Spy Chiefs: Volume 1

Intelligence Leaders in the United States and United Kingdom

Christopher Moran, Mark Stout, Ioanna Iordanou, and Paul Maddrell, Editors
Foreword by Patrick M. Hughes

"The two volumes are superbly researched and fill a scholarly gap."
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In literature and film the spy chief is an all-knowing, all-powerful figure who masterfully moves spies into action like pieces on a chessboard. How close to reality is that depiction, and what does it really take to be an effective leader in the world of intelligence?

This first volume of Spy Chiefs broadens and deepens our understanding of the role of intelligence leaders in foreign affairs and national security in the United States and United Kingdom from the early 1940s to the present. The figures profiled range from famous spy chiefs such as William Donovan, Richard Helms, and Stewart Menzies to little-known figures such as John Grombach, who ran an intelligence organization so secret that not even President Truman knew of it. The volume tries to answer six questions arising from the spy-chief profiles: how do intelligence leaders operate in different national, institutional, and historical contexts? What role have they played in the conduct of international relations and the making of national security policy? How much power do they possess? What qualities make an effective intelligence leader? How secretive and accountable to the public have they been? Finally, does popular culture (including the media) distort or improve our understanding of them? Many of those profiled in the book served at times of turbulent change, were faced with foreign penetrations of their intelligence service, and wrestled with matters of transparency, accountability to democratically elected overseers, and adherence to the rule of law. This book will appeal to both intelligence specialists and general readers with an interest in the intelligence history of the United States and United Kingdom.

Table of Contents

Foreword by Lt. Gen. Patrick M. Hughes, USA (Ret.)

Introduction: Spy Chiefs: Power, Secrecy, and Leadership
Christopher Moran, Ioanna Iordanou, and Mark Stout

Part I: American Spy Chiefs
1. Studying Religion with William Donovan and the Office of Strategic Services
Michael Graziano
2. The Alternate Central Intelligence Agency: John Grombach and the Pond
Mark Stout
3. The Atomic General’s “One-Way Street”: Leslie R. Groves and the Manhattan Engineer District Foreign Intelligence Section, 1945–47
Matthew H. Fay
4. The Dulles Supremacy: Allen Dulles, the Clandestine Service, and PBFortune
James Lockhart
5. CIA Director Richard Helms: Secrecy, Stonewalling, and Spin
Christopher Moran
6. “A Jesuit in Reagan’s Papacy”: Bill Casey, the Central Intelligence Agency, and America’s Cold War Struggle for Freedom
Andrew Hammond
7. To Command or Direct? DIRNSAs and the Historical Challenges of Leading the National Security Agency, 1952–2014
Betsy Rohaly Smoot and David Hatch
8. The Intellectual Redneck: William E. Odom and the NSA
Richard J. Aldrich

Part II: British Spy Chiefs
9. Eric Welsh, the Secret Intelligence Service, and the Birth of Atomic Intelligence
Michael Goodman
10. “C” and Covert Action: The Impact and Agency of Stewart Menzies in Britain’s Secret Foreign Policy
Rory Cormac
11. What Chance for Leadership? Patrick Dean, Chairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee, and the Suez Crisis
Danny Steed
12. Who is “M”?
Michael L. VanBlaricum
13. The Man behind the Desk and Other Bureaucracies: Portrayals of Intelligence Leadership in British Television Spy Series
Joseph Oldham

Conclusion: Intelligence Leadership in the Twenty-First Century
Christopher Moran, Ioanna Iordanou, and Mark Stout
List of Contributors


"Spy Chiefs feels like a deep reference book, yet reads like a detailed, intelligent, lengthy work of fiction."—John Koenig Stuff I Like

"Will appeal to both intelligence specialists and general readers."—Eye Spy International

"Broadens and deepens our understanding of the role of intelligence leaders in foreign affairs and national security."—Intelligencer

"The contributors to this unique volume cut through the mystique and secrecy surrounding many of the men and women who once stood at the apex of British and American intelligence. Their fascinating accounts illustrate the quirks, brilliance, and failures of the leaders who not only shaped organizational cultures, but also the role of intelligence in national policy."—James J. Wirtz, Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, California

"Addressing questions about the nature, effectiveness and limits of intelligence leadership in the US and UK, this pathbreaking volume illuminates a key dimension of the knowledge-secrecy-power nexus that helps define intelligence. Original and highly informative, it provides an anatomy of intelligence leadership that will be an indispensable source for students and also points towards future research possibilities."—Mark Phythian, University of Leicester

"The two volumes are superbly researched and fill a scholarly gap."—Colonel Peter L. Larsen, Journal of Foreign Affairs, 09/08/2020


Richard Aldrich Rory Cormac Matthew H. Fay Michael S. Goodman Michael Graziano Andrew Hammond David Hatch James Lockhart Joseph Oldham Betsy Rohaly Smoot Danny Steed Michael L. VanBlaricum

Supplemental Materials


About the Author

Christopher Moran is associate professor of US national security at the University of Warwick. 

Mark Stout is program director of the MA in Global Security Studies Program at Johns Hopkins University and the former historian of the International Spy Museum.

Ioanna Iordanou is a senior lecturer specializing in organizational and business history at the Oxford Brookes University School of Business.

Paul Maddrell is a lecturer in Modern German History at Loughborough University.

352 pp., 6 x 9
11 b&w photos
ISBN: 978-1-62616-518-2
Feb 2018

352 pp., 6 x 9
11 b&w photos
ISBN: 978-1-62616-519-9
Feb 2018

352 pp.
11 b&w photos
ISBN: 978-1-62616-520-5
Feb 2018

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