Fixing the Spy Machine: Preparing American Intelligence for the Twenty-First Century

By Richard R. Valcourt; Arthur S. Hulnick | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 8

Spying for Profit

When most people think about intelligence, they probably consider it a function of government, and indeed, intelligence activity has largely been run by governments since early history. At first most governments used intelligence to spy out subversion. Thus, we have evidence of “the King’s eyes” in a number of civilizations, including early Egypt and the lands conquered by Genghis Khan and the Mongols. Spying to learn about foreign enemies was well described by Sun Tzu in The Art of War and practiced by Hideyoshi in uniting the feudal warlords of Japan under the Tokugawa shoguns. Before the Cold War, intelligence was often thought of as a part of military operations, but with the development of civilian intelligence services in the twentieth century, that concept was broadened. Still, it was the government that ran such secret services whether in democracies or dictatorships.

The idea of using intelligence techniques in the private sector is relatively new. Perhaps its earliest manifestations can be found in the first days of the Industrial Revolution, although the evidence is scanty and anecdotal at best. We do know that in 1811, Francis Cabot Lowell, an American, managed to memorize the construction and operation of the British cotton loom despite stringent controls imposed to prevent anyone from stealing the secret of this machine. 1 Lowell was able to reconstruct the machine from memory, thus creating a new industry in the United States. In an even more bizarre incident, a farmer in Maine is alleged to have ordered his daughter to enter a Shaker community in the state so she could steal the formula for condensed milk the Shakers had invented.

Even before World War II, American auto manufacturers consistently tried to learn about new developments in style or construction from their competition. Using photo reconnaissance, the intelligence collectors

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Fixing the Spy Machine: Preparing American Intelligence for the Twenty-First Century
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface v
  • Contents ix
  • Foreword xi
  • Acknowledgments xvii
  • Acronyms xix
  • Chapter 1 - Is the Spy Machine Broken? 1
  • Chapter 2 - Stealing the Secrets 23
  • Chapter 3 - Puzzles and Mysteries 43
  • Chapter 4 - Secret Operations 63
  • Chapter 5 - Catching the Enemy’s Spies 87
  • Chapter 6 - Stopping the Bad Guys 105
  • Chapter 7 - Managing and Controlling Secret Intelligence 129
  • Chapter 8 - Spying for Profit 151
  • Chapter 9 - Secret Intelligence and the Public 173
  • Chapter 10 - Fixing the Spy Machine 191
  • Bibliography 209
  • Index 217
  • About the Author 223
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