Just a miscellany today.
First off, the CIA has posted the unclassified items from the latest issue of its Studies in Intelligence. As usual, it all looks very interesting. However, three pieces struck as particularly noteworthy:
- Thomas Boghardt has a piece called “Operation INFEKTION: Soviet Bloc Intelligence and its AIDs Disinformation Campaign.” This fascinating article recounts the back story of the ridiculous but widely believed claim that the U.S. Government developed the AIDs virus in a lab at Ft. Detrick in Maryland. I would particularly recommend this article to people interested in the FM 30-31B deception which has most recently fooled Daniele Ganser and the Parallel History Project.
- Terrence J. Finnegan has an article entitled “Military Intelligence at the Front, 1914-1918.” This is a topic of particular interest to me as I am presently finishing up a dissertation on American intelligence during World War I. I have yet to read the article yet, but I have high hopes as Finnegan’s recent book Shooting the Front: Allied Aerial Reconnaissance and Photographic Interpretation on the Western Front – World War I is brilliant, not to mention well illustrated and a joy to look at. Amusingly, Thomas Boghardt reviewed Finnegan’s book in an earlier issue of Studies.
- Finally, David Robarge, the Chief of the CIA’s History Staff, has a fine review article carefully weighing the various books, films, etc. that have grappled with the enigma/hero/walking disaster that was James Angleton.
And yesterday I picked up a copy of Professor Alfred W. McCoy’s 2009 book, Policy America’s Empire: The United States, the Philippines, and the Rise of the Surveillance State. McCoy seems to have an extensive discussion of American intelligence operations in the context of the Spanish-American War and the Philippine War. Based purely on a quick read of the introduction, McCoy seems to argue, like Joan Jensen, that what the United States learned in these conflicts about conducting surveillance and intelligence operations it took home and also applied elsewhere. As I say, I haven’t read the book yet, but the History News Network had a positive review of it last fall. Mind you, McCoy has done extensive work on the role of the CIA in the international narcotics trade, so I’m going to approach this work with caution. We shall see.