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Shpiony i oxotniki za shpionami

New York Times
18 May 1997

Spy & Counterspy

  It is my conviction, based on some 70 years of experience, first as a
Government official and then in the past 45 years as a historian, that the
need by our government for secret intelligence about affairs elsewhere in
the world has been vastly overrated. I would say that something upward of
percent of what we need to know could be very well obtained by the careful
and competent study of perfectly legitimate sources of information open and
available to us in the rich library and archival holdings of this country.
Much of the remainder, if it could not be found here (and there is very
little of it that could not), could easily be nonsecretively elicited from
similar sources abroad.

  In Russia, in Stalin's time and partly thereafter, the almost psychotic
preoccupation of the Communist regime with secrecy appeared to many, not
unnaturally, to place a special premium on efforts to penetrate that
by secretive methods of our own. This led, of course, to the creation here
of a vast bureaucracy dedicated to this particular purpose; and this
after the fashion of all great bureaucratic structures, has endured to this
day long after most of the reasons for it have disappeared.

  Even in the Soviet time, much of it was superfluous. A lot of what we
to such elaborate and dangerous means to obtain secretly would have been
here for the having, given the requisite quiet and scholarly analysis of
what already lay before us.

  The attempt to elicit information by secret means has another very
negative effect that is seldom noted. The development of clandestine
in another country involves, of course, the placing and the exploitation of
secret agents in that country. This naturally incites the mounting of a
substantial effort of counterintelligence on the part of the respective
country's government. This, in turn, causes us to respond with an equally
vigorous effort of counterintelligence in order to maintain the integrity
our espionage effort.

  This competition in counterintelligence efforts tends to grow into
dimensions that wholly overshadow the original effort of positive

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Article-ID: 05_1997&3301388
Score: 82
Subject: Gary Webb responds