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The Secret History of the CIA's Spytechs, from Communism to Al-Qaeda

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In this look at the CIA’s most secretive operations and the devices that made them possible, Spycraft tells gripping life-and-death stories about a group of spytechs—much of it never previously revealed and with images never before seen by the public.
The CIA’s Office of Technical Service is the ultrasecret department that grappled with challenges such as:
What does it take to build a quiet helicopter?
How does one embed a listening device in a cat?
What is an invisible photo used for?
These amazingly inventive devices were created and employed against a backdrop of geopolitical tensions—including the Cold War, the Cuban Missile Crisis, and continuing terrorist threats. Written by Robert Wallace, the former director of the Office of Technical Service, and internationally renowned intelligence historian Keith Melton, Spycraft is both a fantastic encyclopedia of gadgetry and a revealing primer on the fundamentals of high-tech espionage.
“The first comprehensive look at the technical achievements of American espionage from the 1940s to the present.” —WIRED
“Reveals more concrete information about CIA tradecraft than any book.” —THE WASHINGTON TIMES
“This is a story I thought could never be told.” —JAMES M. OLSON, former chief of CIA counterintelligence

From the Trade Paperback edition.

From Publishers Weekly

Apr 14, 2008 – Today’s CIA is regularly criticized for emphasizing technology at the expense of “human intelligence.” In this history of the agency’s Office of Technical Services, Wallace, its former head, and academic specialist Melton (Ultimate Spy) refute the charge with exciting content and slam-bang style. The book’s chief value is its perspective on the synergy of technology and tradecraft. From WWII through the Cold War and up to the present, the authors say, technical equipment—for clandestine audio surveillance, for example—has been an essential element of agent operations. In the post–Cold War “information society,” technology plays an even more significant role in fighting terrorism.

Customer Reviews


A must read for anyone who wants to understand the people behind the missions. Yes the innovations and technologies are very interesting and highly tailored to the intelligence spy craft, but the trained personnel who risk it all for love of county is what makes this book spectacular. Terrorism is here for the long haul, and this books tells the story of the heroics and culture of the men and women who get up everyday fighting it.

Great book on the history of spy gadgets.

Great book to understand the history and role spy gadgets and tools played in 20th century espionage.

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  • $12.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Military
  • Published: May 29, 2008
  • Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
  • Seller: Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
  • Print Length: 576 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.5 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

Customer Ratings