Spying is seen as the act of obtaining information clandestinely. The term applies particularly to the covert act of collecting military, industrial, and political data about one nation for the benefit of another. In truth the majority of the information collected is not that ‘secret’ but often the interpretation of the synergism is. Espionage is defined as the practice of spying or the using of spies.
Spying and espionage is a part of intelligence activity, which is also concerned with analysis of diplomatic reports, newspapers, periodicals, technical publications, commercial statistics, and radio and television broadcasts. In the last fifty years espionage activity has been greatly supplemented by technological advances, especially in the areas of radio signal interception and high-altitude photography. Surveillance with high-technology equipment on the ground or from high-altitude planes and satellites has become an important espionage technique (i.e. Cuban missile crisis). Code making and code breaking (cryptography) have become computerized and very effective. The threat of foreign espionage is used as an excuse for internal suppression and the suspension of civil rights in many countries. Espionage is a very important part of guerrilla warfare and counterinsurgency. The defensive side of intelligence activity, i.e., preventing another nation from gaining such information, is known as counterespionage. Under international law, intelligence activities are not illegal; however, every nation has laws against espionage conducted against it.
The importance of espionage in military affairs has been recognized since the beginning of recorded history. The Egyptians had a well-developed secret service, and spying and subversion are mentioned in the ‘Iliad’ and in the ‘Bible’. The ancient Chinese treatise (c.500 B.C.) on the Art of War (see Sun Tzu) devotes much attention to deception and intelligence gathering, arguing that all war is based on deception. Whilst...
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