Signals Intelligence (SIGINT)

Secrets of Signals Intelligence during the Cold War and Beyond

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

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

1. Matthew M. Aid and Cees Wiebes, "Introduction: The Importance of Signals Intelligence in the Cold War," 1-26.

The authors posit that "the history of post-World War II intelligence must be radically rewritten to take into account the important contributions made to the security of the United States and the nations of Western Europe by this arcane and difficult to understand intelligence discipline."

2. Matthew M. Aid, "The National Security Agency and the Cold War," 27-66.

The focus of this article is NSA's work against its most important target -- the Soviet Union. "NSA['s] accomplishments ... were arguably the most impressive of any American intelligence organization during the Cold War."

3. Richard J. Aldrich, "GCHQ and Sigint in Early Cold War, 1945-70," 67-96.

"[B]y most forms of measurement,... the volume of product, the size of budget, or numbers of personnel, GCHQ was the most important service" of the British secret services during the early Cold War.

4. Martin Rudner, "Canada's Communications Security Establishment from Cold War to Globalization," 97-128.

From abstract: "This essay traces the historical evolution of CSE in performing its signals intelligence function from the Cold War through [] today's more diversified and globalized security agenda, utilizing the international liaison arrangements and technological capabilities at its disposal."

5. Erich Schmidt-Eenboom, "The Bundesnachrichtendienst, the Bundewehr and Sigint in the Cold War and After," 129-176.

The author traces the development of the BND's Sigint activities from the early days of the Gehlen Organization through the "massive overhaul" of its infrastructure beginning in 1970, to more recent times of competition between the BND and the Bundeswehr in the Sigint field.

6. Roger Faligot, "France, Sigint and the Cold War," 177-208.

Under Alexandre de Marenches in the 1970s, the SDECE absorbed the previously independent Sigint organization, the Radioelectronic Communication Group (GCR). The French also moved closer to the UK-USA pact while avoiding actually joining. Since the fall of the Berlin Wall, the French have been active in developing new national Sigint capabilities.

7. Alf R. Jacobsen, "Scandinavia, Sigint and the Cold War," 209-242.

From abstract: Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden were all "deeply engaged in signals intelligence collection against the Soviet Union throughout the Cold War, albeit in great secrecy.... Available evidence suggests that Sweden, despite its neutrality, maintained a substantial clandestine Sigint sharing relationship with the US and Great Britain, particularly during the early stages of the Cold War."

8. Cees Wiebes, "Dutch Sigint during the Cold War, 1945-94," 243-284.

The author views his article as "as a real first attempt to reconstruct the Sigint history" of the Mathematical Centre (WKC)/Technical Information Collection Centre (TIVC) during the Cold War.

9. Wies Platje, "Dutch Sigint and the Conflict with Indonesia," 285-312.

The Sigint capability set up by the Dutch to intercept Japanese communications was very useful in the campaign against Indonesian nationalist troops following World War II.

10. Matthew M. Aid and Cees Wiebes, "Conclusions," 313-332.

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