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Study On The History Of Espionage History Essay

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Published: Mon, 5 Dec 2016

Espionage or in other words spying is an age old practice. It is actually collecting information which by demand is done secretly. Most of the time no one is aware of spying being conducted, rarely people come to know about it. Why’s and How’s comes to the mind of people about espionage but goes away without satisfactory or convincing replies. People of United States associate Espionage and Cold War. Unlike todays national security arrangements these were more of an individual activity rather a large intelligence bureaucracies. [1] 

Nations face threats from internal sources as well as external sources. Its not that great nations only favours espionage and involves themselves in it. It is for all, small or big. It is like a warriors weapon to save nation from enemies both internal and external. Espionage enjoys the acceptance of global fraternity be it United Kingdom , Soviet Union , America or any other nation. For the survival safety and security of nations espionage is required. Every country practices espionage but all in different purview, it can be sociological, anthropological. Historical or political might be other motivatonal reasons. (Godson, 1988) [2] 

As highlighted earlier espionage is an age old practice, we find its evidences since the age of Bible. Its not that it was followed extensively after World War II there are many instances of spying and information gathering in the Bible. Some strategist have the opinion that a great role is played by intelligence in achieving victory, one such example dates back 500 B.C. Sun Tzu, the Chinese strategist. We find espionage operatons in the medieval period also. Sir Francis Walsingham united with Mary, Queen of Scots and King Philip II of Spain in the interest of Queen Elizabeth I, Catholic forces rose against her. [3] 

Revolutionary groups in Russia were spied by intelligence services group Okhrana set up by tsars. This group was active till the Russian Revolution. It has established such a system of spies and agents who were succesfull in their misson to penetrate the revolutionary groups. But this couldn’t save the tsars from their downfall. The CHEKA (All-Russian Extraordinary Commission for Combating Counterrevolution, Speculation, and Sabotage), intelligence service of Vladimir Lenin under the leadership of Felix Dzershinsky was engaged to protect rule of Bolshevik. France can’t be left behind. Cabinet Noir an intelligence service being set up by Cardinal Richelieu was responsible to safeguard rule of Louis XIII. Joseph Fouche served Napolean . He started the first modern political espionage system gathering information about Great Britain. Fouche fall prey to himself and was sent to exile. Importance of military intelligence organization was felt, this system was possessed by all major powers except United States by World War I and Frederick 11 of Prussia is the architect of this system. There are some instances of blackmailing also to obtain crucial informations related to war, an Austrian army officer blackmailed by Russian Intelligence to obtain Austria- Hungary’s war plan. [4] 

In the era before and after World War I, proponents of primordial identity such as Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson who veered toward predator identity warned of the dangers posed by “hyphenated Americans”. Their anxieties resulted in anti-immigrant legislation, including the Espionage Act of 1917 and Sedition Act of 1918. Many Americans suspected Eastern European Jews of sympathizing with the Russian Revolution of 1917 and the newly established Bolshevik government and worried that they might resort to acts of terrorism. Thousands of Jews and Catholics were caught up in federal dragnets like the Palmer Raids, which netted more than 4,000 people in thirty-three cities on a single night in 1920. In response, organizations such as the newly formed American Civil Liberties Union demanded that the U.S. Constitution be honored, but their cries were met with indifference. “There is no time to waste on hairsplitting over infringement of liberty,” declared the Washington Post. (Ahmed, Akbar 2010, 369)

Among the restrictions placed on freedom during World War I was the Espionage Act of 1917, which made it a crime to criticize the U.S. government. Adjudicating the 1919 case of Abrams v. United States, the Supreme Court ruled this law constitutional by a vote of seven to two. (Bawer, Bruce 2010, 30)

United States’s intelligence, Office of Strategic Services (OSS) was not that efficient as compared to the other countries intelligence during World War II. Britain’s Special Operations Executive (SOE) was new entrant in intelligence in addition to the existing one. OSS and SOE were involved in guerrilla warfare, sabotage in addition to espionage.

Abwehr, of Germany plotted to kill Adolph Hitler but failed. Abwehr, unit of armed forces and Sicherheitsdienst(SD), associated with the Nazi party were the intelligence services of Germany and competed for political influence and primacy within Third Reich.

Japanese naval intelligence successfully placed a spy in Hawaii prior to the attack on Pearl Harbor. Tokko, formed in 1991 was responsible for domestic counterespionage in Japan. It was a branch of the Tokyo police that had prevented the spread of communism to Japan after World War I. Tokko was responsible to keep track of military personnel of Japan. Suspected of being security risks Tokko executed abroad hundreds of Chinese people. (Melton 1996). [5] 

As cited earlier there are internal and external threats to the nation, there may be one body taking care of both or it might be separately handled like in Soviet Union Komitet Gusudarstvcnnov Bezopasnosti, the Committee of State Security KGB, handles both the internal and external affairs of nation related to safety whereas in United States, the internal and external security issues are handled by separate agencies. CIA takes care of foreign security while Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) handles domestic issues. Formation of Komitet Gosudarstvcnnoy Bcsopasnosti (KGB) happened in March 1954, Ministersvo Gocsudarsrvnnoi Bczopasrnosti, the Russian Ministry of State Security (MGB), separated from Soviet Ministry of Internal Affairs (MVD) downgraded from a ministry to a committee Komitet Gosudarstvcnnoy Bcsopasnosti (KGB). Komitet Gosudarstvcnnoy Bcsopasnosti (KGB)was placed under the political control of the Council of Ministers. Komitet Gosudarstvcnnoy Bcsopasnosti (KGB) was responsible for overseas operations, military corps. It dealt with secret police work and border guard, electronic espionage and suppression of oppositions, etc. Priority to the various segments of their responsibility kept on changing during the Cold War. Media had accsess to these officers under Mikhail Gorbachev. Some of the assigned duties like opposition suppression , secret police work, etc were reduced and industrial espionage was given priority. (R.C.S Trahair, 411)

Komitet Gosudarstvcnnoy Bcsopasnosti (KGB) were bold enough to lead a coup against Mikhail Gorbachev fearing a threat by Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). They felt Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) are trying to penetrate the KGB and the Soviet economy, and government. This happened in 1991, the coup failed, Komitet Gosudarstvcnnoy Bcsopasnosti (KGB) image tarnished. Komitet Gosudarstvcnnoy Bcsopasnosti (KGB) in December, 1991 didn’t had much role. It split into international security , under a domestic government ministry. Komitet Gosudarstvcnnoy Bcsopasnosti (KGB) became nominally a foreign espionage section and renamed Foreign Intelligence Service (FIS). (R.C.S Trahair, 411)

October 24, 1991 saw the death of Komitet Gosudarstvcnnoy Bcsopasnosti (KGB) just to see the rebirth immediately. It was a new incarnation. It started spreading itself and each division seemed self sufficient. As we know changing never allows to remain oneself as in the primordial stage, this can be attributed to the evolution of Komitet Gosudarstvcnnoy Bcsopasnosti (KGB) or Committee of State Security. (Ebon, Martin. 1994, ix)

This is not a history of the Soviet secret service, not an account of Komitet Gosudarstvcnnoy Bcsopasnosti (KGB) wickedness or derring-do in the past. Rather, you are about to read an account of what has happened, of late, to the heirs of Vladimir llyitch Lenin’s All-Russian Extraordinary Committee for Combating Counterrevolution and Sabotage, or (Cheka) for short. Devoted Russian secret police officers used to proudly call themselves “Chekists.” In addition, we will look into the future of the various “nouveau” Komitet Gosudarstvcnnoy Bcsopasnosti (KGB) organizations, scattered throughout the former Soviet Union. (Ebon, Martin. 1994, ix)

Komitet Gosudarstvcnnoy Bcsopasnosti (KGB) KGB was never a faceless, monolithic, omniscient, omnipotent operation. It employed skilled people, but also men of limited imagination and capabilities. Vladimir A. Kryuchkov, was appointed as Chairman of the Komitet Gosudarstvcnnoy Bcsopasnosti (KGB) by President Mikhail Gorbachev, masterminded an abortive coup attempt in August 1991, winding up in prison and put on trial in 1993. Mikhail Gorbachev had indebtedness to one time Komitet Gosudarstvcnnoy Bcsopasnosti (KGB) chief and Soviet head of state, Yuri Andropov. The interplay of ambitions and the impact of personal characteristics-perhaps more than administrative changes-dramatize the death and rebirth of the Komitet Gosudarstvcnnoy Bcsopasnosti (KGB) (Ebon, Martin. 1994, ix, x)

Here’s the list of Komitet Gosudarstvcnnoy Bcsopasnosti (KGB)’s predecessors. All-Russian Extraordinary Committee for Combating Counterrevolution and Sabotage, or (CHEKA) from 1917 to 1922, then came GPU (State Political Directorate), which functioned in 1922 and 1923. This was followed by OGPU (United State Political Directorate), which lasted from 1923 to 1934, the ost ruthless secret police force operated under the initials NKVD (People’s Commissariat of Internal Affairs) from 1934 to 1946. These years were showed trials of Joseph Stalin and mass purges before and after World War II. Then came the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MVD), all security matters till then merged into it. This was headed by Lavrenti Beria, Stalin’s notorious secret police chief. Functional duration of Ministry of Internal Affairs (MVD) happened to be from 1946 to 1954, the year after Stalin’s death. (Ebon, Martin. 1994, x)

Komitet Gosudarstvcnnoy Bcsopasnosti (KGB) as such was operative from 1954. It experienced expansions and contractions. Went on with internal and external changes. From the ebullient heavy-handedness of Nikita Khrushchev to the corrupt bonhomie of Leonid Brezhnev, the Komitet Gosudarstvcnnoy Bcsopasnosti (KGB) maintained its influential role and organizational solidity. Together with the leadership of the Communist Party and the armed forces, the Komitet Gosudarstvcnnoy Bcsopasnosti (KGB) was regarded as one of the three major pillars holding up the state structure. (Ebon, Martin. 1994, x)

The Communist Party officially ceased to exist after the August coup, and the armed forces were weakened following defeat in Afghanistan, because of budget problems, leadership crises and internal morale problems.

Amoeba-like, the Komitet Gosudarstvcnnoy Bcsopasnosti (KGB) split into several parts. But, to the world at large, clearly most important was the continuity of its international espionage or intelligence, operations. Early in 1992, what used to be the Komitet Gosudarstvcnnoy Bcsopasnosti (KGB)’s legendary First Chief Directorate became an independent spinoff, Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service (FIS). The foreign intelligence setup had been a Russian operation right along, financed largely by Russia and staffed almost exclusively by Russian personnel (other “ethnics” were regarded as unreliable). The question on everyone’s mind, throughout the years of the Gorbachev regime, was this: could the Komitet Gosudarstvcnnoy Bcsopasnosti (KGB) really be “reformed,” or were its clandestine habits so ingrained that, no matter what its public protestations. it would retain its tactics of extralegal surveillance, communications interception, infiltration of institutions, disinformation, and illicit manipulation, at home and abroad? The easy answer to this is that there is no easy answer. Moreover, within the various Komitet Gosudarstvcnnoy Bcsopasnosti (KGB) spin-offs, people didn’t really know themselves what was going to happen next, or who, and what policy, would come out on top. Still, it had always been like that. Oldtimers could recall one shake-up after another, mixed signals from competing authorities, innumerable rules and regulations handed down to Residents abroad, plus wave after wave of revelations and denials, triumphs and defeats, medals, defections, scandals uncovered and scandals covered up. The not- so-easy answer provided in this is that, “Yes, not much has changed; but beware of snap judgments. We are dealing with an ongoing process, called history. Our world is forever changing, and a well-established intelligence agency knows how to change along with it.” (Ebon, Martin. 1994, xi)

One radical interpretation, that the Komitet Gosudarstvcnnoy Bcsopasnosti (KGB) only underwent a facelift. Except for a brief period following the August 1991 coup, the Komitet Gosudarstvcnnoy Bcsopasnosti (KGB) was able to consolidate its position rapidly. Signs on doors were changed, but activities behind the doors remained much what they had been before. While department heads were removed, their places were taken by deputies in the same mold. Vadim Bakatin, who directed the Komitet Gosudarstvcnnoy Bcsopasnosti (KGB) during four crucial months-and whose impact is analyzed, admitted that he had been “conservative in changing the leadership.” Albats suggested that Bakatin was forced to go slow in making personnel changes because of “the hatred which security people felt for him.” (Ebon, Martin. 1994, xii)

As for the purely temporary spinoffs of major Komitet Gosudarstvcnnoy Bcsopasnosti (KGB) segments, such as the Border Guards, communications facilities, and the Security Service that protects high officials-were provided quickly. Well, just after the abortive August 1991 coup, people in Moscow were in a vengeful mood; right in front of the Komitet Gosudarstvcnnoy Bcsopasnosti (KGB) building, they tore down the statue of Felix Dzerzhinsky, whom Lenin had picked as head of the CHEKA. According to Andrei Oligov, chief of pubLic relations for Russia’s Federal Security Agency (FSA), the immediate successor of the Komitet Gosudarstvcnnoy Bcsopasnosti (KGB)’s domestic operations, the quick parcelling-out was a tactical move, calculated to defuse public anger. Oligov said that, “to soothe public unrest and prevent the lynching of Komitet Gosudarstvcnnoy Bcsopasnosti (KGB) people, the vandalizing of buildings and plundering of archives, it was decided to announce that the Committee would be quickly disbanded and split into independent departments.”

What wasn’t planned was the rapid falling-away of regional Komitet Gosudarstvcnnoy Bcsopasnosti (KGB) in such states as Kazakhstan and Belarus, and particularly in Ukraine. Anti- Russian sentiment in the newly independent states was often directed at the Komitet Gosudarstvcnnoy Bcsopasnosti (KGB), long regarded as a Russian weapon to enforce colonial-type controls, even provoking violent incidents that played into Moscow’s hands. Inevitably, in the long run, interregional rivals must set one national Komitet Gosudarstvcnnoy Bcsopasnosti (KGB) successor agency against another, at least in such places as Armenia and Azerbaijan, which have been at war with one another. Elsewhere, for instance in Georgia and Tajikistan, national Komitet Gosudarstvcnnoy Bcsopasnosti (KGB) organizations have had to adjust to rapid changes in government leadership, which demanded either switches in loyalty or the replacement of Komitet Gosudarstvcnnoy Bcsopasnosti (KGB) officers, at least at the top level. (Ebon, Martin. 1994, xii)

Work Cited

Hastedt, Glenn. Espionage: a reference handbook-lst ed

Ahmed, Akbar. Journey into America : The Challenge of Islam.(Washington, DC, USA: Brookings Institution Press, 2010) 369.

Bawer, Bruce. Surrender : Appeasing Islam, Sacrificing Freedom.(Westminster, MD, USA: Anchor, 2010) 30.

R.C.S Trahair. Encyclopedia of Cold War Espionage, spies and secret operations, 411

Ebon, Martin. KGB death and rebirth, 1994

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