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Butterfly Spies: The New World of Human Intelligence

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30 November 2015, 13:00
A lecture by Stephen Grey, Special Correspondent, Reuters. In this era of e-mail intercepts and drone strikes, many believe that the spy is dead. In his lecture, Stephen Grey will discuss why the old game of treachery, seduction and subterfuge has merely adapted and adopted new techniques.

Stephen GreyA lecture by Stephen Grey, Special Correspondent, Reuters.

In this era of e-mail intercepts and drone strikes, many believe that the spy is dead. What use are double agents and dead letter boxes compared to the all-seeing digital eye? The spymaster's technique has certainly changed and the enemy has too, but the need for walking, talking sources who gather secret information has never been more acute. Targets of espionage, frequently chaotic non-state groups, now often come from cultures far removed from Western understanding. The new enemy is constantly evolving and prepared to kill the innocent.

Against such threats to security, many have an almost cult-like faith in technical solutions, from drones to mass surveillance. In his lecture, Stephen Grey will discuss why the old game of treachery, seduction and subterfuge has merely adapted and adopted new techniques. He will argue that spying in the modern world is frequently counter-productive, usually misunderstood, rarely definitive and often wrong, but it remains paradoxically as essential as ever.

Stephen Grey is a British writer and broadcaster, with over two decades of experience of reporting on intelligence and security issues. He is best known for his exclusive reporting on the CIA’s programme of ‘extraordinary rendition’, as well as reports from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. A former foreign correspondent and investigations editor with the Sunday Times, he has reported for the New York Times, Guardian, BBC and Channel 4. He is currently a Special Correspondent with Reuters news agency.

Stephen Grey will be on hand to sign copies of his latest book, The New Spymasters (Viking: 4 June 2015), which will be on sale.

An optional £10 sandwich lunch shall be available from 1215.

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