The YouTube channel Talks with a Spy was officially launched on Wednesday, January 10th, 2018.
The intent is to air a new episode every second Wednesday, on subjects dealing with espionage and intelligence services.
Beryl 614, the creator of the channel is himself an ex-spy.
Comments on Episode 2, which are the 5 best intelligence services in the world ?
I find this kind of ranking perfectly misleading! Who truly knows the intrinsic value of one service of a given size, as compared to another? Outside of the CIA’s first place ranking, which holds no contest, ranking the others is fantasy. Though it might be reasonable to want to establish a list of services that could be counted among the top 10 in the world, attempting to rank them is like shadow-boxing.
But this artificial ranking has allowed me to touch on various subjects that seem important: the element of ‘shadow’ between partner services, the importance of the technical intelligence amassed by the NSA, the value of a structure that integrates human and technical resources, the perception of endangerment that influences the level of risk accepted by politicians in power, etc.
Finally, this ranking was a great opportunity to oppose many of the lists that are found on the Internet and Youtube on the topic. In many cases, contradictory matches are to be found for the top two places, for the CIA and Pakistani ISI.
Listing the latter at the top of the pyramid is something truly irritating. Yes, the ISI has a number of successes under its belt, notably against the Indian services. Similarly, its action in Afghanistan, largely destabilizing from a western perspective, shows a true
ability to mount complex operations with the appropriate means.
But outside of these assets, the ISI is a large and not very efficient structure, whose technical abilities are dwarfed by any of the main western or Asian intelligence services. Finally, in this “world of gentlemen”, the ISI is notorious for its absence of rules to govern its actions, by its brutality, and by its absolute non-transparency – even with partners.
Who is Beryl 614?
As it is mentioned in the welcome video of Talks with a Spy, « my name is not important. »
I am a recently-retired officer, trained at the École Spéciale Militaire de Saint-Cyr.
I served several years in the French Special Forces, and more than 15 years in the DGSE (or Direction Générale des Services Extérieurs) – initially in the heart of the “Office of Legends” (or its equivalent in real life), assuming different identities and secret covers, and then more traditionally as a spy embedded in the embassy system.
Why a YouTube Channel on espionage and intelligence services?
I don’t really watch television. I belong squarely to the YouTube generation and its digital tablets: I like what moves quickly ; I like passing from one subject to another, freely wandering according to my interests and desires.
I often find YouTube content to be much more interesting than that which is provided on television; it’s fresher, more lively. But I don’t necessarily identify with the tips of today’s main young YouTubers, creative and exciting though they are. I thought that there was therefore space for a more adult, more informative channel, that keeps the format of short consecutive episodes, intended for the Web.
Next, I needed a subject. The world of intelligence constitutes a passion to which I devoted numerous years of my life. I loved being a spy.
Talks with a Spy therefore became the obvious choice.
Clarifications and Restrictions
You will not find, on this channel, sensational revelations: I am bound by the confidentiality of my former roles.
But you will find analyses, reflections, and perhaps even a number of confidences.
I am confident that you will realize, over the course of different episodes of Talks with a Spy, that despite certain constraints, it is nonetheless possible to offer new and surprising content on a topic naturally under-represented in the open media… created by spies themselves (or ex-spies), to boot!