Book Reviews
Boncho Assenov, Petko Kiprov (2000). The Counterintelligence
(Volume 1, Number 2, Summer 2000.)
19 srp 2000 01:57:00

Sofia: Trud Publishing House,
pp. 344. Paper bound.
ISBN 954-528-166-9


The authors of the book "The Counterintelligence" have garnered extensive professional and life experience.

Associate Prof. Dr. Col. (Ret) Boncho Assenov is ex-head of a department at the Higher Institute of the Ministry of the Interior. He presently delivers lectures on the Theory of Counterintelligence at the Free University of Varna "Chernorizets Hrabar" and has published twelve books on issues of security, religion, and nationalism.

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Associate Professor General (Retired) Petko Kiprov is a former dean of the Higher Institute at the Ministry of the Interior. He has held high offices within the MI's structures. He is now lecturing in Criminal Law and Theory of Counterintelligence at the Free University of Varna "Chernorizets Hrabar". He has many publications in the field of security.

The Counterintelligence was the first of its genre of open scientific publications in Bulgaria that examined in theory the issues of classic counterintelligence. On the grounds of their personal knowledge and experience as former operative officers and lecturers in counterintelligence matters, the authors have summarized the abundant information they possess on the nature and content of counterintelligence, on its basic principles, forces, methods, types, means and forms of activity. Publishing this book became possible only when counterintelligence was no longer considered a secret, strictly regulated activity in Bulgaria. According to the authors, counterintelligence forces, tools, methods, and forms are widely known in the democratic world and are not considered secret. It is, for example, no secret that special services use confidential information; the only secret is against whom, where and when they use such information. An understanding of these issues became possible also as a consequence of the development of the public system for security protection in Bulgaria - a process that is natural for every democratic state; a process where the state cedes a part of its powers and functions to the entity which is most interested in guaranteeing its security and interests. Security officers, private police, detective and guard agencies in those countries are formed as one of the components of the national security system.

The release of this book also conformed with the will of a democratic society to exercise civilian control over the special services' activity and, in particular, over those of the counterintelligence. Acquainting the public with their specific activity but also with the rights and liabilities related to the execution of this activity represents one of the forms of that control. The more closely society is acquainted with these facts, the more effectively the principle of democracy in the development of any modern society can be enforced.

An important incentive for writing The Counterintelligence was also the fact that since 1997, according to the Regulations on the Unified State Requirements of the Council of Ministers, the Theory of Counterintelligence was introduced to the educational system of Bulgaria as a compulsory subject for the department on "Protection of the National Security". Today this subject is taught at the Free University of Varna "Chernorizets Hrabar", at the University of Veliko Tarnovo "St. Cyril and Methodius", and also at the Academy of the Ministry of the Interior. Counterintelligence matters are included as subject matters also in the programs of several other countries' universities where specialists in "Business Security Management" are trained.

Assenov and Kiprov have used different sources for writing their book: lectures on counterintelligence issues delivered at the Higher Institute of the Ministry of the Interior (purged of ideological clichés and outdated dogmatic concepts); the country's National Security Concept; the Criminal Code; the Criminal Process Code and other legal documents that regulate the special services' activity; laws related to the arrangement of the special services of the USA, Britain, Germany, Russia, and Greece, as well as a number of scientific materials and publications.

In creating their books, the authors obviously wavered between two approaches in the presentation of the material. Proceeding from the assumption that the basic principles are valid for any modern counterintelligence service, they could either develop in general the theoretical problems of counterintelligence, or examine these problems based on the Bulgarian realities, taking into consideration the local law, theory, experiences, and traditions of the Bulgarian counterintelligence. Obviously they opted for a mixed approach. In this way their book has a practical and applied value, enabling the reader to acquaint himself with counterintelligence concepts but also with the national peculiarities and the local reality in terms of national and business security.

The research subject of the book The Counterintelligence is defined by the principal objects of study - national and business security, national and business interests, their violation and the counterintelligence activity of the specialized governmental and non-governmental (business) entities with their specific powers and tools, principles, forms and methods of work.
The book is divided into two parts - one general and one specific. The general part deals with basic counterintelligence problems, concentrated in four sections. The first features counterintelligence in general and explains some basic concepts. In this section the content and the principles that rule the counterintelligence services' activities are revealed, as well as their powers and tools. The second section relates to the different types of counterintelligence activity - uncovering and combating crime, and assisting in its neutralization and prevention. The third section deals with the three principal methods used by counterintelligence - combination, penetration, and disinformation. In the last section of the general part of this book, the principal organizational models used as a framework for the execution of counterintelligence activity - operation checkup, surveillance, intelligence collection, and monitoring are explained.

The special part of the book is entitled "Basic Tools in Counterintelligence" and addresses two fundamental problems: the nature of secret collaborators and the basic rules for recruitment, working and liaising with them. A general description of the special intelligence gathering equipment and the basic requirements for the use of operational methods of application of technical equipment is also given.

The underlying idea of Assenov and Kiprov's book is that the end of the Cold War also brought an end to the political, economic and ideological contrasts between the two former systems and to the rivalry between their special services. Nevertheless, the authors stress that this fact does not decrease the importance of these services as guarantors of state and public security. To the contrary, the work of the intelligence and counterintelligence bodies continues to be affirmed as useful and indispensable to modern society. The problems of national security in the future shall be linked more and more closely to the protection of the rights, freedom and security of individuals. At the same time, counterintelligence activity is expanding across boundaries of individual countries, directed not only to the defense of national security, but also concerned with security problems of different regions, continents, and the world in general. International terrorism, drug traffic, the danger of proliferation of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons are no longer problems of a single counterintelligence service, but of the services of different countries of the world, acting in cooperation with one another.

Constantly increasing industrial espionage makes business security protection one of the components of national security. We are facing a growth of counterintelligence activity within the framework of private companies, and closer interaction between state and business security services. According to the authors, counterintelligence activity in Bulgaria is carried on in accordance with these new world realities. In this respect, legislative regulation of the counterintelligence issues assumes primary importance. Assenov and Kiprov take into account the fact that, during last few years, Bulgarian legislation partially resolved in a legal aspect the problems of national security protection, including those of economic security. Still unregulated, however, remain the problems related to the functions, objectives, tasks, and activity of business security sections, and their legal limitations in utilizing tools and methods of business security protection. In fact, they are presently prohibited from this activity, which is in contradiction to conditions in the rest of the world. Under such legal limitations, the regulation of business security protection activity in Bulgaria is delegated to, and depends to a great extent upon, the knowledge and experience of the section head, who in most cases is an ex-officer of the state's counterintelligence service.

The passing of regulatory acts related to the arrangement, management, and functioning of business security sections and, in particular, to their status (rights and objectives) and the means and methods used by them will provide the legal basis for their activity and will strengthen public control over the ever-increasing number of such sections in private enterprise. The authors point out that such a development would have a positive impact not only on the security of the single company, but also on the general economic security of the country.
Assenov and Kiprov also argue that the state's counterintelligence services must openly confront security problems of private companies, and undertake a legislative initiative as well as specific practical measures in order to promote, support, and resolve the problems related to business security. National interests, the authors say, will also be better protected through the interests of private companies, which have great influence on the economic development of the country under market economy conditions.

The book The Counterintelligence by Assenov and Kiprov examines a substantial number of problems in specific theory and practice, taking into consideration objective laws governing the development of the counterintelligence services under free market conditions. The authors endeavor to present the problems in an intelligible and straightforward manner, accessible both to specialists and the common citizen interested in these issues. They strive to enrich the knowledge of young people, to provoke their interest in counterintelligence, and to assist them in applying their achieved skills in the event they should seek careers in the security area in public or private services. In this effort they have been most successful.

The book offered to your attention is intended for students who attend lectures in "National security protection" and "Business security management". At the same time, the book can be useful for officers, specialists and experts working on security issues in the executive, judiciary and the legislature, or in private security services. The subject matter is also of interest to researchers, specialists in this field, and those in the general public interested in this area.
Assenov and Kiprov do not pretend to have exhaustively examined this area, but feel the book could be complemented and made more precise. They hope as well that this first in its genre of open publications in Bulgaria will serve as incentive for the further development of the theory of counterintelligence, and the examination of business counterintelligence issues. In this respect, the book enriches the national book market and will be given a positive reception by the reading public.

The authors dedicated their book to all former, present, and future Bulgarian counterintelligence officers who have defended and shall continue to defend the security and interests of their country.

Yordan Natchev, Sofia, Bulgaria

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