Dirty Tricks And Trump Cards / Edition 1

Paperback (Print)
Buy New
Buy New from BN.com
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $14.59
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 52%)
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (13) from $14.59   
  • New (7) from $27.58   
  • Used (6) from $14.59   


Contrary to popular misconceptions and public branding as "dirty tricks," covert action and counterintelligence can have considerable value. Democracies, while wary of these instruments, have benefited significantly from their use, saving lives, treasure, and gaining strategic advantage. As liberal democracies confront the post-Cold War mix of rogue states and non-state actors, such as criminals and terrorists, and weapons of mass destruction and mass disruption, these clandestine arts may prove to be important tools of statecraft, and perhaps trump cards in the twenty-first century.

Godson defines covert action as influencing events in other parts of the world without attribution, and counterintelligence as identifying, neutralizing, and exploiting the secret activities of others. Together they provide the capability to resist manipulation and control others to advantage. Counterintelligence protects U.S. military, technological, and diplomatic secrets and turns adversary intelligence to U.S. advantage. Covert action enables the United States to weaken adversaries and to assist allies who may be hampered by open acknowledgment of foreign support.

Drawing on contemporary and historical literature, broad-ranging contacts with senior intelligence officials in many countries, as well as his own research and experience as a longtime consultant to the U.S. government, Godson traces the history of U.S. covert action and counterintelligence since 1945, showing that covert action works well when it is part of a well-coordinated policy and when policy makers are committed to succeeding in the long-term. Godson argues that the best counterintelligence is an offensive defense. His exposition of the essential theoretical foundations of both covert action and counterintelligence, supported by historical examples, lays out the ideal conditions for their use, as well as demonstrating why they are so difficult to attain.

This book will be of interest to students and general readers interested in political science, national security, foreign policy, and military policy.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"...if you want to understand how the whole thing works at Washington level, and to have an idea of what George W. Bush is hearing from his adviser, then reading this will prove quicker and cheaper than setting up your spy network." —Daily Telegram "Roy Godson provides much-needed balance, context, and insights for understanding the clandestine arts. As the United States debates the future of its intelligence capability, this provocative, interesting, and well-written book, which explains the signifigance of covert operations and what it takes to do them well, should be permitted to have a significant impact on the debate." —Richard Helms, Former Director of Central Intelligence "An independent analysis of key elements of intelligence, unbiased and unprejudiced—in contrast to the books of many 'insiders.' Godson illuminates the interdependence of the different but potent threats we will face in the 21st century: symbiotic relationships among transnational organized crime, security services, politicians, and terrorists, and the potential use of weapons of mass destruction and mass disruption. He demonstrates how the effective use of the clandestine arts—covert action and counterintelligence—can provide a winning edge. A wake-up call for everyone involved in global security." —Volker Foertsch, Former Director, Germany's Clandestine Intelligence Service "As a pioneer in intelligence studies and one of today's most influential scholars, Roy Godson has produced an outstanding analysis. Drawing on his extensive knowledge of history and contemporary intelligence practices in the United States and abroad, he sets forth principles to guide effective post-Cold War policy." —Robert L. Pfaltzgraff, Jr, Shelby Cullom Davis Professor of International Security, Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Godson's impressive study, notable for its clarity, defines both counterintelligence and covert action, arguing that both are necessary. Counterintelligence, he writes, includes the identification, neutralization and exploitation of the intelligence activities of others (thus protecting state secrets from adversaries); covert action encompasses efforts to influence events in other parts of the world without revealing or acknowledging involvement. Godson outlines ``ideal'' counterintelligence and covert action, describes how both have been practiced by the U.S. and suggests possible ways to employ each more effectively in the national interest. Godson, a professor of government at Georgetown University and consultant to the National Security Council, has written a textbook accessible to the general reader. (Aug.)
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780765806994
  • Publisher: Transaction Publishers
  • Publication date: 9/5/2000
  • Edition description: REVISED
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 388
  • Sales rank: 415,491
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.86 (d)

Meet the Author

Roy Godson is professor of government at Georgetown University and president of the National Strategy Information Center in Washington, DC. His most recent books include Strategic Denial and Deception (Transaction, 2002).

Roy Godson is professor of government at Georgetown University and president of the National Strategy Information Center in Washington, DC. His most recent books include Strategic Denial and Deception (Transaction, 2002).

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

1 Neglected Elements in American Intelligence 1
2 Steps and Missteps: Covert Action Since 1945 27
3 Building and Rebuilding: Counterintelligence Since World War II 66
4 Handmaiden of Policy: Principles of Covert Action 120
5 Offensive Defense: Principles of Counterintelligence 184
6 In Pursuit of Effective Intelligence 241
Notes 257
Glossary of Terms and Abbreviations 303
Bibliography 309
Index 327
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)