By "Christopher Felix"
Published 1963 by
Secker & Warburg Ltd, London
This book was of great importance to L. Ron Hubbard and the Guardian Office. Despite its obscurity - neither the Library of Congress nor the British Library possesses a copy - Hubbard somehow managed to find it, and evidently read it avidly. The verbal briefing which he gave in his Aides' Conference of 2 November 1969 refers to the book at the very beginning, and contains a number of anecdotes which are lifted directly (though unattributed) from the book.
But the influence of The Spy And His Masters went far deeper than merely providing Hubbard with a source of plagiarised stories about espionage. The Guardian Office adopted it as an essential primer to covert operations, as shown by the Confidential Intelligence Course Information Full Hat Checksheet. The whole of Section 4, Part A involved a comprehensive study of The Spy And His Masters, with the student required to demonstrate his understanding of concepts such as "A Cut-Out, "Personal Gain motivation", "A Safe House" and so on.
The book itself is a somewhat mysterious work. The pseudonymous author claims to have been an American intelligence agent, presumably CIA. The mass of detail in the book suggests that this may have been true - if not, he certainly displays a great deal of superficially convincing knowledge and a notable degree of imagination in devising his anecdotes. It was published in London through a rather obscure company which is long defunct. This could be explained as being an attempt to render him immune from prosecution under US law if his identity had been discovered - rather like the recent exposé-biography of the late President Mitterand which was published via the Internet in a safe third country, out of reach of France's draconian privacy laws.
There is, however, a rather more entertaining speculative scenario (for speculation it is; there is no way for anyone outside of Langley, Virginia to prove it). The book might represent a discreet, controlled leak of information by the CIA, or a faction of it, to dispell some of the myths about intelligence work or to expose the failings of the CIA leadership. If this were true, one would be faced with the delicious irony of L. Ron Hubbard and the Guardian Office adopting as a basic text a work secretly authorised by one of the very intelligence agencies which they believed was attacking Scientology!