Analysis: How vital was spying during the Cold War?

Gordon Corera

Gordon Corera

By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
The BBC’s security correspondent, Gordon Corera, asks a very basic yet very intriguing question about the history of the Cold War: did espionage actually make a difference in ts outcome? This question stems out of BBC Radio 4’s three-part documentary series examining the 100-year history and operations of MI6, Britain’s foremost external intelligence agency. Corera’s article on the BBC website provides conflicting answers by intelligence defenders and intelligence skeptics, including Rodric Braithwaite, former British ambassador to the USSR, and David Owen, Britain’s former Foreign Secretary, who says that, barring a few important exceptions, UK policy makers “didn’t really […]  know exactly what was going on” in the Communist Bloc. Other commentators include former MI6 deputy director Sir Gerry Warner, and Sir David Omand, who argues that most of the intelligence collected during the Cold War was of a military or tactical nature and would therefore have proven effective only “if the Cold War had gone hot”.

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