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Authors: Allen W. Dulles

The Craft of Intelligence

BOOK: The Craft of Intelligence
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Other Works by Allen W. Dulles

The Boer War: A History

Can We Be Neutral?

(with Hamilton Fish Armstrong)

Germany’s Underground

The United Nations

Challenge of Soviet Power

The Secret Surrender

Great True Spy Stories

Great Spy Stories from Fiction





Guilford, Connecticut

An imprint of The Globe Pequot Press

To the men and women of the Central Intelligence Agency who are devoting their careers to the building of American Intelligence
Copyright © 2006 by Joan Buresch Talley

All Rights Reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying and recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, except as may be expressly permitted in writing from the publisher. Requests for permission should be addressed to The Lyons Press, Attn: Rights and Permissions Department, P.O. Box 480, Guilford, CT 06437.

The Lyons Press is an imprint of The Globe Pequot Press.

ISBN-13: 978-0-7627-9614-4

The Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data is available on file.

Preface: A Personal Note

My interest in world affairs started early; in fact, it goes back to my childhood days. I was brought up on the stories of my paternal grandfather’s voyage of 131 days in a sailing vessel from Boston to Madras, India, where he was a missionary. He was almost shipwrecked on the way. In my youth, I was often in Washington with my maternal grandparents. My grandfather, John W. Foster, had been Secretary of State in 1892 under President Harrison. After serving in the Civil War he had become a general and had later been American minister to Mexico, to Russia and then to Spain. My mother had spent much of her youth in the capitals of these countries, my father had studied abroad. I grew up in the atmosphere of family debates on what was going on in the world.

My earliest recollections are of the Spanish and Boer Wars. In 1901, at the age of eight, I was an avid listener as my grandfather and his son-in-law, Robert Lansing, who was to become Secretary of State under President Woodrow Wilson, hotly discussed the merits of the British and Boer causes. I wrote out my own views—vigorous and misspelled—which were discovered by my elders and published as a little booklet; it became a “best seller” in the Washington area. I was for the “underdog.”

After graduating from college a few months before the outbreak of World War I in 1914, sharing the general ignorance about the dramatic events that lay ahead, I worked my way around the world, teaching school in India and then China, and traveling widely in the Far East. I returned to the United States in 1915; and a year before our entry into the war, I became a member of the diplomatic service.

During the next ten years I served in a series of fascinating posts: first in Austria-Hungary, where in 1916–17 I saw the beginnings of the breakup of the Hapsburg monarchy; then in Switzerland during the war days, I gathered intelligence on what was going on behind the fighting front in Germany, Austria-Hungary and the Balkans. I was, in fact, an intelligence officer rather than a diplomat. Assigned to the Paris Peace Conference in 1919 for the Versailles Treaty negotiations, I helped draw the frontiers of the new Czechoslovakia, worked on the problems created for the west by the Bolshevik revolution of 1917 and helped on the peace settlement in Central Europe. When the Conference closed, I was one of those who opened our first postwar mission in Berlin in 1920, and after a tour of duty at Constantinople I served four years as Chief of the Near East Division of the State Department.

By that time, 1926, although I had still not exhausted my curiosity about the world, I had exhausted my exchequer and turned to the practice of the law with the New York law firm of which my brother was the senior partner. This practice was interrupted for periods of government service in the late twenties and early thirties as legal adviser to our delegations at the League of Nations conferences on arms limitations. In connection with this work I met Hitler, Mussolini, Litvinov and the leaders of Britain and France.

It was not only in the practice of the law that I was closely associated with my brother, John Foster Dulles. Though he was five years older than I, we spent much of our youth together. During the summers in the early 1900s and thereafter, as work permitted, Foster and I were together at the family’s rustic summer quarters at Henderson Harbor on the southeastern shore of Lake Ontario. John W. Foster had started the Henderson Harbor family retreat before the turn of the century, in part because of his passion for smallmouth bass fishing, a trait which my brother and I inherited. Soon he was joined there by my father and mother and their five children of whom my brother, Foster, was the eldest. Mr. Foster’s son-in-law, Robert Lansing, and my aunt, Mrs. Eleanor Foster Lansing, completed the contingent of the elder generation.

Here in delightful surroundings we indulged ourselves not only in fishing, sailing and tennis, but in never-ending discussions on the great world issues which our country was then growing up to face. These discussions were naturally given a certain weight and authority by the voices of a former Secretary of State and, after 1915, a Secretary of State in office. We children were at first the listeners and the learners, but as we grew up we became vigorous participants in the international debates. My brother, Foster, was often the spokesman for the younger generation on these occasions.

We were together in Paris in 1908–09 when Foster was doing graduate work in the Sorbonne and I was preparing for Princeton at the Ecole Alsacienne. From 1914 to 1919 our paths separated as I traveled around the world and later joined my diplomatic post in Vienna. But we had a reunion at the Paris Peace Conference in 1919. Our tasks there were different. He worked on the economic and financial issues of the peace and I largely on the political and new boundary questions. This association was precious to me and continued through the ensuing years. We later served together when in 1953 he became President Eisenhower’s Secretary of State, and I was promoted from my job of Deputy, in which I had served under President Truman, to that of Director of Central Intelligence.

Deeply concerned with the basic issues of our times, with the tragedy of two fratricidal wars among the most highly developed countries of the world, Foster early saw grave new dangers to peace in the philosophy and policies of Communism. He became a convinced supporter of the work of the new Central Intelligence Agency. He wanted to check his own impressions and those of his associates in the State Department against an outside factual analysis of the problems which the President and he were facing. As a highly trained lawyer, he was always anxious to see the strength of all sides of an argument. He did not carry a foreign policy around in his hat. He sought the testing of his views against the hard realities of intelligence appraisals which marshaled the elements of each crisis situation. It was the duty of intelligence to furnish just this to the President and the Secretary of State.

Both Foster and I, in the course of our earlier years in law, diplomacy and international work, had been deeply influenced by the principles of Woodrow Wilson. We were thrilled with the high purpose he took to the Paris peace negotiations, where his first and main objective was the creation of the League of Nations to police a peace. We shared the frustrations of the Versailles negotiations, which, despite everything President Wilson could do, failed to provide a real basis for peace. My brother had fought, as had his colleagues on the Peace Delegation, against the unrealistic reparations clause of the treaty. At this time I was working on what seemed to me almost equally unsatisfactory territorial decisions, as the victors imposed the boundaries of the Versailles Treaty. All of this, as we could then only vaguely see, did much toward building up the bitterness that brought a Hitler to power and war to Europe in 1939.

When war threatened us in 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt summoned Colonel (later Major General) William J. Donovan to Washington to develop a comprehensive intelligence service. As the organizer and director of the Office of Strategic Services during World War II, Bill Donovan, I feel, is rightly regarded as the father of modern United States intelligence. After Pearl Harbor he asked me to join him, and I served with him in the OSS until the wars against Germany and Japan were over.

During these four demanding years I worked chiefly in Switzerland and after the German armistice in Berlin. I believe in the case history method of learning a profession, and here I had case after case, and I shall make use of them to illustrate various points in this narrative. Following the armistice with Japan, I returned to New York and the practice of law. This, however, did not prevent me from playing an active role in connection with the formulation of the legislation setting up the Central Intelligence Agency in 1947.

The following year, President Truman asked me to head up a committee of three, the other two members being William H. Jackson, who had served in wartime military intelligence, and Mathias F. Correa, who had been a special assistant to the Secretary of the Navy, James Forrestal. We were asked to report on the effectiveness of the CIA as organized under the 1947 Act and the relationship of CIA activities to those of other intelligence organs of the government.

Our report was submitted to President Truman upon his reelection and I returned once again to full-time practice of the law, expecting this time to stay with it. But writing reports for the government sometimes has unexpected consequences. You may be asked to help put your recommendations into effect. That is what happened to me. Our report suggested some rather drastic changes in the organization of CIA, particularly in the intelligence estimative process. General Walter Bedell Smith, who had become Director in 1950, and already had appointed Jackson as his deputy, invited me down to discuss the report with him. I went to Washington intending to stay six weeks. I remained with CIA for eleven years, almost nine years as its Director.

Since returning to private life in November of 1961, I have felt that it was high time that someone—even though he be a deeply concerned advocate—should tell what properly can be told about intelligence as a vital element of the structure of our government in this modern age.

In writing this book as a private citizen I wish it to be clearly understood that the views expressed are solely my own and have not been either authorized or approved by the Central Intelligence Agency or any other government authority.

This revised edition of
The Craft of Intelligence
, prepared over a year after the first edition went to press in 1963, contains a considerable amount of new material. In some instances, in the interim, events and issues I described earlier—for example, the swapping of captured spies—had developed in such a fashion that it would be a serious omission not to bring them up to date; in other instances, cases which had not been publicly disclosed were surfaced in the press as accused spies came to trial, and I was now free to speak of them.


The Historical Setting

In the fifth century
the Chinese sage Sun Tzu wrote that foreknowledge was “the reason the enlightened prince and the wise general conquer the enemy whenever they move.” In 1955, the task force on Intelligence Activities of the second Herbert Hoover Commission in its advisory report to the government stated that “Intelligence deals with all the things which should be known in advance of initiating a course of action.” Both statements, widely separated as they are in time, have in common the emphasis on the practical use of advance information in its relation to action.

The desire for advance information is no doubt rooted in the instinct for survival. The ruler asks himself: What will happen next? How will my affairs prosper? What course of action should I take? How strong are my enemies and what are they planning against me? From the beginnings of recorded history we note that such inquires are made not solely about the situation and prospects of the single individual but about those of the group—the tribe, the kingdom, the nation.

The earliest sources of intelligence, in the age of a belief in supernatural intervention in the affairs of men, were prophets, seers, oracles, soothsayers and astrologers. Since the gods knew what was going to happen ahead of time, having to some extent ordained the outcome of events, it was logical to seek out the divine intention in the inspiration of holy men, in the riddles of oracles, in the stars and often in dreams.

Mythology and the history of religion contain countless instances of the revelation of the divine intention regarding man, solicited or unsolicited by men themselves. But not many of them have to do with the practical affairs of state, with the outcome of military ventures and the like. Yet there are some, and I look upon them as the earliest recorded instances of “intelligence-gathering.”

Saul, on the eve of his last battle, “was afraid, and his heart greatly trembled” when he saw the host of the Philistines. “And when Saul enquired of the Lord, the Lord answered him not, neither by dreams, nor by Urim, nor by prophets” (I Sam. 28) Being without “sources” and wondering what course to follow in the battle to come, Saul, as we all know, summoned up the spirit of Samuel through the witch of En-dor and learned from him that he would lose the battle and would himself perish. In a subsequent chapter of the Book of Samuel we find David directly questioning the Lord for military advice and getting exactly the intelligence he needed. “Shall I pursue after this troop? Shall I overtake them? And he [the Lord] answered him, Pursue: for thou shalt surely overtake them, and without fail recover all.”

An even earlier “intelligence operation” recorded in the Bible is of quite another sort (Num. 13). Here the Lord suggested that man himself seek information on the spot.

When Moses was in the “wilderness” with the children of Israel, he was directed by the Lord to send a ruler of each of the tribes of Israel “to spy out the land of Canaan,” which the Lord had designated as their home. Moses gave them instructions to “see the land, what it is; and the people that dwelleth therein, whether they be strong or weak, few or many.” They spent forty days on their mission. When they came back; they reported on the land to Moses and Aaron: “Surely it floweth with milk and honey; and this is the fruit of it”—the grapes, the pomegranates and the figs. But then ten of the twelve who had gone on this intelligence mission, with Joshua and Caleb dissenting, reported that the people there were stronger than the men of Israel.

They were “men of great stature,” and “the cities are walled and very great,” and “the children of Israel murmured against Moses and against Aaron.” The Lord then decreed that because of the little faith that the people had shown in him they should “wander in the wilderness forty years,” one year for every day that the spies had searched the land, only to bring in their timorous findings.

In this particular intelligence mission, there is more than meets the eye at first reading. To begin with, if one wanted a fair and impartial view of the nature of the land of Canaan and its people, one would not send political leaders on an intelligence mission. One would send technicians, and surely not twelve, but two or three. Furthermore, Moses and Aaron did not need information about the land of Canaan, as they trusted the Lord. The real purpose of this mission was, in fact, not to find out what sort of a land it was: it was to find out what sort of people—how strong and trustworthy—were these leaders of the various tribes of Israel. When only two met the test in the eyes of the Lord, the rest and their peoples were condemned to wander in the desert until a new and stronger generation arose to take over.

It is a part of history that intelligence even when clear should all too often be disregarded or sometimes not even sought. Cassandra, the daughter of Priam of Troy, who was beloved by Apollo, was accorded by him the gift of prophecy. But, as mythology tells us, once she had obtained the gift, she taunted the tempter. Apollo could not withdraw his gift but could and did add to it the qualification that her prophecies should not be believed. Hence, Cassandra’s prediction that the rape of Helen would spell the ruin of Troy and her warning about the famous Trojan Horse—one of the first recorded “deception” operations—were disregarded.

The Greeks, with their rather pessimistic view of man’s relations with the gods, seem to have run into trouble even when they had information from the gods because it was so wrapped in riddles and contradictions that it was either ambiguous or unintelligible. The stories about “intelligence” that run through Greek mythology reflect a basic conviction that the ways of the gods and of fate are not for man to know.

Herodotus tells us that when the Lacedaemonians consulted the Delphic oracle to learn what the outcome of a military campaign against Arcadia would be, the oracle answered that they would dance in Tegea (a part of Arcadia) with “noisy footfall.” The Lacedaemonians interpreted this to mean that they would celebrate their victory there with a dance. They invaded Tegea, carrying fetters with which to enslave the Tegeans. They lost the battle, however, and were themselves enslaved and put to work in the fields wearing the very fetters they had brought with them. These, shackled about their feet and rattling as they worked, produced the “noisy footfall” to which the oracle had referred.

Over the centuries the Delphic oracle evolved through a number of stages, from a “supernatural” phenomenon to an institution that was apparently more human and more secular. In its earliest days a virgin sitting over a cleft in the rock from which arose intoxicating fumes received in a trance the answers of the god Apollo to the questions that had been asked, and a priest interpreted the magical and mysterious words of the “medium.” The possibility of error and prejudice entering at this point must have been great. Later the virgins were replaced by women over fifty because the visitors to the oracle seem to have disturbed its smooth operation by an undue and strongly human interest in the virgins. But that did not necessarily affect the allegedly divine nature of the revelations given. What did make the oracle more of a secular institution at a later date, as we know today, was the fact that the priests apparently had networks of informants in all the Greek lands and were thus often better appraised of the state of things on earth than the people who came for consultation. Their intelligence was by no means of divine origin, although it was proffered as such. At a still later stage, a certain corruption seems to have set in as a result of the possession on the part of the priests of the secrets which visitors had confided to them. A prince or a wealthy man who either was favored by the priests at Delphi or perhaps bribed them could have picked up information about his rivals and enemies which the latter had divulged when they consulted the oracle. In their most productive period, the oracles frequently produced excellent practical advice.

But in the craft of intelligence the East was ahead of the West in 400
Rejecting the oracles and the seers, who may well have played an important role in still earlier epochs of Chinese history, Sun Tzu takes a more practical view.

For my remarks on Sun Tzu I am indebted to the recent excellent translation of the
Art of War
with commentaries by General Sam Griffith (Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1963).

“What is called ‘foreknowledge’ cannot be elicited from spirits, nor from gods, nor by analogy with past events, nor from calculations,” he wrote. “It must be obtained from men who know the enemy situation.”

In a chapter of the
Art of War
called the “Employment of Secret Agents,” Sun Tzu gives the basics of espionage as it was practiced in 400
by the Chinese—much as it is practiced today. He says there are five kinds of agents: native, inside, double, expendable and living. “Native” and “inside” agents are similar to what we shall later call “agents in place.” “Double,” a term still used today, is an enemy agent who has been captured, turned around and sent back where he came from as an agent of his captors. “Expendable agents” are a Chinese subtlety which we later touch upon in considering deception techniques. They are agents through whom false information is leaked to the enemy. To Sun Tzu they are expendable because the enemy will probably kill them when he finds out their information was faulty. “Living” agents to Sun Tzu are latter-day “penetration agents.” They reach the enemy, get information and manage to get back alive.

To Sun Tzu belongs the credit not only for this first remarkable analysis of the ways of espionage but also for the first written recommendations regarding an organized intelligence service. He points out that the master of intelligence will employ all five kinds of agents simultaneously; he calls this the “Divine Skein.” The analogy is to a fish net consisting of many strands all joined to a single cord. And this by no means exhausts Sun Tzu’s contribution. He comments on counterintelligence, on psychological warfare, on deception, on security, on fabricators, in short, on the whole craft of intelligence. It is no wonder that Sun Tzu’s book is a favorite of Mao Tse-tung and is required reading for Chinese Communist tacticians. In their conduct of military campaigns and of intelligence collection, they clearly put into practice the teachings of Sun Tzu.

Espionage of the sort recommended by Sun Tzu, which did not depend upon spirits or gods, was, of course, practiced in the West in ancient times also, but not with the same degree of sophistication as in the East; nor was there in the West the same sense of a craft or code of rules so that one generation could build on the experiences of another. Most recorded instances do not go far beyond what we would call reconnaissance. Such was the case in the second and more successful attempt of the Israelites to reconnoiter the situation in the Promised Land.

Joshua sent two men into Jericho to “spy secretly,” and they were received in the house of Rahab the harlot (Josh. 2). This is, I believe, the first instance on record of what is now called in the intelligence trade a “safe house.” Rahab concealed the spies and got them safely out of the city with their intelligence. The Israelites conquered Jericho “and utterly destroyed it and its people except that Rahab and her family were saved.” Thus was established the tradition that those who help the intelligence process should be recompensed.

According to Herodotus, the Greeks sent three spies to Persia before the great invasion of 480
to see how large the forces were that Xerxes was gathering. The three spies were caught in the act and were about to be executed when Xerxes stayed their execution and to the great surprise of his counselors had the spies conducted all around his camp, showing them “all the footmen and all the horse, letting them gaze at everything to their hearts’ content.” Then he sent them home. Xerxes’ idea was to frighten the Greeks into surrendering without a fight by deliberately passing them correct information as to the size of the host he had assembled. Since, as we know, the Greeks were not intimidated, he did not succeed in this psychological ploy. I have an idea that Sun Tzu would have advised the opposite. He would have recommended that Xerxes bribe the spies and send them home to report that this army was far smaller and weaker than it really was. When the Persians later invaded, Sun Tzu would have expected the three men to report to him what was going on in the Greek camp.

Just before the battle of Thermopylae, Xerxes himself sent a “mounted spy” to see what the Greeks, who were holding the pass, were doing and how strong they were. This was clearly nothing but a short-range reconnaissance mission. But Xerxes’ scout got very close because when he returned he was able to give the famous report that some of the men he saw were “engaged in gymnastic exercises, others were combing their long hair.” This was a piece of “raw intelligence,” as we would call it today, that obviously stood in need of interpretation and analysis. Accordingly, Xerxes called in one of his advisers who knew Greek ways and who explained to him that “These men have come to dispute the pass with us; and it is for this that they are now making ready. It is their custom, when they are about to hazard their lives, to adorn their heads with care. . . . You have now to deal with the first kingdom in Greece, and with the bravest men.” Xerxes did not put much faith in the “estimate” and lost vast numbers of his best troops by throwing them directly against the little band of Greeks under Leonidas.

Altogether in the Western world in ancient times the use and the extent of espionage seems to have depended on the personality and strength and ambition of kings and conquerors, on their own propensity for wiles and stratagems, their desire for power and the need to secure their kingdoms. Athens in the days of democracy and Rome in the days of the republic were not climates that bred espionage. Government was conducted openly, policy made openly, and wars usually planned and mounted openly. Except for the size and placement of enemy forces at key moments before the engagement in battle there was little need felt for specific information, for the foreknowledge that could affect the outcome of great exploits. But for the great conquerors, the Alexanders and the Hannibals, the creators of upstart and usually short-lived empires, this was not so. Subject peoples had to be watched for signs of revolt. Whirlwind campaigns which were frequently great gambles were more likely to succeed if one had advance knowledge of the strength and wealth of the “target” as well as the mood and morale of its rulers and populace. The evidence suggests that empire-builders such as Alexander the Great, Mithridates, King of Pontus, and Hannibal all used and relied to a much greater extent on intelligence than their predecessors and contemporaries. Hannibal, a master of strategy, is known to have collected information before his campaigns not only on the military posture of his enemies but on their economic condition, the statements in debate of public figures and even civilian morale. Time and again Plutarch makes mention of Hannibal’s possession of “secret intelligence,” of “spials he had sent into the enemies’ camp.”

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