July 19, 2014

Humint

This morning I listened to Bob Edwards interview Giles Milton abour his new book, Russian Roulette: A Deadly Game: How British Spies Thwarted Lenin's Global Plot. Milton is quite a storyteller and he did a great job spinning tales of the exploits of Mansfield Cumming and Sidney Reilly. Quite a bit of the interview went into an appreciation of human effort and Cumming's skill at building a successful network of humans. It was quite a surprise to listen to a Weekend Edition report a little later in which Spy Museum historian Vince Houghton talked about "humint," human intelligence, and Germany's consideration of a plan to start using typewriters again to foil the NSA's eavesdropping and other electronic surveillance.