Civilians in intelligence

Donald McLachlan, a journalist who served under Godfrey [head of British naval intelligence] at the Admiralty, afterwards argued that all wartime intelligence departments should be run by civilians in uniform, because they are unburdened by the lifetime prejudices of career soldiers, sailors and airmen: ‘It is the lawyer, the scholar, the traveller, the banker, even the journalist who shows the ability to resist where the career men tend to bend. Career officers and politicians have a strong interest in cooking raw intelligence to make their masters’ favourite dishes.’ MI6 remained until 1945 under the leadership of its old hands, but most of Britain’s secret war machine passed into the hands of able civilians in uniform who — after an interval of months or in some cases years while they were trained and their skills recognized — progressively improved the quality of intelligence analysis.

Hastings, Max. The Secret War: Spies, Codes and Guerrillas 1939–1945. p. 69 (hardcover)


Author: Milan

In the spring of 2005, I graduated from the University of British Columbia with a degree in International Relations and a general focus in the area of environmental politics. In the fall of 2005, I began reading for an M.Phil in IR at Wadham College, Oxford. Outside school, I am very interested in photography, writing, and the outdoors. I am writing this blog to keep in touch with friends and family around the world, provide a more personal view of graduate student life in Oxford, and pass on some lessons I've learned here.

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