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Throughout history and across cultures, the spy chief has been a leader of the state security apparatus and an essential adviser to heads of state. In democracies, the spy chief has become a public figure, and intelligence activities have been brought under the rule of law. In authoritarian regimes, however, the spy chief was and remains a frightening and opaque figure who exercises secret influence abroad and engages in repression at home.
This second volume of Spy Chiefs goes beyond the commonly studied spy chiefs of the United States and the United Kingdom to examine leaders from Renaissance Venice to the Soviet Union, Germany, India, Egypt, and Lebanon in the twentieth century. It provides a close-up look at intelligence leaders, good and bad, in the different political contexts of the regimes they served. The contributors to the volume try to answer the following questions: how do intelligence leaders operate in these different national, institutional and historical contexts? What role have they played in the conduct of domestic affairs and international relations? How much power have they possessed? How have they led their agencies and what qualities make an effective intelligence leader? How has their role differed according to the political character of the regime they have served? The profiles in this book range from some of the most notorious figures in modern history, such as Feliks Dzerzhinsky and Erich Mielke, to spy chiefs in democratic West Germany and India.