Why Spy?

Title:                      Why Spy?

Author:                   Frederick P. Hitz

Hitz, Frederick Porter (2008). Why Spy?: Espionage in an Age of Uncertainty. New York: Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin’s Press

LCCN:    2007039363

JK468.I6 H57 2008

Date Updated:  March 10, 2017

The following is a publisher’s description for this book.

What motivates someone to risk his or her life in the shadowy, often dangerous world of espionage? What are the needs and opportunities for spying amid the “war on terrorism”? And how can the United States recruit spies to inform its struggle with Islamic fundamentalists’ acts of anti-Western jihad?

Drawing on over twenty-five years of experience, Frederick P. Hitz, a former inspector general of the Central Intelligence Agency, guides the reader through the byzantine structure of the U.S. intelligence community (which agency handles what?), traces the careers and pitfalls of such infamous spies as Robert Hanssen and Aldrich Ames, and explains how the United States must meet the challenges set forth in the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004. He also describes the transformation of the CIA after the end of the cold war–from 1991 to the present–and outlines a vision for the future of U.S. spying in the twenty-first century.

A fascinating glimpse into the inner workings of international espionage and intelligence, Why Spy? is a must-read not only for fans of Tom Clancy and John le Carre;, but for anyone concerned about the security of the United States in a post-cold war, post-9/11 world.

The CIA’s former inspector general details the extensive use of espionage and intelligence by the U.S. government since World War II.

Kirkus Review[1]

Hitz (Law and Politics/Univ. of Virginia; The Great Game: The Myths and Reality of Espionage, 2004, etc.) divides the book into four sections concerning every possible aspect of spying: the motivations to do so, the tactics employed by various organizations, the state of spying in the 21st century and the ethical considerations it provokes. He provides a revealing glimpse into a world often romanticized by modern cinema and literature—and yes, readers will find real-life double agents, pricey sex scandals and even “a James Bond-like escape from FBI surveillance.” However, Hitz appears pessimistic when tackling the current state of counterintelligence operations both in the United States and around the world. The new enemy is not a foreign government, he notes, but a worldwide network of terrorist cells that operate at their own behest. While Osama bin Laden may be the figurehead, these cells are independent, which makes them extremely hard to locate and infiltrate. Age-old tactics such as sexual exploitation and torture procedures like those used at Abu Ghraib or Guantánamo Bay are no longer as effective as in the past; the author claims that Islamic prisoners are less susceptible to such techniques due to their fundamentalist beliefs. The very concept of spying is rapidly taking a new identity, he writes, with the Internet now considered the main conduit for information flow between terror cells and their members. The days of shrouded secrecy and privileged information on the day-to-day protection and operation of the United States are coming to an end. Hitz argues that the public and local police services are now required to stand guard should the nation wish to avoid the next 9/11.

An often controversial analysis that still offers plenty of entertainment.

[1] Kirkus, downloaded March 10, 2017


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