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Intelligence war and fate of country

Posted February. 21, 2023 07:39,   

Updated February. 21, 2023 07:39


The Art of War’s Chapter 13 Use of Spies deals with how to engage in intelligence war. Although it may be an unnatural fit for a book on military strategy, almost all great commanders used spies in the history of war. There are great commanders whose record of using spies is not very visible, but it is more likely to be the case that they used spies so well that they were not revealed rather than not using spies.

During the Battle of Kadesh, Ramesses II almost lost the war due to false intelligence delivered by a fake line crosser. Greek spies also played critical roles in the Battle of Marathon and the Battle of Salamis where Greece, a small country, beat the Persian Empire. Napoleon was the master of intelligence war compared to competitors during his time.

The key to intelligence war is not to gain intelligence but to analyze accurately and find the truth. The Allies of World War II released disinformation about several potential landing locations while preparing for the invasion of Normandy. There could have been a critical mistake during this process, which was that intelligence about the correct location, Normandy, was strictly kept secret. This indeed can be a meaningful clue to the German intelligence agency.

The Allies released intelligence about Normandy to a German spy whose identity was known to them but intentionally ignored. Germany also knew his identity was revealed but acted as if it didn’t to gain disinformation from the U.K. As the spy delivered intelligence about Normandy being the location of the landing, the German intelligence agency thought this was fake information and excluded Normandy. However, that was the scheme of the Allies. The Allies even knew that Germany found out the U.K. discovered the spy’s identity.

Intelligence war is composed of three pillars – gaining intelligence, analysis and fact-checking, and deception. If just one of them is lacking, intelligence war cannot be won and the fate of a country can change. Therefore, intelligence organizations should be strictly professional and protected regardless of politics. Separating intelligence organizations from politics is a difficult task in any country. However, it should be done with the best efforts possible.