Civilians in intelligence

2016-03-29

in Bombs and rockets, Books and literature, History, Politics, Security

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)

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