AMERICAN ESPIONAGE: From Secret Service to CIA by Rhodri Jeffreys-Jones

AMERICAN ESPIONAGE: From Secret Service to CIA

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This brief, informal overview of US intelligence essentially begins with the Spanish-American War, when the author's themes, ""bureaucratic feuding"" and American fear of ""treason from within,"" first emerged. The Treasury Department's Secret Service was the key agency in those days, violating civil liberties left and right as it pursued Spain's Montreal spy ring. During WW I, when the State Department took intelligence control, the Americans were ""followers, even dupes of British Intelligence,"" according to Jeffreys-Jones, an Edinburgh University lecturer; but he finds that Somerset Maugham, the Anglo-American ""chief agent"" in newly Bolshevik Russia, was really US property. The book becomes especially thin and hasty in its treatment of the OSS, of WW II military intelligence, and of the CIA. And, lacking even the minimal sophistication of a Constantine FitzGibbon in Secret Intelligence in the Twentieth Century (1976), Jeffreys-Jones tends to jumble together intelligence, counter-intelligence, and covert operations under the ""spy"" rubric. A chronicler who, when a sensitive letter is sent uncoded through ordinary channels, for example, fails to suggest that the sender might have wanted it to be read and exposed, will not gratify intelligence buffs. Lightweight on all fronts.

Pub Date: Nov. 21st, 1977
Publisher: Free Press/Macmillan