AMERICAN SPIES: MICHAEL SULICK

THE FORMER CIA DIRECTOR’S LECTURE ON NATIONAL SECURITY DURING AND AFTER THE COLD WAR LEFT ME WITH A SIGNED BOOK, A COLOURFUL TIMELINE OF THE CIA’S INVOLVEMENT IN THE COLD WAR, AND A BASIC UNDERSTANDING OF THE MODERN THREATS INTELLIGENCE AGENCIES MUST COPE WITH. MICHAEL SULICK INTRODUCED THE TOPIC IN THE DIMMED AUDITORIUM, AND WE SAT THERE AMONG THE GRAY SEATS SILENTLY LISTENING TO HIS TAKE ON THE SOVIET­ AMERICAN EVENTS, A DIRECT AFTERMATH OF WORLD WAR II AND THE AMERICAN FEAR OF COMMUNISM. THIS CAUSE­-EFFECT SEQUENCE LED TO SULICK’S INTRODUCTION OF THE SIX POINTS OUTLINED IN THIS BOOK “AMERICAN SPIES”, WHICH ANALYSED WHY AND HOW SPIES CAME ABOUT THROUGHOUT HISTORY. SULICK DESCRIBED THE PRE-TWENTIETH CENTURY SPIES, DEPICTED IN SHORT ANECDOTES, REVEALING THEIR MOTIVATIONS AND THEIR EFFECT ON MODERN SPY TECHNIQUES. FROM THERE HE BEGAN TO LIST THE MAIN POINTS OF HIS NOVEL.
THE FIRST WAS THE MOTIVATION TO SPY, WHICH SULICK STRESSED AS VERY IMPORTANT. IT WOULD DETERMINE THE LENGTHS IN WHICH THE SPY WOULD GO TO TO ACHIEVE THEIR GOAL OF UNDERMINING THEIR GOVERNMENT. HE NAMED MONETARY INCENTIVES, BELIEFS, AND PERSONAL SECURITY AS A FEW OF THE POSSIBLE MOTIVATIONS. SULICK WENT ON TO DESCRIBE THE SECOND POINT: THE ACCESS AND SECRETS BETRAYED, WHICH WERE BOTH RESPONSIBLE FOR DETERMINING AN AGENT’S WORTH AND THE AGENT’S ABILITY TO INFLICT TANTAMOUNT DAMAGE UPON EITHER SIDE. HE ALLUDED TO ALDRICH AMES AND HOW THE CIA’S RELUCTANCE TO ADMIT TO A MOLE CAUSED SERIOUS HARM UPON THE AGENCY. SULICK’S THIRD AND FOURTH POINTS DETAILED THE TRADECRAFT AND THE EXPOSURE OF SAID TRADECRAFT, THE LATTER MAINLY REVEALED BY THE SPIES’ OWN DOING I.E. POSSESSION OF EXPENSIVE CARS AND CLOTHES OUT OF THEIR SALARY RANGE. THE TRADECRAFT CONSISTED OF WHAT SULICK SAID TO BE DEPICTED IN SOME MODERN SPY MOVIES, WITH INVISIBLE INK AND “DEAD DROPS”, BUT NOT LIMITED TO THE STEREOTYPICAL BEHAVIOUR AND CITED SIMPLE DIALOGUE BETWEEN ‘ACQUAINTANCES’ AS EFFECTIVE. THE FIFTH AND SIXTH POINTS WERE LISTED AS THE PUNISHMENT OF DISCOVERED SPIES AND THE DAMAGE THEY INFLICTED ON THEIR GOVERNMENTS AND PEOPLE. SULICK NAMED DEATH/TORTURE/PRISON AS THE BASIC PUNISHMENTS FOR SPIES, THOSE PUNISHMENTS BEKNOWNST TO ALL. THE DAMAGE INFLICTED BY A SPY WOULD USUALLY BE THAT OF COMRADES’ DEATHS OR IMPRISONMENT FROM VITAL INFORMATION BEING LEAKED, WHICH WAS CITED MANY TIMES THROUGHOUT HIS LECTURE. SULICK THEN BYPASSED THE COLD WAR TIMELINE AND INTRODUCED THE MODERN THREATS OF CYBER TERRORISM. HIS COMMENTS ON CHINESE CYBER TERRORISM, THE DARK WEB, AND THE DIFFERENT SPYING APPROACHES (IN COMPARISON TO THE COLD WAR TACTICS AND THE PASSIVE­AGGRESSIVE AMERICAN­SOVIET RELATIONS THAT NO LONGER EXIST IN TODAY’S WORLD) LEFT MUCH TO BE PONDERED, AND MADE ME EXCITED TO START MY STATE CAREER IN A WORLD OF DANGEROUS TACTICS AND HIGHER STAKES THAN EVER BEFORE.
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