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What is the purpose of an intelligence organisation? The short answer is to transform disparate and ambiguous information into a product that clarifies national security decision-making. Ideally, that process ought to be politically neutral and detached from the policy objectives of the government it serves. But what happens when intelligence ceases to be impartial and is used as a political means to support a policy preference? More significantly, what happens when intelligence is distorted, twisted or manipulated to achieve this aim?
Spinning the Secrets of State addresses these questions by investigating historical case studies developed from assiduous research into previously classified archival documents, political papers, private correspondence and diaries to show how the secrets of state can be spun into a potent political weapon.
In this revealing tour Justin T. McPhee considers the evolution of intelligence politicisation in Australia from before Federation in 1901 through to the modern era, providing a deep historical context in which to understand the convergence of intelligence and politics.
Containing much new information, Spinning the Secrets of State offers an illuminating account of the secret inner workings of intelligence manipulation and the conditions that enable politicisation to arise.
An essential read for both the general observer and scholars interested in understanding why intelligence and politics seem fated to collide.
Justin T. McPhee
Justin T. McPhee teaches across the social and political sciences at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, Melbourne, Australia, from which he received a Ph.D. in Political History. A specialist in intelligence history and national security issues his current research explores the concept of intelligence politicisation specifically as it relates to the Australasian context.
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A great review in @canberratimes of The Emperor's Grace by Mark Baker, exploring the untold stories of the men of C Force – the first contingent of Australian, British and Dutch prisoners of war shipped from Singapore to Japan in November 1942.