THE SECRET HISTORY OF THE FIVE EYES: The Untold Story of the International Spy Network.

AuthorWierzbicki, Andrew

THE SECRET HISTORY OF THE FIVE EYES The Untold Story of the International Spy Network

Author: Richard Kerbaj Published by: Blink Publishing, London, 2022, 402pp, 25 [pounds sterling].

Writing about secret organisations and intelligence activities is always fraught with difficulty. The adage 'you don't know what you don't know' is especially applicable here. This is even more the case when the author has not been directly involved with the organisations or the subject matter, as is the situation here. Kerbaj is not a former intelligence employee, nor has he had any direct involvement in the sector. He has relied on publicly available information as well as serving and former Five Eyes intelligence officials, including some who requested anonymity.

Kerbaj is first and foremost a journalist and film-maker though focusing his journalistic writing, according to the book's jacket biography of him, on 'the impact of counter terrorism and counter espionage on intelligence agencies'. This book, though, is his first. For it Kerbaj has taken on an immensely difficult subject simply because, until recent times, there was no official acknowledgement that Five Eyes even existed. There is no Five Eyes organisation in the usually understood sense of an organisation and, therefore, no specific building identifiable with Five Eyes (although there are specific facilities in each partner country, such as New Zealand's Waihopai Station in Blenheim, which are assumed to contribute to Five Eyes electronic monitoring). It is not, for example, like the International Criminal Police Organisation, better known as Interpol, which is a long established, public organisation co-ordinating its members' fight against international crime with a large staff working out of a headquarters building in Lyon, France, as well as other subsidiary locations such as Singapore.

Five Eyes is an amorphous concept used to describe intelligence collaboration, especially in the electronic area but also including human intelligence and law enforcement, between the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. It is about each of these countries' domestic intelligence organisations pooling their resources and knowledge for the greater good of the five members. This greater good is able to generate value amongst each of the members notwithstanding the huge differences in their size and capability. As is obvious, New Zealand is a minnow in this sphere compared to the...

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT