CFP: Special issue of the Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence: Moles and Double Agents (Deadline 1 May 2020)

Danny Orbach's picture

Dear colleagues,

Attached please find a call for papers for a special issue of the International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence, titled "moles and double agents". I, Danny Orbach, (Hebrew University of Jerusalem) am co-editing this issue along with Prof. Shlomo Sprio (Bar-Ilan University) and Dr. Yaakov Falkov (IDC). We are looking for proposals covering any period and geographical location, including, of course, Germany and other German speaking countries.

If interested, please send a one-page abstract and a short bio to the following email address: If there are technical issues with this address, please send instead to my email: All manuscripts will be peer reviewed.

Estimate timespan for manuscript writing and editing: 8 months.

Full CfP pasted below. Deadline for submissions: May 1.



Call for Article Proposals

for a Special Issue on

Moles and Double Agents

of the International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence (IJIC)


February 2020


Guest Co-Editors:

  • Prof. Shlomo Shpiro, Bar-Ilan University
  • Dr. Danny Orbach, Hebrew University of Jerusalem
  • Dr. Yaacov Falkov, Tel-Aviv University

Contact Address:


Moles and Double Agents


Moles and double agents – people who are employed or operated by one intelligence agency, but also work for a rival organization without the authorization of their superiors – are frequent characters in twentieth-century history of intelligence. Moles such as Harold 'Kim' Philby and Heinz Felfe, for example, figure in most histories of the Cold War as cunning traitors or facilitators of intelligence failures. The ability of the British and the Americans to ‘double’ many of Nazi Germany’s agents during WWII is similarly considered part and parcel of allied intelligence victory in that war. Many scholars, such as John Keegan, doubt that intelligence, as such, played a decisive role in modern interstate military confrontations, and downplay the importance of moles and double agents accordingly. But few, so far, doubted their importance inside the sphere of intelligence. Often historical narratives in which moles or double agents appear tend to assume that handlers saw through the eyes of their agents, knowing all they knew in the absence of exceptional circumstances such as conscious deception. It is also assumed that the recruiting, running and information management of moles and double agents require special tradecraft, risk-taking and high degree of Humint professionalism.

The aim of the proposed IJIC Special Issue is to analyze, problematize and contextualize the roles and performance of moles and double agents within the wider picture of military, political and cognitive issues, operations and entanglements. Its basic assumption is that information passing through moles and double agents is liable to the same cognitive processes of modification, narrativization, cherry picking and distortion as all other intelligence. Therefore, it will be interesting to comparatively explore the influence of such cognitive processes on eventual outcomes. Our hypothesis is that the information passing through moles and double agents will rarely remain unmodified, and that their influence may not have been as straightforward as their handlers expected. The following questions should be analyzed in different historical case study settings:

  1. What are the theoretical grounds of recruiting and handling moles and double agents in different intelligence cultures (Russo-East European, East Asian, Western, etc.), states and periods of time? What are the mechanisms of their development and absorption by intelligence and counterintelligence doctrines? And what can be said about their actual application by concrete intelligence/counterintelligence systems in concrete case studies chosen by the applicants (extra- and intra-systemic enabling/disabling factors, application’s characteristics, outcomes, the applying system’s reflection on the outcomes, etc.) ?    
  2. What are the characteristics of tradecraft required for recruiting and handling moles and double agents, and what were their roles in intelligence collection, dissemination, deception, influence and disruption operations?
  3. Information passing through the mole or double agent will necessarily be selective and influenced by bias and partial vision, even when no deception is involved. It will also be influenced by the interpretive biases of his handlers as well as other intelligence officials. How did such biases influence intelligence assessments, as well as subsequent policy decisions?
  4. How did the presence of a mole or a double agent influence, modify or distort the sides’ image/perceptions of one another?
  5. Were moles and double agents consciously used as bilateral channels of information between belligerents? and how?
  6. In order to build up the reputation and reliability of moles and double agents, they are usually provided by their handlers with some accurate intelligence. This 'chicken feed' is assumed to be relatively unimportant, certainly less so than the intelligence that the mole or double agent is expected to provide in return. However, there may be situations where the double agent gives the enemy more important information than he is able to obtain. In what situations did the employment of moles and double agents backfired and why? 
  7. Are there distinct lines of demarcation, differentiating between moles, double agents and other actors with mixed loyalties, such as triple agents and intelligence entrepreneurs who work for the highest bidder? We are also interested in papers problematizing theoretical distinctions between these different kinds of actors.


We invite article proposals covering any period and geographical location.  Please send a one-page abstract and a short bio to the following email address:

All manuscripts will be peer reviewed.  Estimated timespan for manuscript writing and editing: 8 months. Deadline for submissions: May 1. 


Guest Co-Editors

Prof. Shlomo Shpiro is the Director of the Europa Institute at Bar-Ilan University in Israel and Chairman of the International Intelligence History Association (IIHA).  He studied at Jerusalem and Salford Universities and received his PhD at the University of Birmingham.  Over the past two decades he researched various aspects of intelligence studies and published extensively on intelligence, security, and terrorism.  His current work focuses on the influence of political culture, ideology and religion on intelligence.

Dr. Danny Orbach is a senior lecturer at the Asian Studies and History Departments, Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He studied at Tel Aviv and Tokyo Universities, and received his PhD from Harvard. He specializes in military history, with a special focus on Japan and Germany. His books, The Plots against Hitler and Curse on this Country: The Rebellious Army of Imperial Japan were published in Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and Cornell University Press. Currently, he studies the involvement of veterans of the Nazi intelligence community in early Cold War espionage. 

Dr. Yaacov Falkov is an Israeli-Latvian historian, a former visiting research fellow at Oxford University and the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, as well as a visiting lecturer in WWII history and in guerrilla warfare history and theory at Tel Aviv University and the Herzliya Interdisciplinary Center. He is a leading expert on Soviet and Jewish anti-Nazi resistance in the Russian borderlands. His recent book on the Soviet anti-Nazi guerrilla’s intelligence activity was co-published by the Yad Vashem and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (2017). His current research deals with the transnational dimension of the European anti-Nazi Resistance and the Soviet intelligence and guerrilla reporting about the Holocaust.