Tuesday, January 25, 2022

A Love Letter to Spy-craft: A Conversation With Retired CIA Officer Douglas London

For as long as humans have interacted with each other, spies in one form or another, have been with us. To quote the legendary John le Carre, “Jesus had only twelve friends over for dinner, and still one of them turned out to be a double agent.”

And while the nature of spy-craft has evolved, its fundamental missions remain the same. To gather actionable information. To get results.

So when we look at our failure to fully understand the Soviet Union during the Cold War, our inability to understand what to expect in Afghanistan, our shock with the recent Chinese hypersonic missile launch, and the lack of certainty as to what the Russians are planning in Ukraine, what does it say about the state of American intelligence?

Today we’re told that technology is the successor to human intelligence, but what has that wrought, and doesn't it still take humans, and their infinite capacity for suspicion, to understand and interpret that data?

Retired CIA officer Douglas London write about this in his new book The Recruiter: Spying and the Lost Art of American Intelligence 

My conversation with Douglas London: