Without Cloak or Dagger

Title:                      Without Cloak or Dagger

Author:                 Miles Copeland

Copeland, Miles (1974). Without Cloak or Dagger: The Truth About The New Espionage. New York: Simon and Schuster

LCCN:    74001136

UB270 .C66


Date Updated:  August 24, 2016

This book published in the UK with the title The Real Spy World [London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson.].

Reviewed by George C. Constantinides[1]

Copeland says in his foreword that “the flood of misinformation on spies and counterspies that is poured out to the public” was what tempted him to write on these subjects. The result is that he himself has contributed to the confusion and the errors. Responsible and knowledgeable former intelligence officers have had difficulty in reconciling much of what he writes with their knowledge and understanding of such matters. Equally unsupported are his version of his intelligence relationships and his claims or implications of having had access to classified information as a result of such relationships in the years preceding the publication of this book. He advises that he did not submit the work for CIA security review. Considering that agency’s criteria for deletion of items, explained by Colby in Honorable Men[2]—that errors and opinions could not be treated as classified—this book would have been returned to him virtually untouched had he submitted it. The reader is well advised not to consider the work a reliable reference about the “new espionage” or many other matters it touches upon.

The number of mistakes on even the simplest questions of organization show how divorced Copeland is from the actual facts. He continues to speak of OSO in CIA when it ceased to exist some twenty years earlier and to assure us that CIA desk officers are groomed to replace their respective chiefs of station. Copeland uses terms that are never heard in CIA (such as “marines”) and repeatedly mentions a component of CIA that did not exist. He confuses clandestine and covert operations in a manner surprising for someone who claims long and continuous connections with or service in intelligence, and he makes errors even on matters of public knowledge, such as CIA’s and the State Department’s respective retirement benefits. The KGB he refers to as the KVD. Certain of his pronouncements on Soviet operational philosophy and methods of operating are misleading for 1974.

Other errors indicate that some reviewers who thought it an apologia for CIA or an authorized work did not read it carefully or else did not know much about the subject. Mistakes that discredit CIA include the description of a supposed CIA stable of former Nazi intelligence officers used to conduct foreign liaison and the statement that CIA ran operations in British labor and student groups. More serious are his allegations or intimations that CIA covered up or “disposed of” hostile penetrations into that organization. It is difficult to identify many cases he cites as examples of various operational techniques, so one is better advised to ignore them, even in those couple of better chapters where conventional espionage and counterespionage means are treated. There he shrewdly guesses that had Kim Philby cooperated with British authorities when he was discovered to be a Soviet agent, he might have been allowed to live out his life on a pension, a treatment close to that later known to be accorded Anthony Blunt. For comments on Copeland and his remarks on alleged CIA operations in Britain, see Cord Meyer’s Facing Reality.[3]

Reviewed by Paul W. Blackstock and Frank L. Schaf[4]

Copeland, author of The Game of Nations[5] (cited in chapter 16), ex-CIA official, ex-State Department official, and adviser to the intelligence and counterintelligence organizations of several foreign countries, has drawn on his unique background to write a sort of manual or handbook covering the inside infom1ation of espionage techniques. In this book Copeland describes the modern espionage activities of the CIA, and attempts to correct popular misconceptions, bringing intelligence out of its classic cloak of secrecy, and building a basis for general understanding. Also discussed are some aspects of the work of Britain’s SIS, the Soviet’s KGB, and the French SDECE.

[1] Constantinides, George C. (1983). Intelligence and Espionage: An Analytical Bibliography. Boulder, CO: Westview Press, pp. 137-138

[2] Colby, William E. (1978) and Peter Forbath. Honorable Men: My Life in the CIA. New York: Simon and Schuster

[3] Meyer, Cord (1982). Facing Reality: From World Federalism to the CIA. Washington, DC: University Press of America

[4] Blackstock, Paul W. (1978) and Frank L. Schaf, Jr. Intelligence, Espionage, Counterespionage, And Covert Operations: A Guide to Information Sources. Detroit: Gale Research Co., p. 140

[5] Copeland, Miles (1969). The Game of Nations: The Amorality of Power Politics. New York: Simon and Schuster [London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson].



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3 Responses to Without Cloak or Dagger

  1. Pingback: Intelligence, Espionage, Counterespionage And Covert Operations | Intelligence Analysis and Reporting

  2. Pingback: Blackstock Selected Bibliography of Fifty Titles | Intelligence Analysis and Reporting

  3. Pingback: Company Confessions | Intelligence Analysis and Reporting

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