Thoughts on the military and military activities of a diverse nature. Free-ranging and eclectic.

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

This is coolbert: Modern take on the five categories of spies as listed by Sun:

Local spies. These are what would be normally called the "bread and butter" of intelligence agencies. Local people recruited to do espionage for you. Would comprise most of the spies at your disposal. As your army marches, it recruits locals that can spy for it. Find out who are in resistance, who are friendly, etc. I am sure the U.S. Army in Iraq is recruiting many such spies as we speak. For the type of warfare being fought in Iraq at this moment, the guerilla, insurgent type of warfare, this type of espionage, using local spies, combined with interrogation, is the best source of intelligence you can have. At a strategic level, these persons are referred to in intelligence parlance as "warning agents". Give advance warning of activity that is a precursor of military activity. The skinning of cadavers [for skin grafts of burn victims], large unscheduled blood drives, fortifying of key bridges, calling up of key reservists, etc. All these would herald forthcoming military activity. Having local spies in the nation of your opposition would give you warning of such activity and serve as a source of alert.

Inward spies. Persons serving in civilian and military capacities at the higher echelons of leadership of potential opposition comprise the inward spies. Provide intelligence of a high order on intentions of the enemy. There will normally be but few of these persons available to an intelligence service. But they are highly sought after. Provide what is sometimes called "political" intelligence. Intelligence about the intentions of the enemy. This is the most highly sought type of intelligence.

Converted spies. Spies of the enemy that you catch and persuade to work against their former employees [your enemy]. Modern term would be a double-agent. This is done in such a manner that the enemy still believes that his spy is employed by him and is working on his behalf. All the while is working against him. In this context it is important to realize that counter-intelligence is an important producer of intelligence in it's own right. Counter-intelligences role is not only to prevent the enemy from finding out things, it also produces intelligence as well. By capturing an enemy spy, you find out what the opposition is interested in. By finding out what they are interested in, you gain an insight into their intentions and where they are planning to move. A modern converted spy [double agent] would also be used to feed deceptive information to the enemy. By having converted spies at your disposal, you can accomplish two functions at the same time, develop intelligence and deceive the enemy. The British Double X Operation during WW2 is an archetype of this type of endeavor.

Doomed spies are a most interesting category of spies. Your spies that are specially misleadingly deceived as to their briefing [mission] prior to deployment. You purposefully mislead them [without them suspecting anything]. This is all done in the hope that they will be captured by the enemy and "persuaded" to talk. In many instances, when dealing with opposition that is exceptionally despotic, you can count upon your captured doomed spy being tortured and talking. When the doomed spy talks, he will give his false brief [mission] to the enemy. The enemy will hopefully accept the brief as a true account and believe the deceptive information, and act accordingly ["All war is based upon deception"]. In some circles, it has been believed that Dutch agents of the British SOE parachuted into Holland during WW2 were purposefully sent on "doomed spy" missions. This was all done as part of the deception plan for the Normandy invasion. The British deny this. Such a suggestion however is plausible. The Germans in Holland ran "Operation North Pole", in which they captured almost all the Dutch agents parachuted into Holland by SOE during WW2. If the British had been aware of German success, they would have been tempted to send "doomed spies" on deception missions.

Finally, returned spies. Spies sent by you to conduct espionage in enemy territory. Send with a brief [mission] and have returned bearing the information you desire. In the time of Sun, mendicants [beggars], and traders seem to have been two most commonly used guises employed by spies. Returned spies would seek out such information as to the size and disposition of the enemy army. How fortified were the enemy cities? Height and thickness of walls of fortifications? Attitudes of the local populace? Does the enemy possess cavalry or chariots? Roads and access into the enemy territory? Places where rivers can be forded? Sources or lack thereof of water? Forage for animals? etc A myriad list of questions would comprise the brief [mission]. It would be normal for returned spies to have duplicative and redundant briefs. Allows for the checking of the accuracy of the information your spies provide. Also allows for the fact that some of your spies will be captured. Also that some of your own spies will be captured and become "converted spies" for the other side. Feeding you deceptive information. Comparison of information on the same subject from a number of spies will reveal anomalies. Dissonance on a subject from a converted spy as compared to the consensus from other spies will stand out. Repeated dissonances from the same suspected spy allows the converted spy to be detected. If five spies tell you there is fodder at one location, but one spy tells you there is not, and this pattern from a particular spy repeats itself, it is a good bet that dissonant spy is either a converted spy or a charlatan. Pretty smart, eh??!!



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