden hand”, John Barron (Contemporary in the 1970s, but good historically)

“Spy Catcher”, Peter Wright

“Great True Spy Stories”, Allen Dulles

“Her Majesties’ Secret Service”, Christopher Andrew

“The Circus”, Nigel West

“British Military Intelligence; 1870-1914”, Thomas G. Ferguson

“A Matter of Trust; MI5, 1945-1972”, Nigel West

“The Shadow Warriors”, Bradley F. Smith

“A Thread of Deceit”, Nigel West

“Sidney Reilly, Britain’s Master Spy; His Own Story”

“The True Story of the World’s Greatest Spy; Sidney Reilly”, Michael Kettle

“The Spymasters of Israel”, Stewart Steven

I’ve also read several loaned and Library books, the titles of which I cannot remember.

One book however was especially interesting. It concerned the Intelligence Services side of the history of the War in Vietnam, identifying the OSS ties with Ho Chi Minh (known as Dr. Ho), when he was an OSS asset against the Japanese during WWII. It also talked about how the US originally was neutral concerning the French Indochina war until Eisenhower decided we should support the French. One story from this book talks about how the CIA, in an attempt to identify Sampans smuggling Viet Cong arms up the Mekong Delta, paid the local Sampans to “disappear” on a forthcoming specified date, so that the CIA could manage the searches, however each day that approached the specified date (as the CIA continued to pay off the locals to stay away) more and more Sampans kept showing up. When the specified date arrived the Delta was brimming with local Sampans. This book contained this and several other embarrassing stories, but I can’t remember the name or who wrote it. I would like to get a copy for my collection if anyone might know the title.

_______________________________________

Peter,

Strongly recommended are: "The PenkovskyPapers", By Oleg Vladimirovich Pen£kovskii; also, "The Sword and the Shield: The Mitrokhin Archive and the Secret History of the KGB" by Christopher Andrew, Vasili Mitrokhin. The former is a 1960's classic and the latter reveals that the famous Oswald "Mr. Hunt" note was a forgery perpetrated by the KGB to embarrass the CIA and E. Howard Hunt. It must be noted that a number of conspiracy theorists are loathe to accept that, as if it somehow hurts their case. It doesn't. You probably know that, given your interest and apparent knowledge of Cold War machinations. Good Topic...

Regards,

John Gillespie

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If you want to learn strictly about CIA procedural matters c. 1955-1973, Thomas Powers' 1977 book on Richard Helms, "The Man who Kept the Secrets," is useful. I'm reading it now, and the further it strays from Helms, the more useful it is. Jury yet out on some facts and opinions, though.

*Can anyone recommend any good books on the FBI in the post-Hoover through post-9/11 years? Most of what I read (such as Ronald Kessler) is fawning, slight, simplistic. Help here would be appreciated.

Edited by David Andrews

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