Title: Counterespionage, Chapter 15
Author: Paul W. Blackstock
Blackstock, Paul W. (1978) and Frank L. Schaf, Jr. “Chapter 13: “Industrial Espionage,” Intelligence, Espionage, Counterespionage, And Covert Operations: A Guide to Information Sources. Detroit: Gale Research Co.
Date Updated: March 20, 2017
Chapter 15 COUNTERESPIONAGE
Secrecy cloaks the specific activities, techniques, and methods of counterespionage, just as it cloaks the specific activities and techniques of espionage agents—or what is known in the trade as HUMINT (clandestine human intelligence collection). Thus there are great gaps in the counterespionage literature, especially in the period of the sixties and seventies. Counterespionage fiction and movies are misleading in regard to techniques, since they tend to emphasize the dramatic aspects for audience appeal and entertainment. For sane reason—probably other than secrecy or nonavailability of information—journalists, scholars, and analysts have not delved into counterespionage as they have into positive intelligence.
Material in the available literature points up the fundamental doctrine of counterespionage, which is to avoid the speedy apprehension of a spy who has been detected, allowing him freedom under surveillance until the entire espionage network is uncovered. An oft-repeated adage of counterintelligence states: It may be better to keep track of a known spy than to arrest him, since his replacement will be unknown. Two other basic objectives are to attempt to gain the consent of detected spies to double against their intelligence organizations, and to use a detected spy as a means to deceive and misinform un-knowingly.
Two outstanding examples of the turning or doubling of captured spies are available in the literature; however, they are of the World War II era. Masterman’s The Double Cross System which is unique in that it describes same of the techniques and problems involved in handling numbers of doubled agents; and Giskes’s London Calling North Pole, a description of doubling on the weak link of espionage networks–agent communications.
There are also those intelligence agents of one side who have defected to the other side, but who remain in place as double agents wreaking havoc by un-covering the networks they were once a part of, or deceiving their original sponsors with fabricated information, In the end they are taken by counter-espionage watchfulness. There are stories of the activities of such men in the literature. For example, Colonel Stig Wennerstrom was a Swedish air force attaché who also did limited intelligence work for the United States but had gone over to Soviet intelligence and had been doubled for fifteen years before his defection was uncovered by Swedish counterespionage (see Rӧnblom’s Spy without A Country). British intelligence agent George Blake was ordered by the British to work for Soviet intelligence as a double agent, but in reality was indeed a Soviet agent. As a double agent he betrayed Western spies working in, Germany and in the Warsaw Pact countries. Uncovered by counterespionage and convicted, he escaped from a British prison to the Soviet Union in 1966 (see Spiro’s The Many Sides of George Blake, Esq.).
A third category to be found in the literature are the stories of those non-intelligence-connected citizens who report attempts at recruitment as agents by a foreign espionage service to their own counterespionage service and then agree to act as counterspies to uncover the foreign espionage net or provide fabricated information. The stories of Herbert Philbrick (I Led Three Lives: Citizen, “Communist,” Counterspy), Boris Morros (My Ten Years As A Counter Spy), and John Huminik (Double Agent) are examples of memoirs written by such men.
Modern espionage agents are greatly assisted by elaborate electronic and photographic devices in securing and recording the information they seek, and in some cases such devices, along with their installation and operating technicians, have replaced the agent altogether. This complicates the job of counterespionage and requires that counterespionage change its methods, keep pace in the technological race, train its own technicians, and develop its own techniques for detection of espionage devices. Only glimpses of this type of electronic counterespionage activity have been disclosed in the literature. For example, in May 1960, UN Ambassador Henry Cabot Lodge, in open session at the United Nations Security Council, exhibited a two-foot, carved wooden replica of the Great Seal of the United States in which counterespionage and security personnel had discovered a wireless device for picking up and trans-mitting conversations. The seal, a gift from a Soviet official to Ambassador Averell Harriman, had been placed in his office in the American embassy in Moscow. (See Warren Roger’s article in the Washington Post, cited below.)
- GENERAL BOOKS
Bulloch, John (1963). M.I.5: The Origin And History of The British Counter-Espionage Service. London: Arthur Barker
Cookridge, E. H. (1970) [pseud. for Edward Spiro]. The Many Sides of George Blake, Esq: The Complete Dossier. Princeton, NJ: Vertex [London: Hodder, 1970. George Blake: Double Agent].
Donovan, James B. (1964). Strangers on a Bridge: The Case of Colonel Abel. New York: Atheneum
Dulles, Allen W., ed. (1968). Great True Spy Stories. New York: Harper & Row
Fuller, Jean Overton (1954). No. 13, Bob. Boston, Little, Brown
Leverkuehn, Paul (1954). German Military Intelligence. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson
Rönblom, Hans Krister (1965).The Spy without A Country. New York, Coward-McCann
Turner, William W. (1970). Hoover’s FBI: The Men And The Myth. Los Angeles, Sherbourne Press
- GENERAL ARTICLES
Blumenthal, Fred. “How We Outsmart Red Spies,” Parade, (17 February 1962), p. 6.
A very interesting article describing some of the specifics of counterespionage against electronic “spies.” The author states that between 1952 and 1962, 129 listening devices were discovered in U.S. embassies abroad and that “spies and counter-spies no longer are quick-triggered men in slouch hats and belted trench coats. Rather they are extremely gifted electronics experts, who have attained pioneering heights in miniaturization and concealment.”
Gwynne, Peter, with Friendly, Alfred, Jr. “The Heat Wave Spies.” Newsweek, (23 February 1976), p. 57.
News of a microwave radiation bombardment of the U.S. Embassy in Moscow leaked through the diplomatic community in Moscow in early February 1976 after the U.S. ambassador warned his staff of the possible danger to health of the radiation. This article explains that the purpose of the radiation was probably to activate electronic eavesdropping devices planted in the embassy by Soviet intelligence.
Rogers, Warren, Jr: “‘Bugged’ Eagle is Prize Exhibit in Anti-Spy ‘Chamber of Horrors’.” Washington Post, (27 May 1960), p. Al. Illustrations.
An account of a replica of the Great Seal of the United States displayed by UN Ambassador Henry Cabot Lodge in the Security Council. The Seal had been bugged by the Soviets to pick up conversations in the U.S. Embassy in Moscow. Rogers goes on to state that the replica was only one item of this nature that had been uncovered by counterespionage and security electronic specialists and were kept in the State Department’s “Chamber of Horrors.”
Szulc, Tad. “Warsaw Embassy of U.S. Is Bugged.” New York Times, (3 November 1964), p. 1. Illustrations.
A report of a State Department announcement that a complete microphone system had been detected in the new building of the U.S. Embassy in Warsaw. The account continues with a description of detection of same forty microphones in the U.S. Embassy in Moscow—partially on the basis of information provided by a KGB defector.
Huminik, John (1967). Double Agent. New York: New American Library
Morros, Boris (1959). My Ten Years As A Counterspy: The Fantastic Story of An American Double Agent-As Told To Charles Samuels. New York: Viking Press
Philbrick, Herbert A. (1952). I Led 3 Lives: Citizen “Communist” Counterspy. New York: McGraw-Hill
Pinto, Oreste (1953). Friend or Foe? London: W. Laurie
Pinto, Oreste (1952). Spy-Catcher. London: W. Laurie
Sansom, Alfred William (1965). I Spied Spies. London: G. G. Harrap
Schwarzwalder, John (1946). We Caught Spies. New York: Duell, Sloan and Pearce
- COUNTERESPIONAGE NETWORKS OR OPERATIONS
Two outstanding counterespionage operations have been selected for inclusion in this section. The Double-Cross System, operated by British counterintelligence, and operation North Pole, a radio deception operation conducted by the counterintelligence arm of German military intelligence (Abwehr).
- The Double-Cross System
The Double-Cross System was the coordinated use of about 120 German espionage agents who were doubled by British counterespionage (M.I.5) for the purpose of controlling German intelligence in England. They collected information on Germany, and manipulated the information provided to Berlin through these doubled agents. Of the total of 120 Double-Cross System agents, 39 were of great importance in providing planned and coordinated misinformation that helped convince German intelligence that the main thrust of the Allied invasion of Europe would be directed toward the Pas de Calais rather than Normandy. This operation thus stands as one of the most successful strategic deceptions of World War II. The “official” and best version of the operation is given in Sir John C. Masterman’s The Double-Cross System in The War of 1939 to 1945, but related books which amplify parts of the system are also listed below.
Delmer, Sefton (1971). The Counterfeit Spy. New York: Harper and Row
Masterson, J. C. (2012). The Double-Cross System: The Incredible True Story of How Nazi Spies Were Turned into Double Agents. Guilford, DE: The Lyons Press
Owen, Frank (1954). The Eddie Chapman Story. New York: J. Messner
Popov, Dusko (1974). Spy/Counterspy: The Autobiography of Dusko Popov. New York: Grosset & Dunlap
- Operation Nordpol (North Pole)
In the North Pole operation, the counterespionage element (section 3) of German military intelligence (Abwehr.) captured and neutralized all British Special Operations Executive (50E) operatives dropped into Holland for a two-year period. Beginning with the detection of a radio and the capture of its operator, German counterespionage was successful in turning the link and building the penetration to a point where, at varying times, they controlled as many as fourteen radio links between the Dutch underground and -London. Fifty-four agents were intercepted and captured, and quantities of weapons and explosives intended for the Dutch underground were confiscated. The controversy over precisely what happened and who was to blame for the disaster has been the subject of several books and articles. The most important of these are listed below.
Dourlein, Pieter (1954, 1989). Inside North Pole: A Secret Agent’s Story. Alexandria, VA: Time-Life Books
Giskes, H. J.(1953). London Calling North Pole. London: William Kimber
 Masterson, J. C. (2012). The Double-Cross System: The Incredible True Story of How Nazi Spies Were Turned into Double Agents. Guilford, DE: The Lyons Press
 Cookridge, E. H. (1970). The Many Sides of George Blake, Esq: The Complete Dossier. Princeton, NJ: Vertex
 Morros, Boris (1959). My Ten Years As A Counterspy: The Fantastic Story of An American Double Agent-As Told To Charles Samuels. New York: Viking Press
 Masterson, J. C. (2012). The Double-Cross System: The Incredible True Story of How Nazi Spies Were Turned into Double Agents. Guilford, DE: The Lyons Press.