Ninety-nine percent of the countries of the world have a defensive, domestic security service and many also have an intelligence agency to collect foreign information, carry out industrial espionage or even to conduct “covert actions.” Understanding how this opaque world operates is essential to understanding much of what happens in the world of international relations and diplomacy. This course will look at the basic structures and underlying principles of these organizations, as well as explain the various techniques that many of those countries employ to carry out those assigned missions. We will look at some of the major players like China, Russia and England, certain regional powers such as Israel and some Third World services like the security service of Ghana. We’ll look at classical HUMINT and SIGINT operations as well as the newer trends of cyber espionage and sabotage and the expansion of drone spying and warfare. We will also study in depth some of the more imaginative intelligence operations and military deceptions that have been performed by a number of major agencies, explore the individuals who had those creative ideas and take a quick look at the question of whether there are in fact methods to make people more creative than they naturally were at birth. The course is taught by a retired, 30-year veteran of the CIA.
This course will look at a broad spectrum of security issues in 21st century Europe, which includes Russia and Turkey for our purposes. “Security issues” likewise have a broad definition ranging from crime, terrorism and espionage to energy dependence, the Eurozone crisis and the problem of policing in communities with large Arab populations. The goal of the course is to make students familiar with what new policies individual nations and the EU must develop to deal with current problems facing their political leaders, police, intelligence services and the militaries of the region. We will examine these major policy questions from the European perspective, which is not always how America or the rest of the world sees the situation. This will include challenges such as growing energy dependence on Russia, what is the future for NATO, should there be established an EU intelligence service and what does the changing ethnic makeup of countries such as France, Sweden and others mean for conducting future counterterrorism operations or even everyday police work? There is even a “security” aspect to the continuing European financial crisis. What demands will China make in the political realm in return for monetary loans to European banks and what cuts will be made to NATO in order to save money? We will also discuss how Turkey and Russia fit into the “new” Europe. Besides the substantive issues covered, the course will also give students an opportunity to practice oral briefings and a “quick analysis” memo as is done in the government and corporate world. The course is taught by a retired 30-year veteran of the CIA with many years of experience on European and Russian affairs.
Espionage may be the world’s second oldest profession and certain fundamental concepts remain constant, but its importance, targets and methods do change with the times. Change may result from new technologies or from new political realities. Two major and related shifts came with the end of the Cold War in 1991 and the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on America. Since the end of WW II, the primary focus of America’s intelligence services had been the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe and other communist-oriented states. After 1991, there were still many intelligence targets, but they were much more fragmented. After the September 11th attacks, the work shifted even more from nation-state entities to targeting small terrorist groups or even individual fanatics.
This course will begin with a brief look at how intelligence operations were conducted during the last decades of the Cold War so as to provide a base line upon which to recognize the changes. This will include a discussion of why people become spies and how does an intelligence officer go about recruiting a foreigner to become a spy. The third section will look at all the changes in America’s espionage apparatus after the shift to chasing terrorists in a post-9/11 world. Billion-dollar satellites that were great for counting Russian tanks and missiles were of marginal value in finding Osama Bin Laden or other individual terrorists. It may not have been easy to recruit a Russian or Chinese diplomat to become an American spy, but at least the CIA always knew where to find the targets – at the Russian and Chinese embassies. Today, how do intelligence officers even find a possible terrorist to talk to and what can you offer a fanatic to convince him to become a spy rather than be a suicide bomber? How does the NSA find the one important terrorist phone call out of the millions of hourly worldwide calls? We’ll explore all the legal changes that have occurred in America that now allow the CIA and FBI to more easily share information under the logic that the United States border is just an artificial separation of the investigative work needed to stop terrorist attacks. How does all this affect our privacy and civil liberties, not only from the government, but from commercial big-data mining? How coercive should an interrogation of a captured terrorist be in order to prevent a terrorist act from occurring? Has the creation of the Director of National Intelligence really improved how the American Intelligence Community functions? To succeed in the 21st century, intelligence operations will need to be more creative, so we will spend the final weeks looking at past, imaginative operations and explore what “new” ideas might work in the future and also the question of whether one can teach “creativity.” The course is taught by a retired CIA operations officer.
With the growth of asymmetrical threats from non-state actors in the 21st century, the role of intelligence has become even more important than it was during the twentieth. The combination of the shifting threats primarily from nation states to small groups or individuals and the growing availability of small, portable WMD weapons has forced the U.S. Government to realign its concept of national security and the major intelligence services of the world to change their methodologies to confront today’s dangers.
However, to intelligently discuss the present, one needs to have some understanding of the past. Therefore, we will begin with a look at the traditional and little studied role of intelligence during wartime and peacetime throughout the history of America’s foreign policy, both successes and failures. We will also look at how England, Germany, Japan and the Soviet Union/Russia made use of intelligence during key events of the 20th century, especially in the contest between West and East during the Cold War struggle in the Third World. We will then compare those intelligence priorities and methodologies to the post September 11, 2001 world and see how the U.S. and other major intelligence powers have had to shift their tactics and emphasis to counter non-state terrorist threats. During the Cold War, the threat of massive retaliation against a nation that attacked another served as a deterrent to most, but when the attacker today may be only a handful of people motivated by religious, political or even ecological reasons and willing to be suicide martyrs, this is no longer a practical strategy. The changed threat requires a greater emphasis on Human Intelligence (HUMINT) and we will examine how a real intelligence officer goes about recruiting another person to become a spy. We will finish with a look at civil liberty issues in democracies as the line between foreign and domestic intelligence activities has blurred in order to counter terrorist threats that have no distinction of borders. And regardless of what career path a student plans for the future, the ability to do a good oral briefing with short preparation time will be helpful, so we will discuss some fundamentals of such briefings and each student will do a five-minute oral briefing in class.
While the course is best suited for students with an interest in international affairs, there are no prerequisites and is open to students of all majors who would like to learn something about the real world of international espionage, its role in important world events and current threats to American national security. (However, freshmen MUST obtain permission from the professor to register, so as to ensure that they have a good background in American and world affairs.) The course is taught by a retired 30-year veteran of the CIA.