learning with professionals - Higgins Counterterrorism Research ...


learning with professionals - Higgins Counterterrorism Research ...

this treachery and that of George Blake, another significant British spy, on American

intelligence operations in Berlin in The Man Who Lost the War. 232 Charles McCarry concludes

his Paul Christopher tetrology with The Last Supper, 233 the story of an American

officer who is recruited by the Soviets in World War II and advances to head an operational

component of CIA during the Cold War. The symbolism of the title reflects the

depth of betrayal. All of these novels explore the sociology of treachery but they also

illustrate the craft of counterintelligence and the role it played in the first line of defense

during the Cold War.

Le Carre wrote Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy as a methodical examination of rooting out a

spy from within the ranks of the British secret service and he uses George Smiley as our

guide through the complicated investigation. Surveillance and penetration are important

tools, but for Le Carre the tedious exploitation of records, of access lists to sensitive reporting,

of background investigations and other archival sources are key to identifying the traitor. The

clues to treachery are more likely found in the files of central registry than in dark alleys. In

The Secret Pilgrim, Le Carre offers a test-book example of counterintelligence interviewing

as Smiley’s protégé, Ned, systematically and sympathetically leads cipher clerk Cyril Frewin

into a confession of his long-time spying for the Soviets. 234 This deserves a place in any

counterintelligence curriculum. In an aside here, let me note that I am not alone in arguing for

the value of spy novels in our training. In 1991 I had a conversation in Moscow with recently

retired KGB General Oleg Kalugin who told me that every KGB officer assigned to the

United States was required to read Victor Marchetti’s The Rope Dancer. 235 Kalugin felt this

was an excellent tutorial in American counterintelligence activities.

Two other novels of the Cold War should also command space on the counterintelligence

officer’s book shelf for their philosophical plumbing of the essential nature of espionage and

betrayal: Le Carre’s A Perfect Spy, 236 considered by many intelligence officers to be Le

Carre’s most authentic work, and W. T. Tyler’s Last Train from Berlin. 237 Perhaps the spying of

Ames, Hanssen, Howard and others will inspire spy literature though the baseness of their

motivations and the simple greed that drove them somehow seems to lack the powerful themes

of love, alienation, and betrayal that informed Le Carre and Tyler.

The Cold War also produced our archetypal intelligence officers — James Bond and

George Smiley. In James Bond we find the maven of espionage style. As I noted earlier, Ian

Fleming’s elegant and expedient character has colonized the image of the intelligence officer.

Le Carre’s podgy and rumpled George Smiley stands in starkest contrast, one of the grey men

of the profession, known not for their sartorial splendor bur rather for its absence:

232 W. T. Tyler, The Man Who Lost the War (New York: The Dial Press, 1980).

233 Charles McCarry, The Last Supper (New York: E. P. Dutton, Inc., 1983).

234 John Le Carre, The Secret Pilgrim (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1991), 259-319.

235 Victor Marchetti, The Rope Dancer (New York: Grosset and Dunlap, 1971).

236 John Le Carre, A Perfect Spy (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1986).

237 W. T. Tyler, Last Train from Berlin (New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1994).


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