The Red and the Blue: Cambridge, Treason, and Intelligence

The Red and the Blue: Cambridge, Treason, and Intelligence

The Red and the Blue: Cambridge, Treason, and Intelligence

The Red and the Blue: Cambridge, Treason, and Intelligence

Excerpt

One month before the Central Intelligence Agency was established in 1947, some American scientists disconcerted the Secretary of Defense, James Forrestal. They proved that other scientists might discover the state of national atomic research by reading Scientific American and other publications. They could reach the same conclusions on Russian atomic research by reading Soviet publications. Their testimony was used by the defence lawyers of the atomic spy, Klaus Fuchs, to demonstrate that he had merely supplied the Russians with information which was available in scholarly works. Universities could openly provide information that covert operations acquired only by stealth.

Secret intelligence, the British historian Hugh Trevor-Roper has written, should be the continuation of open intelligence by other means. It is particularly so in the world of science. The broadcasting of new discoveries has been desired by most scientists and has proved impossible to prevent for long. The tradition of the open exchange of the results of pure research between leaders in the field is as old as the classical world of the Greeks. The European nations, above all, have created global trade by the export of their technological innovations. While a closed empire like China might try to restrict the knowledge of the manufacture of silk for economic reasons, it could not do so for ever. Silkworms were smuggled out to the west in a hollow tube, one of the first acts of scientific espionage since Prometheus stole fire from the gods. Secrecy is not possible indefinitely in research or industry. There can only be delay in the spread of intelligence.

Intelligence itself is first a capacity and quality of mind: as we . . .

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