(21. - 1046.) The Second Oldest Profession by Phillip Knightley (1986) - A lively history of espionage in the first 86 years of the 20th Century.England created its first intelligence agency, the Secret Service Bureau, in 1909 in response to a public campaign asserting there were thousands of German spies in the country. A writer and adventurer, William Le Queux, found spies everywhere for he considered suspicious characters to be spies. The threat was non-existent. Germany’s rudimentary intelligence service was spying on Russia and France. As has often been the case the fear of spies has far exceeded the spying being done.
…. a genuine eccentric, even by the standards of the Royal Navy. It is difficult to write seriously about Cumming, the first ‘C”, as the head of the service is called to this day. He wore a gold-rimmed monocle, wrote only in green ink, and, after he lost a leg in an accident, used to get around the corridors by putting his wooden one on a child’s scooter and propelling himself vigorously with the other. Visitors were intimidated by his habit of stabbing this wooden leg with his paper knife in order to drive home the point of an argument. His journal, a battered naval log book, contains entries such as, ‘To Clarkson’s today to buy a new disguise’From the start there have been certain constant themes in the world of espionage:
1.) Spies have a tendency to create false intelligence to justify themselves;
2.) Spies, too often, will use funds assigned them for spying for their personal purposes. and,
3.) There will be competing overlapping intelligence agencies created.In England, by the end of WW I, in addition to the Secret Service Bureau, broken down into MI5 and MI6 (also known as the Secret Intelligence Service), the Royal Navy, the Army and War Office all had their own agencies. If this was not enough there was the Indian Secret Intelligence Service created to thwart German spy efforts in England.
Sorge and his Japanese recruit, Ozaki Hotsumi, not only provided quality intelligence information they worked themselves up in the German embassy in Tokyo and the Japanese establishment to levels that not merely allowed them to obtain information but to influence policy in favour of Russia. In particular, they worked to have Japan respect its neutrality treaty with Russia and not attack the Soviet Union in 1941.
(My next post discusses the post-WW II portion of the book.)