Philby's boss was Sir Stewart Menzies, who, we are told, "rode to hounds, mixed with royalty, never missed a day at Ascot, drank a great deal, and kept his secrets buttoned up behind a small, fierce mustache. He preferred women to men and horses to both." Menzies was an amateur at a time when his adversaries were professionals. Philby's fellow Soviet spy Donald Maclean was a mess. But since he was a mess with the right accent and background he easily found a home in the British spy service. At one point, Macintyre says, Maclean "got drunk, smashed up the Cairo flat of two secretaries at the U.S. embassy, ripped up their underwear, and hurled a large mirror off the wall, breaking a large bath in two. He was sent home, placed under the care of a Harley Street psychiatrist, and then, amazingly, after a short period of treatment, promoted to head the American desk at the Foreign Office."
Kim Philby, the Soviet spy who infiltrated MI6, is the subject of a Malcolm Gladwell article in The New Yorker
. Gladwell argues that Philby's story is not about spying but "the hazards of mistrust." He is interviewed on a New Yorker podcast
about his article. Gladwell's article is also a review of Ben Macintyre's book on Philby, A Spy Among Friends
. Gladwell reviewed Macintyre's previous book, Operation Mincemeat
and argued that spy agencies might be more trouble than they're worth
posted by Kattullus
on Jul 28, 2014 -
In a survey performed in 2012, Incapsula found that 49% of the visitors to 1,000 selected sites were human
, compared to a growing percentage of "good bots" like search engines, and "bad bots" including hackers, scrapers, spammers and spies of all sorts. Last year, human web visitors accounted for 38.5% of site visitors
, with an increased percentage of search engines and other good bots, and similar ratios for the "shady non-human visitors." [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief
on Feb 27, 2014 -
What do you need to be an international CONTROL super spy fighting the forces of KAOS? A Shoe-Phone. A Cone of Silence. A Bulletproof Invisible Wall and a Laser Blazer. Then, and only then, can you Get Smart. [more inside]
posted by zarq
on Dec 16, 2013 -
It doesn't matter whether you hate the spies and believe they are corroding democracy, or if you think they are the noble guardians of the state. In both cases the assumption is that the secret agents know more than we do. But the strange fact is that often when you look into the history of spies what you discover is something very different. It is not the story of men and women who have a better and deeper understanding of the world than we do. In fact in many cases it is the story of weirdos who have created a completely mad version of the world that they then impose on the rest of us.
—Bugger: Maybe the Real State Secret Is that Spies Aren't Very Good at Their Jobs and Don't Know Very Much About the World
by Adam Curtis. It's about the checkered history of the MI5.
posted by Kattullus
on Aug 9, 2013 -
has spent most of his life cultivating spies and diplomats, who seem to enjoy seeing themselves and their secrets transfigured into pop fiction (with their own names carefully disguised), and his books regularly contain information about terror plots, espionage and wars that has never appeared elsewhere. Other pop novelists, like John le Carré and Tom Clancy, may flavor their work with a few real-world scenarios and some spy lingo, but de Villiers’s books are ahead of the news and sometimes even ahead of events themselves." (SLNYT)
posted by Rustic Etruscan
on Jan 31, 2013 -
"The six CIA officers were sweating. It was almost noon on a June day in the Middle Eastern capital, already in the 90s outside and even hotter inside the black sedan where the five men and one woman sat jammed in together. Sat and waited. They had flown in two days earlier for this mission: to break into the embassy of a South Asian country, steal that country’s secret codes and get out without leaving a trace. During months of planning, they had been assured by the local CIA station that the building would be empty at this hour except for one person—a member of the embassy’s diplomatic staff working secretly for the agency." [The CIA Burglar Who Went Rogue
posted by vidur
on Oct 9, 2012 -
was, at least apocryphally, Winston Churchill's favourite spy. Born Maria Krystyna Janina Skarbek, daughter of a charming but dissolute Polish aristocrat and a Jewish banking heiress, she was described in 1939 as "a flaming Polish patriot … expert skier and great adventuress". So she was.
posted by Chrysostom
on Aug 10, 2012 -
Before the CIA, there was the Pond
-- a highly secret, unacknowledged, and semi-autonomous intelligence agency created by the US military in 1942 as an alternative to the OSS. According the Associated Press, "The organization counted among its exploits an attempt to negotiate the surrender of Germany with Hermann Goering, one of Adolf Hitler's top military leaders, more than six months before the war ended; an effort to enlist mobster Charles 'Lucky' Luciano in a plot to assassinate Italian dictator Benito Mussolini; identifying the location of the German heavy water plants doing atomic research in Norway; and providing advance information on Russia's first atomic bomb explosion." But the CIA says that its record was "largely one of failure and impermanence
posted by twirlip
on Aug 3, 2010 -
For Graham Greene he was "unquestionably our best thriller writer". John le Carré once called him "the source on which we all draw". With the six novels he wrote in the years leading up to the second world war - five of which have just been reissued by Penguin Modern Classics - Eric Ambler revitalised the British thriller, rescuing the genre from the jingoistic clutches of third-rate imitators of John Buchan, and recasting it in a more realist, nuanced and leftishly intelligent - not to mention exciting - mould.
- The writing of Eric Ambler
posted by Artw
on Jun 6, 2009 -
Wired: Obama Sides With Bush in Spy Case. "The Obama administration fell in line with the Bush administration Thursday when it urged a federal judge to set aside a ruling in a closely watched spy case weighing whether a U.S. president may bypass Congress and establish a program of eavesdropping on Americans without warrants."
posted by blue_beetle
on Jan 23, 2009 -
"Well behaved women rarely make history," said Laurel Thatcher Ulrich. Scandalous Women
brings you the lives, loves, and sexual adventures of some of the most fascinating women who rocked the world. Like Olimpia Maidalchini
who managed to achieve something that no woman ever has, for the 11 years of her brother-in-law Innocent X's reign as pope, Olimpia was the real power at the Vatican; or Elizabeth Armistead
, wife of a cabinet minister, courtesan to many. Read the bios and follow the tales of nearly a hundred women of scandalous pursuit from Mata Hari
to Typhoid Mary
posted by netbros
on Jan 16, 2009 -
There may be some among us who can imagine 20 days in captivity; perhaps a fraction of those can imagine a full year deprived of liberty and most human contact. But 20 years? Downey and Fecteau have consistently sought to downplay their period of imprisonment; and neither has done what arguably too many former CIA officers do these days with far less justification: write a book. Downey has said that such a book would contain "500 blank pages," and Fecteau says the whole experience could be summed up by the word "boring."
Extraordinary Fidelity: Two CIA Prisoners in China, 1952–73 [secure link]
by Nicholas Dujmovic, a CIA historian and a veteran intelligence analyst. Time article about Downey and Fecteau
posted by Kattullus
on May 3, 2007 -
WANTED: The Limping Lady.
The Gestapo's poster read "She is one of the most valuable Allied agents in France and we must find and destroy her"
but Virginia Hall, who used a prosthetic limb after losing a leg years before in a hunting accident, eluded them and saved countless Allied lives while working as a spy during WWII. Additional biographical information, as well as the biographies of other famous female spies, at WWII Female Spies
(which has many outgoing links to other great informational resources about female spies in WWII).
posted by amyms
on Feb 21, 2007 -
Global Options, Inc.
Have you been unfairly attacked by: the media? trial lawyers? disgruntled workers? terrorists? overzealous federal regulators? competitors? hackers? industrial spies? one-issue activists? extortionists? intellectual property thieves? or even the Russian mafia? Global Options has your back. [warning: radar beeps.]
posted by panoptican
on Dec 4, 2005 -
Why outing Plame mattered.
If you wonder what's really at stake behind all the media buzz around the Fitzgerald indictments, read this lengthy and cogent analysis by Stratfor's
no-nonsense George Friedman. "Rove and Libby had top security clearances and were senior White House officials. It was their sworn duty, undertaken when they accepted their security clearance, to build a 'bodyguard of lies' -- in Churchill's phrase -- around the truth concerning U.S. intelligence capabilities... The minimal story -- that they talked about Plame with a reporter -- is the end of the matter."
posted by digaman
on Oct 18, 2005 -
Has your local supplier of ninja stars dried up? Want to set your truck up with armor plating, oil slick, and caltrops but not sure where to go? Been wondering where to go to get something to eat the paint off your boss' Benz?
Well then! Brandon Enterprises
has got you covered!
posted by kavasa
on Oct 12, 2004 -
National Security Letters and John Doe
--once only issued against suspected terrorists and spies, NSLs now can be used, thanks to the Patriot Act, against all and any of us. John Doe, the currently gagged owner of a small ISP was targeted for the political speech of his customers and is fighting, along with the ACLU and others. More here
(and more inside)
posted by amberglow
on May 30, 2004 -
Report on 9/11 Suggests a Role by Saudi Spies
If this article in the NY Times is accurate, then The Saudi request that the classified pages be made public, and the Bush refusal to do so, is a cooperative effort to keep the public from knowing the Saudi involvement rather than an attempt to protect intelligence methods etc as had been claimed by Bush. Ot, Bush is right (we won't know) and the Times wrong. Take your choice.
posted by Postroad
on Aug 2, 2003 -
Robert Meeropol, the younger son of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg, writes about his parents.
I'm suprised nobody else posted about this yesterday--June 19th was the 50th anniversary of their execution for espionage
The executions at Sing Sing on June 19, 1953, ended a sensational Cold War case that still symbolizes the years when McCarthyism held sway and the government's word was accepted more readily than today. It was the first execution of civilians for espionage in U.S. history and it reverberated into the issues of dissent, anti-Semitism and capital punishment.
Pete Seeger and others comment here
; the Guardian here
. The Committee to Reopen the Rosenberg Trial
(which features representations of the couple by Picasso, among others) notes that:
In August of 1993, members of the American Bar Association Section of Litigation re-enacted the 1951 trial of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg. A moot trial was conducted with expertise and meticulous concern for accuracy. The unanimous verdict of the twelve jurors was "Not Guilty." This "trial" and its dramatic outcome was widely reported by the media - for one day only.
posted by jokeefe
on Jun 20, 2003 -