AIS3141 - Spies, Intelligence and National Security

Offering Academic Unit
Department of Asian and International Studies
Credit Units
Course Duration
One Semester
Course Offering Term*:
Semester B 2020/21
Semester B 2021/22 (Tentative)

* The offering term is subject to change without prior notice
Course Aims

Intelligence, defined as the gathering and analysis of information to help illuminate leaders’ decisions, is a key component of foreign policy making in many countries. A broad range of threats to national security – economic, military and political – and the advancement of spy technology have fostered states’ growing dependence on intelligence in making policy choices.

This course examines key issues in the study of intelligence organisations and activities. It explores the three major missions of intelligence: collection-and-analysis; covert action; and counterintelligence. The course sheds light on what is known as the intelligence cycle to analyse the challenges of gathering and assessing information. Particular attention is paid to covert action, the most controversial intelligence activity. The course also covers the problems associated with protecting secrets from foreign spies and terrorist organisations. Finally, it considers the question of intelligence accountability: how a nation can protect its citizens against the possible abuse of power by its own secret agencies.

Assessment (Indicative only, please check the detailed course information)

Continuous Assessment: 100%
Detailed Course Information


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Department of Asia and International Studies