Solid History of Two Successes, Hidden Story of Failure,
June 28, 2000
This book, highly recommended by the Association of Former Intelligence Officers (AFIO), grabbed me from the beginning. Stuart, whom I know as one of the most thoughtful and self-effacing Colonels in military intelligence, wisely chooses to focus on the two most important cases in recent U.S. military history. For a catalog of all the others, see “Merchants of Treason” by Tom Allen and Norman Polmar. A few things about this valuable book bear emphasis here: 1) early on, the FBI tried to shut the CIA out of the first case, and Col Herrington very wisely insisted on including them–leading to critical CIA contributions without which the case would not have been solved; 2) counterintelligence is incredible tedious, boring, *hard* work, and it takes a special kind of commander to maintain morale under such circumstances; 3) both Defense and Justice lawyers screwed up big-time by not being aware that military intelligence activities in Austria were illegal in Austria and therefore warranted early involvement of the Austrian government–this ignorance cost us heavily; 4) allowing soldiers to “homestead” in sensitive intelligence positions anywhere is very dangerous; and finally–bringing to bear some personal knowledge here–5) success is temporary, failure is forever…I’ll wager the Army’s Foreign Counterintelligence Activity has gone downhill since this book was written, and that the old “go along easy” habits of those that have been homesteading too long at FCA are again rearing their ugly heads. Counterintelligence is still a backwater, and any commander, however exceptional, is going to need strong Service-level support if they are to keep their senior civil servant (bureaucratic) elements in line. This book is an excellent touchstone for Congressional members and staff, Service and DoD chiefs who care little for counterintelligence but need to do more, and for citizens who need to know that counterintelligence is on the “front lines” every day, in every clime and place.