The real Dark Arts

May 29th, 2012

From Mati Hari, to Nathan Hale, to Herbert Philbrick; each is a chapter in the pantheon of espionage. Each had what George Smiley called "the ability to survive by virtue of an infinite capacity for suspicion."

In the modern day world of espionage, counter-terrorism and post cold war engagement, Henry Crumption stands astride that list. He knew he wanted to be a spy from the age of 10. He knew that sometimes you had to do things in order to find out the reason from them. From what he tells us, he seems to innately understand, from his early missions in Europe and Africa, to his leadership of the CIA war against the Taliban in 2001, that sometimes our actions are question and not answers. But he was always guided to navigate by the true north of his moral compass. His new book The Art of Intelligence: Lessons from a Life in the CIA's Clandestine Service, he  sets the stage for a new kind of espionage and in fact a new geopolitical view of intelligence.

My conversation with Ambassador Henry Crumpton: