The Secret History of the CIA’s Spytechs, from Communism to Al-Qaeda

Foreword by: George J. Tenet

Additional Formats
  • Ebook
  • ISBN 9781440635304
  • 576 Pages
  • Plume
  • Adult


Who’s spying on you? And how are they doing it?

Spycraft offers an unprecedented look at the CIA’s most secretive operations and the devices that made them possible.  

Written by the former director of the CIA’s Office of Technical Service, Robert Wallace (a real-life Q, straight out of the James Bond films), and internationally renowned intelligence historian H. Keith Melton, Spycraft reveals how the CIA carries out its life-and-death missions against a backdrop of geopolitical tensions – including the Cold War, the Cuben Missile Crisis, and the War on Terror. 

More relevant than ever – given the news about Edward Snowden and the NSA, concerns about privacy rights, organizations like Julian Assange’s WikiLeaks, and popular entertainment like The Americans and Homeland - Spycraft is an important and revealing primer on the fundamentals of high-tech espionage.  


Robert Wallace, H. Keith Melton, Henry R. Schlesinger, Foreword by: George J. Tenet


“Reveals more concrete information about CIA tradecraft than any book.”
-The Washington Times

“This is a story I thought could never be told.”
-James M. Olson, former chief of CIA counterintelligence

“The first comprehensive look at the technical achievements of American espionage from the 1940s to the present.”

Table of Contents

Official Message from the CIA

Section I. At The Beggining

1. My Hair Stood on End
2. We Must Be Ruthless

Section II. Playing Catch-Up

3. The Penkovsky Era
4. Beyond Penkovsky
5. Bring in the Engineers
6. Building Better Gadgets

Section III. In The Passing Lane

7. Moving Through the Gap
8. The Pen Is Mightier Than the Sword (and Shield)
9. Fire in the Arctic
10. A Dissident at Heart
11. An Operation Called CKTAW

Section IV. Let The Walls Have Ears

12. Cold Beer, Cheap Hotels, and a Voltmeter
13. Progress in a New Era
14. The Age of Bond Arrives
15. Genius Is Where You Find It

Section V. Prison, Bullet, Passport, Bomb

16. Conspicuous Fortitude, Exemplary Courage in a Cuban Jail
17. War by Any Other Name
18. Con Men, Fabricators, and Forgers
19. Tracking Terrorist Snakes

Section VI. Fundamentals Of Tradecraft

20. Assessment
21. Cover and Disguise
22. Concealments
23. Clandestine Surveillance
24. Covert Communications
25. Spies and the Age of Information
Epilogue: An Uncommon Service

Appendix A: U.S. Clandestine Services and OTS Organizational Genealogy
Appendix B: Selected Chronology of OTS
Appendix C: Directors of OTS
Appendix D: CIA Trailblazers from OTS
Appendix E: Pseudonyms of CIA Officers Used
Appendix F: Instructions to Decipher the Official Message from the CIA on page xxv

Selected Bibliography

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