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17 November 2006

Our former enemies, not forgotten

We have no tolerance for traitors, and that enmity we will hold no matter how much time passes or how the conflict is recorded by history.

We however must have a grudging professional respect for those intelligence officers among our enemies which recruited them. While we would just as readily see them all hanged when caught by our services, we recognize the difficulty of the common challenges of this most ancient of professions. It is easier, of course, to proffer such recognition to our defeated former enemies, and examine their actions from an academic point of view when their particular war is the stuff of museums.

Thus, we mark the passing of Markus Wolf, whose achievements - while damaging to the interests of our country and our allies - are well worth the study of any professional officer or analyst who must deal in the currencies of betrayal.

Let us learn from his successes, that we pursue opportunities among our targets more effectively and deny our enemies any advantage. Let us examine his failures, so that we can cost future enemies likewise, and avoid such pitfalls ourselves.

Of course, in this new age it is uncertain that we shall face such a kind of enemy again as we struggle against sub-state actors far more diffuse. However, as they say, espionage is a game played even between friends. We do not think those lessons would be lost.