Thwarting Enemies at Home and Abroad

How to Be a Counterintelligence Officer

William R. Johnson
Foreword by William Hood

"Johnson's book is easily the best introduction to the frequently misunderstood world of counterintelligence. This classic work, packed with timeless principles and highly readable, is a vital addition to the bookshelf of any intelligence professional."
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A Classic in Counterintelligence—Now Back in Print

Originally published in 1987, Thwarting Enemies at Home and Abroad is a unique primer that teaches the principles, strategy, and tradecraft of counterintelligence (CI). CI is often misunderstood and narrowly equated with security and catching spies, which are only part of the picture. As William R. Johnson explains, CI is the art of actively protecting secrets but also aggressively thwarting, penetrating, and deceiving hostile intelligence organizations to neutralize or even manipulate their operations.

Johnson, a career CIA intelligence officer, lucidly presents the nuts and bolts of the business of counterintelligence and the characteristics that make a good CI officer. Although written during the late Cold War, this book continues to be useful for intelligence professionals, scholars, and students because the basic principles of CI are largely timeless. General readers will enjoy the lively narrative and detailed descriptions of tradecraft that reveal the real world of intelligence and espionage. A new foreword by former CIA officer and noted author William Hood provides a contemporary perspective on this valuable book and its author.

Table of Contents

Publisher’s Note
Foreword by William Hood

1. What Is Counterintelligence?

2. Who Goes into Counterintelligence, and Why?
What Is Peculiar about CI Officers
CI Traits: Do You Have Them?

3. Conflicting Goals: Law Enforcement versus Manipulation
Cops with a CI Job
Spymasters with a CI Job
Cops and Spymasters, Mingle and Merge!

4. The Support Apparatus
The Roof and the Walls
Surveillance Teams
The Bug and Tap Shop
Safe Houses
The Forgery Shop
Drops: Live, Dead, Phone
Flaps and Seals, Microdot, Secret Ink
Locks, Keys and Burglary

5. Interrogation: How It Really Works
The Myth of Torture
The Compleat Interrogator
The Schmidt Story
When the Tricks Don't Work
The Breaking Point

6. How to Manage the Polygraph
What the Polygraph Is
How the Polygraph Works
Why Do You React to the Polygraph?
What Your Reactions Mean
Known Lies and Surprise Questions
When the Polygraph Works as a Lie Detector
When the Polygraph Does Not Work
Can You Beat the Polygraph?
What the Polygraph Is Used For
How the Polygraph Is Misused

7. How to Manage Physical Surveillance
Local Conditions
Cameras and Audio Gear
The Half-Life of a Surveillance Team

8. How to Manage Technical Surveillance
Remember the Support Function
Know Your Technicians
Telephone Taps
Hidden Microphones
Photography through the Keyhole
Mail Intercept
Collating the Information

9. Double Agents: What They Are Good For
Contact with the Enemy
The Playback Double: The Case of Janos Szmolka
Dangles—Controlled and Freelance
Levels of Contact with the Enemy
Allocation of Resources

10. Double Agents: How to Get and Maintain a Stable
Assessing Your Opponents
Collating Leads

11. Double Agents: Feeding and Care
Emotional Dependence
Physical Dependence

12. Double Agents: Passing Information to the Enemy
The Doctrine of Layers
Passing the Enemy's Tests
Balancing Cost against Gain
The Bureaucratic Problem
The Build-Up Library
The Use of Collateral

13. Moles in the Enemy's Garden: Your Best Weapon
Strategic Planning
How to Get Penetrations
Arranging the Furniture
Research and Targeting
Planting the Seed
Motive: Is Ideology Dead?
Who Is in Charge?
Michal Goleniewski
Training or Indoctrination?

14. Defectors: Your Second-Best Weapon
Echelons of Handling
Be Prepared

15. Using “Friendly” Services, Foreign and Domestic
The Reasons for Liaison
How Liaison Works in Practice
Cooperation versus Competition
Liaison and Penetration

16. How to Manage Files
Chronological Files
Indexing by Name
Case Files
Dossiers and P-Files
Dossier Numbers
Dossiers and Privacy

17. The Collation of Counterintelligence
What is Collation?
Categories for Collation
Using Computers

18. The Big Game: Deception
The Tools of Deception
The Practical Limits
The Rule of Unwitting Tools
The Secret Body Needs a Bodyguard of Lies

About the Author


"Johnson's book is easily the best introduction to the frequently misunderstood world of counterintelligence. This classic work, packed with timeless principles and highly readable, is a vital addition to the bookshelf of any intelligence professional."—David N. Edger, former CIA operations officer, and visiting professor, University of Oklahoma

"Counterintelligence, without question, is the toughest job in the world of spying. And, historically, we haven’t been as good at it as we should. That needs to change. One glaring shortcoming in recent years has been the lack of a good treatise on the 'art' of counterintelligence. William Johnson’s book, which has been out of print for years, fills that gap. He gets it right. Only a respected CI pro like [Johnson] could have described so clearly our arcane business of dangles, doubles, defectors, and deception. Thwarting Enemies at Home and Abroad will not only be a fascinating read for the general public but will also serve as a text for a whole new generation of CI trainees."—James M. Olson, former chief of CIA counterintelligence and author of Fair Play: The Moral Dilemmas of Spying


Supplemental Materials


About the Author

William R. Johnson worked in U.S. Army intelligence in World War II. He went on to serve in various positions around the world with the CIA, including head of the Agency’s Far East counterintelligence operations and Saigon base chief, until his retirement in 1977, when he and his wife Pat returned to Colorado. Mr. Johnson died in 2005.

240 pp., 5.5 x 8.5
1 table
Jan 2009

240 pp., 5.5 x 8.5
1 table
ISBN: 978-1-58901-255-4
Jan 2009

240 pp.
1 table
ISBN: 978-1-58901-581-4
Jan 2009

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