Volume 2.2 JUNE 1995


The SISG Newsletter is a quarterly publication, provided free to all members of the Security and Intelligence Studies Group. Submissions for the Newsletter are invited from all members and should be forwarded to the Chairman, Dr. Ken Robertson, Graduate School of European and International Studies, University of Reading, Reading, RG6 2AA. Tel: (01734) 318519. Please send submission by e-mail to: wlw2@reading.ac.uk. The SISG Newsletter is edited by Philip Davies, Andrew Defty and Skipper Jones.


With Newsletter 2.1 and the 1995 Political Studies annual conference in April, the Security and Intelligence Studies Group marked its first year of operations, by all accounts a successful one. SISG has held a series of successful conference sessions, and is rapidly developing a multi-national membership.

In this edition:

1) Reading Workshop on Intelligence Policy, state of planning and preliminary programme.

2) The 1995 Annual Report from the Chair.

3) PSA 1995 Conference report, including abstracts of papers given.

4) An announcement concerning Dr. Andrew Rathmell's (Exeter) plans for a research proposal on Middle East intelligence studies.

5) The Watch List column, detailing new intelligence archive releases in the UK and United States.

6) The Technical Sources column, with the latest on useful locations on the internet, not least of which is SISG's own homepage.

Technical Sources and The Watch List are the first of several columns which will appear regularly or semi-regularly in the Newsletter, content and space permitting.

Plans are now being finalised for the Reading Workshop on Intelligence Policy. A programme has been organised, and a number of speakers have agreed to give papers. The planned panels are:

1. Britain's Intelligence Requirements
What do tasks do we need or want the intelligence services to perform after the end of the Cold War, and in the light of Northern Ireland peace process?

2. Accountability and Political Control. Given recent legislation, does Britain finally possess an adequate political and legislative system of oversight and accountability over its intelligence agencies or does much remain to be done? What implications for civil rights might be entailed by the concerns discussed in the previous two panels?

Dr. Peter Gill (Liverpool John Moores University), author of Policing Politics, and Ian Leigh (Newcastle Law School), co-author with Lawrence Lustgarten of In From the Cold, have both agreed to present papers at the Workshop and preparations are being made to include a representative from one of the relevant government departments.

The Workshop on Intelligence Policy will be held at the Ship Hotel in Reading, located in the town centre and close to Reading Station. Arrangements have been made for delegates who wish to stay overnight Friday.


Dr. Ken Robertson submitted the Chairman's Annual Report during the business meeting held at the PSA 1995 conference. Here is an abridged version of that report:

SISG Activities in 1994:

SISG held its first conference session and business meeting at the 1994 PSA annual conference in Swansea. The conference session consisted in two papers on British intelligence presented by Dr. Pete Gill and Philip Davies, with Dr. Ken Robertson in the chair and Pauline Elkes acting as discussant (both papers were printed in the conference Proceedings). At the business meeting initials plans were laid for the creation of a newsletter and for a one-day workshop on intelligence to be held at the University of Reading.

SISG members Sheila Kerr and Dr. Ken Robertson also organised two conference sessions on intelligence at the British International Studies Association annual conference at York in December, 1994. The first session at BISA was a panel of papers chaired by Sheila Kerr under the topic "New Problems, Old Solutions?". Paper-givers were: Sheila Kerr, Dr. Ken Robertson, Davina Miller and Philip Davies. The second session, chaired by Dr. Robertson, was a roundtable discussion entitled "Intelligence and International Relations: Teaching and Research". Participants in the roundtable were: Sheila Kerr, Professor Christopher Andrew, Professor Laurence Freedman, and Professor Alex Danchev.

A number of SISG members also participated in an international conference on intelligence studies held in Ottawa by the Canadian Association for Security and Intelligence Studies (CASIS) which shares a number of Canadian and British members with SISG.

The first edition of the SISG Newsletter was produced in December of 1994 and the second edition came out in March 1995.

Two sessions were held at the 1995 PSA annual conference, the first being a panel entitled "Directions in Intelligence Policy", and the second a roundtable discussion on "Intelligence: a Democratic Mandate?".

Plans for 1995-1996

Due to the pressure of SISG activities at PSA, BISA and CASIS, it was decided to postpone the Reading workshop until 23rd September 1995. Plans have been laid for two SISG sessions at the 1995 BISA conference, and two for the 1996 PSA conference also.


Currently SISG has 34 members, in the UK, Canada, US, Holland, Germany and Greece.

1995-1996 Executive
he following have been elected to posts on the SISG executive:

Chairman: Dr. K.G. Robertson (University of Reading)

Secretary: Sheila Kerr (University of Salford)

Treasurer: Philip H.J. Davies (University of Reading)

Newsletter Editors: Philip H.J. Davies, Andrew Defty (University of Salford), Skipper Jones (University of Salford)

Members at Large: Andrew Rathmell (Exeter University), Shlomo Shpiro (University of Birmingham)


SISG was particularly busy at the 1995 PSA conference, holding two panels as well as its annual business meeting. The first session was a series of papers, presented under the general heading of "Intelligence Policy and Practice". This panel involved papers on British, Canadian and Syrian intelligence. Abstracts of the three papers follow:

In Crisis and In Flux?: Politics, Parliament and Canadian Intelligence Policy
Stuart Farson (Simon Fraser University, Canada)

There have been dramatic changes over the last twenty-five years in how Canada's Intelligence Community has been overseen by both the executive branch of government and by the Legislature. Initially these changes were instigated as a result of a number of crises and scandals concerning the Security Service of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP). More recently, however, changes have been, and are being instigated by the activities of Parliament itself. In the early 1970s the government's response to domestic terrorism in Quebec focused attention on both the propriety and efficacy of the Security Service. Subsequent actions by the Security Service to deal with separatist movements in Quebec focused attention on the constitutional relationship between the Service and the government and on the oversight of the Intelligence Community by Parliament. Following a public inquiry dramatic changes in the way domestic intelligence matters were handled were put in place. In 1984, the Security Service was severed from the RCMP and a new civilian agency -- the Canadian Security Intelligence Service -- was formed in its place. When a Special Committee of the House of Commons conducted a five-year review of intelligence legislation in 1989-1990, it found that Parliament's capacity to hold the Intelligence Community accountable was extremely limited. Furthermore, its recommendations were very largely ignored.

Recent events suggest, however, that while the crisis of confidence may not be over, Parliamentarians are taking important steps to rectify matters. These have included: disallowing Cabinet Orders, rebuking Cabinet or providing illegal exemptions regarding the application of laws, citing the Government for contempt of Parliament, and compelling Ministers to disclose documents. This paper is concerned with the lessons that Parliament learned from the five-year review process and the precedent that actions to compel disclosure have subsequently had on the oversight of security and intelligence in the so-called "McInnis-Bristow Affair". It argues that procedures followed by Parliament in investigating the affair differed substantively from previous ones.

From Monitoring to Manipulation? - Intelligence and 'Iraqgate!'
Dr. Mark Phythian (Wolverhamton)

Statements made by Ministers regarding the export from Britain to Iraq of Military and dual-use technology have, from the earliest days of the Supergun Seizure through to the Scott Inquiry, sought to downplay the significance of the Intelligence Services' knowledge of this trade.

There are, however, several structural factors relating to the international arms trade which aid monitoring. Drawing on the experiences of businessmen and industrialists involved in this trade, this paper suggests that Intelligence knowledge of and involvement in 'Iraqgate' was much greater than publicly acknowledged, and that the Intelligence Services' role involved not just facilitating and monitoring the supply of military and dual-use technology, but also involved moving to frustrate this supply as the West's relations with Iraq began to change in the late 1980s.

Studying Arab Intelligence Services: The Case of Syria
Dr. Andrew Rathmell (Exeter)

The aim of this paper is to make a first foray into the virtually uncharted territory of studying Arab intelligence services by presenting the outlines of work in progress on Syrian intelligence and security services.

The paper uses widely-available sources to sketch in outline the history and current political roles as well as organisational structure of Syrian intelligence services. This section is a survey of the development of intelligence institutions and their role in politics over the past forty years, and an assessment of the role of the intelligence and security services in modern Syrian politics and economics.

The paper also demonstrates how historical sources can be used to give a detailed picture of intelligence and covert operations in the recent past, a method which provides a way in to a subject which is hampered by lack of solid contemporary source material. The historical section of the paper includes a detailed study of Syrian covert operations in Lebanon during the 1950s,

Hopefully this paper will stimulate interest in doing research on intelligence in the developing world, a neglected area.

The second session was a round-table discussion entitled "A Democratic Mandate for British Intelligence". The purpose of this session was to undertake a preliminary survey of the issues which will be examined in greater detail at the Reading Workshop (see p.1). The panel was chaired by Dr. Robertson, and the participants were Dr. David Stafford (St. Andrews), Ian Leigh (Newcastle Law School), Professor Bernard Porter (Newcastle) and Professor Paul Rogers (Bradford). Discussion was often vigorous, with a particularly interesting exchange on the role of Ministers in the activities of intelligence services.

Intelligence in the Middle East

Andrew Rathmell is current organising a research project on intelligence in the middle east. He has forwarded this research proposal to the Newsletter. Individuals wishing more information should contact him at the address given at the end.

Research Proposal: Intelligence in the Middle East

The aim of this research project is to generate and collate research on the phenomenon of intelligence services in the Middle East. This project represents a first foray into a virtually uncharted territory of academic research. The field of inquiry should be of the utmost interest to area specialists as well as to political scientists engaged in the study of intelligence organisations.

Significance of the Study

The academic study of intelligence has taken off in the West over the past decade and a half but the field of comparative intelligence studies is noticeably lacking in breadth. This lacuna is nowhere more noticeable than in relation to the Middle East.

The proposed research represents a first attempt to make up for this gap in the literature. The need to study intelligence in the Middle East is pressing since these institutions are of the utmost political importance in a large number of Arab states as well as in Iran.

In domestic politics, many modern Arab states have become virtual security states. The intelligence and security services have been elevated to a leading role in the state. As the current unrest in Algeria, Egypt, Palestine, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain indicates, the growing Islamist threat to many of these states is likely to lead to an increased role for repressive apparatuses.

On the foreign side, it is proposed to study two aspects of the activities of Arab intelligence services. First, the question of the relative lack of ability shown by many services in interpreting strategic intelligence. Second, the proclivity of some of these intelligence services for covert action, including paramilitary and terrorist operations, against opponents abroad.

Summary of Aims

The contributors to this project will examine various aspects of intelligence in the Arab world. Their work will i) contribute to an understanding of the political structure of contemporary Arab states and Iran by looking at a neglected aspect of these states, ii) contribute to the modern history of the region's international relations by looking at covert and paramilitary actions, iii) provide basic empirical material that will broaden the scope of comparative intelligence studies.

Dr. Andrew Rathmell
Centre for Arab Gulf Studies
Old Library
University of Exeter
Prince of Wales Road
Exeter EX4 4JZ, U.K.
tel: (44) 01392 264025 fax: (44) 01392 264023


Britain: Public Records Office


Recently made available under the Waldegrave Initiative are the records of the Special Operations Executive in Central and Eastern Europe, 1940-1946. These records represent the largest release of documents yet made to the Public Records Office on special operations. The files contain information on operations, agents and personnel, administration and intelligence and the political ramifications of SOE's work in these countries. The records are very similar to those SOE files already released: telegrams, situation reports, planning papers, duplicate Foreign Office material, personnel records, and the occasional map, plan or photograph.

This vast release of records can be found in HS 4. Records of particular interest include:

SOE and the assassination of Heydrich, 1941-42, (operation ANTHROPOID): HS 4/18, HS 4/19, HS 4/22, HS 4/39.

SOE as a channel for Hungarian peace initiative 1943-44: HS 4/98, HS 4/105, HS 4/110, HS 4/111, HS 4/125, HS 4/133.

Plans for the use of fake South American legations for the infiltration of Poles into Europe, 1940-41 (KON project): HS 4/274, HS 4/325

The Katyn Massacre: SOE reports. HS 4/137, HS 4/139, HS 4/212

Establishment of SOE Mission in Moscow, 1941: HS 4/327, HS 4/329, HS 4/349, HS 4/355.

Conflict with FO on using Russian agents, 1942-1944. HS 4/327, HS 4/329

Use of Russian POWs in France on the invasion of Europe, June 1944, without agreement of Soviet Government. HS 4/328, HS 4/330, HS 4/339, HS 4/354

United States National Archive

Recently declassified material from the US archives includes papers of cryptographer Herbert O. Yardley. The papers include around 100,000 pages of correspondence, memoranda and code indices which may be found in RG 457. Contact Archives I Textual Reference Branch at 1-202-501-5425.

The FBI has made available additional material relating to the assassination of President Kennedy, including material on organised crime, and the FBI's targeting of the US Communist Party through operation SOLO. These papers are held in RG 65 at College Park, Maryland. Contact the Kennedy Assassination Access Staff at 1-301-713-6620.

US Army Staff

Army declassifications include Records of the Assistant Chief of Staff G-2 (Intelligence), formerly Top Secret Intelligence Documents, 1943-159, now in RG 319. Contact Suitland Reference Branch at 1-301-457-7190.

Wanted: Archives

The Watch List column would particularly like to invite submissions from Canadian and European members on the availability or release of intelligence-related archives in their countries. Please forward them to the Newsletter either by email to wlw2@reading.ac.uk or "snailmail" to Andrew Defty, Department of Politics and Contemporary History, University of Salford, M5 4WT.


The SISG Web Page

Since the last edition, the onward march of technology has continued unabated. SISG now has a World Wide Web home page which can be found at:


Currently, the SISG page includes: current information on the Reading Workshop; plans for conference sessions at BISA 1995; a "technical sources" page providing links to intelligence-related sites such as the CIA homepage, and others; and a link to back-issues of the SISG Newsletter, although these remain to be converted to HTML. A "situation report" page will give information on recent developments not covered by the other pages, and will be revised and updated weekly.

The beauty of the World Wide Web is that additional pages can be set up anywhere, so if you wish to contribute a page to SISG's virtual existence just forward the page's URL (Universal Resource Location) to SISG, which now has its own e-mail address at wlw2@reading.ac.uk. We'll include a link to your page at the soonest possible opportunity.

Possible Additional Web Pages:

1) One very useful function would be to have an index of members and their research interests (those who wish to be publicly identified, that is). If members forward information, or set up their own personal home pages on their own computers, these could be included.

2) Special topic pages would be very useful, for example, specialist pages concerned with specific regions or agencies (some of these already exist, see below).

Intelligence Sites on the Web

A number of official and unofficial intelligence pages exist on the net.

United States:
Central Intelligence Agency:

Federal Bureau of Investigation:

National Security Agency:

The NSA pages include one for the National Cryptologic Museum.

Satellite imagery:

US Treasury (Secret Service):

US Government:

The sci.crypt usenet discussion group's "FAQ" (Frequently Asked Questions) sheet includes a section concerned with the role of the NSA. This can be found at:

Page 9 deals specifically with the NSA.

They have also posted an HTML copy of the NSA charter at:

Apart from SISG's unofficial presence, there are (unsurprisingly) no official British intelligence pages, although an information page on British intelligence is one of the planned extensions to the SISG presence in cyberspace. However, as part of the Waldegrave Initiative, there is an open government and citizen's charter page at:

Communications Security Establishment:

Canadian Association for Security and Intelligence Studies:

Canadian Security Intelligence Service:
(maintained by James Norminton)

Mossad Page:
(maintained by Victor Ostrovsky)

BISA 1995

SISG has requested two panel slots at the coming British International Studies Association annual conference at the University of Southampton, 18-20 December 1995, and two panels at the 1996 PSA conference. One of the BISA is being organised by Dr. Bruce Hoffman (St. Andrews), but suggestions for the second BISA session and the two PSA session are very welcome. Remember that you can e-mail proposals to SISG via the World Wide Web as well!
SISG is a specialist group of the UK Political Studies Association
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