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Traitors Among Us: Inside the Spy Catcher's World

4.6 out of 5 stars 51 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0156011174
ISBN-10: 0156011174
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Although the Clyde Conrad espionage circle won't ring bells for most readers, the case ranks as one of the most damaging breaches of U.S. security. Herrington, who ran the army's Foreign Counterintelligence Activity (FCA), tells how the U.S. closed in on Conrad and his cohorts, giving readers a spooks'-eye view of mid-1980s Cold War intrigue. Conrad, who began spying while a sergeant in the U.S. Army, spent 13 years during the Cold War plundering national security secrets and selling them to Soviet bloc customers. Conrad's spy net was so elaborate and far-reaching that American investigators spent years tracking and documenting his crimes before actually making an arrest. Even then, Conrad's capture became a matter of delicate international negotiation as American counterintelligence officers investigated Conrad on German territory without telling German authorities until it came time to arrest the spy. Chief among the investigators' concerns was that their operation would be blown by a New York Times reporter who had been tipped off that a major spy case was underway. Although a multi-chapter foray into another spy case proves far less exciting then the tale of the Conrad investigation, Herrington (Stalking the Vietcong) is a natural storyteller who effectively evokes the spy-laden atmosphere of Cold War Berlin. He also gives readers a sense of the nature of counterintelligence workAhow months and even years of tedious legwork can explode into moments of insight, when puzzle pieces finally come together, and moments of high drama, when the chase finally ensues. Photos not seen by PW. (July)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Herrington, former head of the U.S. Army Counterintelligence Unit and author of Stalking the Viet Cong (Presidio, 1997), offers a fascinating view of life as a spy catcher in West Berlin during the height of the Cold War. His description of the search for and capture of Clyde Conrad and James Hall (possibly the most damaging spies in American history, who for 13 years handed over America's secret war plans to the Soviets) surpasses any spy fiction. Herrington weaves his story well: the hours of stalking and investigating, the international legal hassles, and the unexpected twists keep the reader on edge at all times. Hall and Conrad were probably more dangerous to Western security than Ames and Walker, and their intriguing story needs to be told. Highly recommended for all collections.ARichard S. Nowicki, Emerson Vocational H.S., Buffalo, NY
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Harvest Books (October 19, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0156011174
  • ISBN-13: 978-0156011174
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.1 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #545,272 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Robert David STEELE Vivas HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on June 28, 2000
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book, highly recommended by the Association of Former Intelligence Officers (AFIO), grabbed me from the beginning. Stuart, whom I know as one of the most thoughtful and self-effacing Colonels in military intelligence, wisely chooses to focus on the two most important cases in recent U.S. military history. For a catalog of all the others, see "Merchants of Treason" by Tom Allen and Norman Polmar. A few things about this valuable book bear emphasis here: 1) early on, the FBI tried to shut the CIA out of the first case, and Col Herrington very wisely insisted on including them--leading to critical CIA contributions without which the case would not have been solved; 2) counterintelligence is incredible tedious, boring, *hard* work, and it takes a special kind of commander to maintain morale under such circumstances; 3) both Defense and Justice lawyers screwed up big-time by not being aware that military intelligence activities in Austria were illegal in Austria and therefore warranted early involvement of the Austrian government--this ignorance cost us heavily; 4) allowing soldiers to "homestead" in sensitive intelligence positions anywhere is very dangerous; and finally--bringing to bear some personal knowledge here--5) success is temporary, failure is forever...I'll wager the Army's Foreign Counterintelligence Activity has gone downhill since this book was written, and that the old "go along easy" habits of those that have been homesteading too long at FCA are again rearing their ugly heads. Counterintelligence is still a backwater, and any commander, however exceptional, is going to need strong Service-level support if they are to keep their senior civil servant (bureaucratic) elements in line.Read more ›
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Format: Hardcover
I am not an aficionado of the spy genre, but this book held my interest throughout. I would guess that that's because of it's realism. The world of spies and spycatchers appears to be much drabber than what is portrayed in the novels of Le Carre. I don't quite understand why I like that better, but it's probably because I read such books to find out about the real world rather than for escape into a fantasy world.
I found the amount of politics and bureaucratic hurdles Herrington and his team had to go through appalling, particularly the Justice Department insistence on a 100% airtight case against a traitor of the magnitude of Clyde Conrad. On p.212 an attorney of the Justice Dept. says they will not authorize the arrest of Conrad in spite of an overwhelming pile of evidence, and Herrington asks if that is the attorney's personal view or the position of the attorney general. The attorney answers ambiguously that it is the view of the Justice Department. I find it very, very hard to believe that either Ed Meese or William French Smith would hesitate to go after an enemy agent like Conrad out of fear of failing to obtain a conviction. That sort of timidity in defense of the departmental resume just wasn't characteristic of the Reagan appointees. No, this sounds more like eunuchs guarding their little piece of turf. Failing to arrest and prosecute Clyde Conrad on the grounds that you might not get a conviction is tantamount to letting Timothy McVeigh run free because he wasn't seen at the site of the Oklahoma City bombing. I would only fault Colonel Herrington for not putting the names of those cowardly Justice Department lawyers into this very fine book for all to read.
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Format: Hardcover
Stuart Herrington's book is a textbook on how to catch spies. I have not read a single book on counterintelligence that describes in detail the painstaking work -- sometimes combined with a stroke of luck -- that goes into making a solid case against traitors willing to sell their country's security. Although there have been very few casesof espionage against the U.S. uncovered except through defectors or through a mole the U.S. had inside a hostile service, the hard part is proving it. Colonel Herrington is to be commended for his generous and unstinting praise of the U.S. Army's counterintelligence special agents, the CIA and the FBI. His step-by-step review of operations involved in the the cases he cites show the complexities involved and the necessity for close cooperation among the various security agencies which more often than not have been portrayed as glory-seeking turf battlers. Criticism that Colonel Herrington went overboard with citing the good work of his special agents and praising the general officers whom he had to keep up-to-date, is entirely misplaced. Instead, the colonel did the honorable thing: He gave credit where credit was due. In the silent war of espionage this must be a first. In researching my book "Stasi: The Untold Story of the East German Secret Police", I interviewed a number of German offcials who told me that they were awed by the dedication and professionalism of Stuart Herrington and his special agents. As a former intelligence officer, I tip my hat to Stuart Herrington. A well-written must read.
John O. Koehler author, Stasi: The Untold Story of the East German Secret Police, Westview Press.
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