Sunday, September 01, 2013

Spies, Secrets and Science

Professor Keith Jeffery is the author of The Secret History of MI6: 1909-1949, the official history of MI6. In 2011 he gave an hour-long lecture at the Imperial College in London, titled Spies, secrets and science: reflections from the history of MI6, which is also available on video.

In this lecture, he explains the alliance between the intelligence service and science. From its inception, it became clear that MI6 (Military Intelligence section 6), later also known as SIS (Secret Intelligence Service), had to embrace science, both to evaluate the quality of  scientific intelligence they gathered, and to develop the tools for successful intelligence gathering.

Although the lecture's first 5 minutes present a rather theoretical view on the relation between intelligence and science, Professor Jeffery quickly turns to the more practical applications of science for the benefit of intelligence, with some interesting and at times very humorous examples. The magnificent way he often chooses his words makes it worthwhile viewing the complete lecture here below (also available via the Imperial College Library). Enjoy!

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