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Thwarting Enemies at Home and Abroad: How to Be a Counterintelligence Officer [Kindle Edition]

William R. Johnson , William Hood
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)

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Book Description

A Classic in Counterintelligence -- Now Back in Print

Originally published in 1987, Thwarting Enemies at Home and Abroad is a unique primer that teaches the principles, strategy, and tradecraft of counterintelligence (CI). CI is often misunderstood and narrowly equated with security and catching spies, which are only part of the picture. As William R. Johnson explains, CI is the art of actively protecting secrets but also aggressively thwarting, penetrating, and deceiving hostile intelligence organizations to neutralize or even manipulate their operations.

Johnson, a career CIA intelligence officer, lucidly presents the nuts and bolts of the business of counterintelligence and the characteristics that make a good CI officer. Although written during the late Cold War, this book continues to be useful for intelligence professionals, scholars, and students because the basic principles of CI are largely timeless. General readers will enjoy the lively narrative and detailed descriptions of tradecraft that reveal the real world of intelligence and espionage. A new foreword by former CIA officer and noted author William Hood provides a contemporary perspective on this valuable book and its author.

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Editorial Reviews


"Johnson's book is easily the best introduction to the frequently misunderstood world of counterintelligence. This classic work, packed with timeless principles and highly readable, is a vital addition to the bookshelf of any intelligence professional." -- David N. Edger, former CIA operations officer, and visiting professor, University of Oklahoma

"Counterintelligence, without question, is the toughest job in the world of spying. And, historically, we haven't been as good at it as we should. That needs to change. One glaring shortcoming in recent years has been the lack of a good treatise on the 'art' of counterintelligence. William Johnson's book, which has been out of print for years, fills that gap. He gets it right. Only a respected CI pro like [Johnson] could have described so clearly our arcane business of dangles, doubles, defectors, and deception. Thwarting Enemies at Home and Abroad will not only be a fascinating read for the general public but will also serve as a text for a whole new generation of CI trainees." -- James M. Olson, former chief of CIA counterintelligence and author of Fair Play: The Moral Dilemmas of Spying

About the Author

William R. Johnson worked in U.S. Army intelligence in World War II. He went on to serve in various positions around the world with the CIA, including head of the Agency's Far East counterintelligence operations and Saigon base chief, until his retirement in 1977, when he and his wife Pat returned to Colorado. Mr. Johnson died in 2005.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1680 KB
  • Print Length: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Georgetown University Press (September 30, 1987)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #177,144 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
If you are looking for an insight into counterintelligence operations... This Book Is It!

"Thwarting Enemies At Home And Abroad" will give you an inside look at how counterintelligence agents really do their jobs. You will learn how counterintelligence is different from security and different from law enforcement, and you will learn where these areas overlap.

The book explains collection, collation, and indexing, and how to develop counterintelligence databases. It explains how agents are recruited and run, and how they are safeguarded. And... it explains how to manage security of your operations.

Overall this book is very informative and yet still easy to read and understand.

Highly Recommended.

*** Contents ***
1. What Is Counterintelligence?
2. Who Goes Into Counterintelligence, and Why?
3. Conflicting Goals: Law Enforcement versus Manipulation
4. The Support Apparatus
5. Interrogation: How It Really Works
6. How To Manage The Polygraph
7. How To Manage Physical Surveillance
8. How To Manage Technical Surveillance
9. Double Agents: What They Are Good For
10. Double Agents: How To Get And Maintain A Stable
11. Double Agents: Feeding And Care
12. Double Agents: Passing Information to the Enemy
13. Moles in the Enemy's Garden: Your Best Weapon
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28 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thwarting Enemies at Home and Abroad October 25, 2006
I have written this for people who want to know what counterintelligence is, not what it ought to be, and for people who may be interested in it as a trade or profession.

The book is about what professional intelligence officers call "tradecraft", specifically the craft used in the trade of counterintelligence. It is not about politics or policy or communism or anticommunism or justice in the Third World or human rights or religion, although these affect the trade of counterintelligence just as they do the trade of stock-brokering or oil exploration or journalism. They will be mentioned occasionally, and my concerns about them will be evident, but only as they are elements of the enviroment in which counterintelligence functions.

My thirty-odd years working in counterintelligence have all been spent as an American official, but I have worked much of that time with the counterintelligence officers of other countries. I believe this book will be useful to readers not only in the United States but also in other countries allied with the U.S. and in some non-allied, non-hostile, where espionage and terrorism occur.

To illustrate various points I have cited many actual cases. Some of these have been written about publicly elsewhere, with varying degrees of accuracy, and some have not. Those which have not yet come to the attention of journalists, historians or writers of fictional documentaries I have altered (in counterintelligence jargon, "sanitized") by changing names, dates and places. I have done this to protect myself and to protect what American law calls "sources and methods" from hostile action.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The best introduction to CI January 25, 2009
People have mistaken ideas about what counterintelligence is all about. This book is the clearest, most direct write-up of the nuts and bolts of spy catching and protecting on-going operations that I have read. I fear that over the last few years many of our intelligence professionals have lost some of the skills described in this book and I urge both current and would-be future intelligence officers to read this text.

Yes, the book is a bit dated. The author was an "Angleton" (not a totally good thing) but he definitely knows how to explain a complex issue in terms anyone can understand. I will be using this book with my undergraduate and graduate intelligence classes.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A high-yield source March 14, 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
What a cool little book! I'd subtitle it 'The Case Officer's Primer.' Johnson is an engaging, even teasing writer. It's obvious all you're getting is the surface stuff, but this is still the best book I've come across on the routine management of intelligence work. It focuses on 'double agents' and defectors and how to handle them, but the practical insights into the day-to-day work of a Case Officer, from mundane to occasionally chilling, and from management to spycraft, are only infrequently described elsewhere, and never in such an entertaining style.
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Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
though parts of this book addresses the administrative part of running an office, much is devoted to how individuals get recruited as double agents, how penetration of a foreign intelligent service occurs and the author provide actuall examples from history in including OSS(precursor to CIA) and other aspect inteliigent activities during WWII and more recent. those are the most interesting part fo the book. I've never been in the profession and found the book invaluable from several points of view
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Decent snapshot of C.I. work. September 13, 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
"Thwarting Enemies at Home and Abroad" provides a pretty decent overview of counterintelligence work. If you work in the intelligence field (or even if you're just someone who reads on the subject), you might find the book a little boring.

I think the first half of the book flows pretty well and provides the reader a quick overview of several areas of intel work. The second half of the book, however, slows down a bit as it spends an unpleasant amount of time (personal opinion) on recruiting assets and "double agents." Now keep in mind, recruiting assets/agents is one of the areas that makes counterintel different than other types of intel specialties (such as Collections, Analysis, etc.).

Be that as it may, I found the latter half of the book a little dry/tough to get through and found myself saying, "Yeah, yeah, I've got it. Can we please move on?" So unless you're really interested in "recruiting assets," you may want to consider a different book. If you're okay with nearly half the book dealing with recruiting and handling assets, you should be fine.

Other than that, I like how the author touches bases on the polygraph, surveillance, and interrogations. It doesn't go in depth (and definitely stays on the "unclas" side of things), but it's still good to get some insight on the specific topics from someone who has a lot of experience.

If you are interested in learning a little bit about C.I. work, this is a good start. It's not very long and offers decent "bang for your buck." I bought a used copy of it off Amazon and don't regret it. I like it enough that I will keep it in my "library" at home, so I give it a "thumbs up" overall.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Informative book, Not for the faint at hart, The reader hopes his side wins.
Published 1 month ago by P. Wesley Roten
2.0 out of 5 stars Crime manual
Not very expansive, more a psychological pamphlet on how to break laws (stealing stuff) and getting used being a criminal. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Hans Jensen
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read
Great book would recommend to others to read breaks down jargon for an easy read regardless of your current knowledge
Published 9 months ago by Deerassassin22
5.0 out of 5 stars Excelent
Excelent book. I recommend it for all professionals on this matters. I enjoy it very much. It seems to be actual.
Published 11 months ago by Diego Dalmau
5.0 out of 5 stars Mind Boggling Good
William Johnson wrote this gem describing counterintelligence operations in broad terms without being condescending or boring. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Eddie Music
2.0 out of 5 stars Not much modern information
The book covers a lot of old techniques, particularly with regard to technical equipment. Some of the stories were interesting and the personnel exploitation/interrogation... Read more
Published 14 months ago by Jeff
5.0 out of 5 stars Simple and Simpler
This book is not going to turn you into a Counterintellegence expert; however, it you don't or haven't worked in the field, you absolutely will learn something. Read more
Published 16 months ago by nate rogers
2.0 out of 5 stars Far too Basic
Far too basic of a book for my use. If you are truely a novice this is probably a good introduction. Read more
Published 19 months ago by JB
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Introduction
The author goes into great detail and offers various case studies. He also displays the management side; which is often overlooked by most. Read more
Published 21 months ago by Eric Wilson
5.0 out of 5 stars Solid Commentary
The commentary of those who have purchased this book has helped me very well in my decision to purchase this book in the future. Read more
Published 24 months ago by KittyScratchesBooks
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