My recent post on the Cassandra Effect led me to rummage through posts from the past on the subject of intelligence. I took one such post and revised it to fit the context of today. Here it is.
Chuck Griffin, the protagonist of my novel, Last of the Annamese, is professional in the business of collecting and analyzing information from all sources about North Vietnam. He uses data from signals intelligence, aerial and satellite photography, interrogation reports, captured documents, human intelligence (spying), and even transcripts from the Liberation News Agency, the propaganda organ of the North Vietnamese, to determine what the enemy is up to. And he has the rare gift of being able to forecast what’s going to happen next.
Chuck’s profession is based on my own experience. I, too, was a professional, but only in the signals intelligence business, and I, too, had the gift.
But I’ve discovered over the years that many Americans view intelligence as a profession with suspicion. They believe there’s something sneaky about it, and they distrust those engaged in it.
They’re right that intelligence is a sneaky enterprise. It has to be. If the target knows of efforts to collect information about him, he can usually put a stop to it. So the sources and methods of intelligence must remain secret, or intelligence will not succeed.