Spinning Intelligence: Why Intelligence Needs the Media, why the Media Needs Intelligence

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Robert Dover, Michael S. Goodman
Hurst & Company, 2009 - Disinformation - 263 pages
Throughout the twentieth century, especially during wartime and the Cold War, intelligence agents routinely used the media to publish and broadcast material that would deceive external enemies, thwart domestic subversion or simply to change the way readers thought about fascism or communism. Today stories are chanelled to journalists in order to promote a news agenda deemed favourable to MI5, MI6 or to the CIA, or to 'spin' the coverage of key issues. Investigative reporters often have a more adversarial relationship with the security services, seeing them as over-mighty agents of the state who should be subjected to forensic scrutiny of what they get up too - allegedly for the public good. The furore over 'rendition' of terrorist suspects by the CIA and the complicity of British agencies in this process is but one example of journalists uncovering practices that the intelligence community would rather have kept secret. The contributors to this book, drawn from former intelligence officers, the media and academia, explore this intriguing and often fraught contest, shedding light on many hitherto unknown aspects of the intriguing and symbiotic relationship between the 'second oldest profession' and the print and broadcast media. Speaking from the perspective of the journalist are Chapman Pincher and Gordon Corera (Security Editor, BBC), whose essays trace the evolving relationship between news media outlets and the government, especially with regards to advances in technology. Reporting from the perspective of the political institution are Sir David Omand, Nick Wilkinson, Michael Goodman, and Anthony Campbell, who explain governmental oversight of intelligence agencies, the operation of clandestine information units, and the laws that govern the control of information. Richard Aldrich investigates the exploitation of the globalized media by intelligence agencies; Scott Lucas and Steve Hewitt tackle the CIA's use of open sources for intelligence purposes; and, Wyn Bowen examines the real-world use of open source intelligence in rolling back Libya's nuclear program. Robert Dover and Pierre Lethier explore the depiction of intelligence in popular culture, a practice that helped create rendition and facilitate torture, and condition our responses to both. In the final essay, Patrick Porter focuses on cultural representations of the war on terror.

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About the author (2009)

Robert Dover is Lecturer in International Relations in the Department of Politics, International Relations and European Studies at Loughborough University, and the author of The Europeanization of British Defense Policy, 1997-2005. Michael S. Goodman is Senior Lecturer in Intelligence Studies at King's College, University of London, and author of Spying on the Nuclear Bear: Anglo-American Intelligence and the Soviet Bomb.

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