The Egyptian Council for Foreign Affairs hosted on Monday, February 10, 2020, a seminar by the columnist Atef El-Ghamry, former director of Al-Ahram office in the United States of America, about his book “Agents and Spies: The Foreign Intelligence Game.” The seminar was opened by His Excellency Ambassador Dr. Mounir Zahran, Chairman of the Council; and was attended by Their Excellencies Ambassadors / Farouk Mabrouk, Youssef Al-Sharqawi, Hisham Al-Zemiti, Fakhri Othman, Rifaat Al-Ansari, Muhammad Al-Ashmawy, and Dr. Adel Al-Salousi.
Mr. Al-Ghamri highlighted the role of intelligence services in threatening the security and stability of states, as well as their rapid development, and their functions that have rapidly developed. He explained that in this secret world, the intelligence man used to receive intensive training and learn the language of the country to which he was dispatched, hiding in the identity of a businessman, or an expert in economics or science, bearing in mind that this matter was not just limited to men, but women were also recruited as spies, to trap some important figures, as has been demonstrated by Monica Lewinsky’s relationship with former US President Bill Clinton. Moreover, new mechanisms and means have been introduced into the world of intelligence and espionage, using drones, attacks through cyberspace, as well as extracting selected information from social media, and subjecting it to study and scrutiny. But this does not mean dispensing with the human element in espionage, as it is able to explore the intentions of those whom it targets with its activity, which cannot be done with electronic devices.
Mr. Al-Ghamry pointed out that the Arab world was and still is an area for joint intelligence cooperation among the three intelligence services – the US, British, and Israeli. Egypt was the target of the operations of these services, the most prominent of which was the 1967 war conspiracy, in which they played coordinated roles between the CIA and the Mossad, added to that the plot to break the project of Abdel Nasser to manufacture an Egyptian jet and missile, as well as Abdel Nasser’s assassination attempt plan at Mansheya Square in 1954, as confessed by confidential British intelligence documents after their release. He also pointed out that the change in time, with the world entering into the period of information revolution, using various modern technologies, did not change the continuing existence of old and modern espionage as having a vital role in managing state affairs and foreign relations. Given the nature of the world we live in, competitiveness is one of its most prominent features, whether the front lines between countries are in a state of clash, or have been witnessing cooperation and calm.