Matthew M. Aid

S - Z

Aid, Matthew M. The Secret Sentry: The Untold History of the National Security Agency. New York: Bloomsbury Press, 2009.

Aftergood, Secrecy News (10 Jun. 2009), finds that the author "has synthesized a tremendous amount of research into a narrative that is highly readable and sometimes gripping." The book "includes quite a bit of unfamiliar historical material, and almost any reader is likely to discover something new and interesting." The "nearly one hundred pages of endnotes, which constitute a unique finding aid to the most current archival releases, internal agency histories, and other valuable records," will make it "indispensable to researchers." However, the absence of any reference to James Bamford, who blazed the trail on research on NSA, is "strange and disconcerting."

On the other hand, Goulden, Washington Times (19 Jul. 2009) and Intelligencer 17.2 (Fall 2009), notes that much of what Aid cites in his chapter notes "are bureaucratic histories and thumbnail profiles of the persons who have run NSA over the years." The reviewer concludes that "[a] credible 'inside story' of NSA remains to be written." However, Pearlman, Military Review (Mar.-Apr. 2010), believes that "Aid's book ... should be on the reading list of every serious student of national security."

Burke, Cryptologia 34.2 (Apr. 2010), sees this book as "strongest for the years between 1945 and the 1980s," while the volume's evidence for the major intelligence events over the the past 20 years "is less compelling." Nevertheless, this "is the most complete and scholarly commercially published comprehensive history" of the NSA and "its allies' achievements and failings since the end of World War II."

For Treverton, I&NS 25.2 (Apr. 2010), this work "is the richest treatment of post-World War II SIGINT out there. It is careful and carefully documented" and "an enormous storehouse of information." However, "some description of the various forms of communication that are now available, and the challenges they pose to NSA, would have helped ... readers appreciate the Agency's successes and failures."

[NSA/00s/Gen & Overviews]

Aid, Matthew M. "SIGINT and Peacekeeping: The Untapped Intelligence Resource." In Peacekeeping Intelligence: New Players, Extended Boundaries, eds. David Carment and Martin Rudner, 41-57. London: Routledge, 2006.


Aid, Matthew M. "Sins of Omission and Commission: Strategic Cultural Factors and US Intelligence Failures During the Cold War." Intelligence and National Security 26, no. 4 (Aug. 2011): 478-494.

The author believes that he has isolated "a number of underlying 'cultural factors' which historically have inhibited the abilty of American intelligence to properly perform its mission."


Aid, Matthew M. "'Stella Polaris' and the Secret Code Battle in Postwar Europe." Intelligence and National Security 17, no. 3 (Autumn 2002): 17-86.

In September 1944, the Finnish intelligence service was evacuated to Sweden in Operation "Stella Polaris." This article discusses the role of the OSS and its successor, the Strategic Services Unit (SSU), in "Stella Polaris" and its aftermath. "The OSS Stockholm Station purchased Soviet and other foreign code and cipher materials" from the Finnish service, "not realizing until later that the Finns had sold the same material to other states." In response, the OSS/SSU recruited "some well-placed agents within the ... 'Stella Polaris' organization, who provided detailed information about the intelligence activities of the Finns in Sweden, and the work of Finnish intelligence officers in France after the end of the war."


Aid, Matthew M. "A Tale of Two Countries. US Intelligence Community Relations with the Dutch and German Intelligence and Security Services, 1945-1950." In Battleground Western Europe: Intelligence Operations in Germany and The Netherlands in the Twentieth Century, eds. Beatrice de Graaf, Ben de Jong, and Wies Platje, 95-122. Amsterdam: Het Spinhuis, 2007.

[Germany/West; OtherCountries/Netherlands]

Aid, Matthew M. "The Time of Troubles: The US National Security Agency in the Twenty-First Century." Intelligence and National Security 15, no. 3 (Autumn 2000): 1-32. In Intelligence and National Security: The Secret World of Spies -- An Anthology, 2d ed., eds. Loch K. Johnson and James J. Wirtz, 88-105. New York: Oxford University Press, 2007. In Intelligence and the National Security Strategist: Enduring Issues and Challenges, eds. Roger Z. George and Robert D. Kline, 181-206. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2006.

"Some of the reports concerning NSA's purported problems would appear to have missed their mark.... NSA's Sigint collection capabilities have actually improved considerably during the last decade.... NSA's most pressing problem is ... the deterioration of the Agency's Sigint processing, analysis and reporting capabilities."


Aid, Matthew M.

1. "US Humint and Comint in the Korean War [Part I]: From the Approach of War to the Chinese Intervention." Intelligence and National Security 14, no. 4 (Winter 1999): 17-63.

U.S. intelligence "performed poorly during the early stages of the Korean War.... The American Humint collection program in the Far East and in North Korea itself was severely fragmented and poorly coordinated.... The Comint collection and processing efforts of the three American services in Asia were not integrated into the Far East Command's intelligence structure, and were not coordinated."

2. "American Comint in the Korean War (Part II): From the Chinese Intervention to the Armistice." Intelligence and National Security 15, no. 1 (2000): 14-49.

[GenPostwar/50s/Korea & ColdWar/I&NS][c]

Aid, Matthew M., and Cees Wiebes, eds.

Click for Table of Contents.

1. "Special Issue on 'Secrets of Signals Intelligence during the Cold War and Beyond.'" Intelligence and National Security 16, no. 1 (Spring 2001): Entire issue.

2. Secrets of Signals Intelligence during the Cold War and Beyond. London and Portland, OR: Frank Cass, 2001.

This volume comes out of a conference on "The Importance of Sigint in Western Europe during the Cold War 1945-1999," organized by the Netherlands Intelligence Studies Association (NISA) in Amsterdam in November 1999. ("Preface")

For Jonkers, Intelligencer 13.1, this work is "very useful for understanding the worldwide intelligence world." The editors provide "a series of essays covering the US, British, Canadian, German, French, Danish, Norwegian, Swedish and Dutch SIGINT services and liaison programs." Kruh, Cryptologia 26.2, sees "[t]his excellent book" as providing "an abundance of interesting information." It "should be read leisurely for maximum enjoyment."

[GenPostwar/CW; NSA/Sigint; Overviews/Gen/00s][c]

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