US Covert Action in Britain today – Infrastructure

Introduction | Index | Agents of influence 

Usually, to operate covertly and effectively there must be some existing infrastructure. Not all components have to be covert – some can be overt or semi-overt. (Dirty Tricks or Trump Cards, p 126)

Roy Godson divides the lnfrastructure necessary for covert action into two parts, personnel and material support. The latter is presented as relatively straightforward. "occasionally states get caught in these transactions, but not often."

Personnel can include ‘legal’ intelligence officers or diplomats engaging in political action by establishing themselves as confidential advisors to local politicians beyond the framework of normal diplomatic relations. This was arguably the role played by Joseph Godson with Hugh Gaitskell in the 1950s.

It can also include ‘illegal’ deep-cover officers working as journalists, politicians, trade unionists or other professionals. "Their colleagues do not generally believe they are collaborating with foreign intelligence services," Godson notes.

One way to spot such officers may be the fact that they are working to a coordinated plan. Identifying this centrally driven agenda and those running with it was a technique used to identify Soviet covert action, known as ‘active measures’ in the past.

Introduction | Index | Agents of influence






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