Nation: Spy Guide

When students of the gray world gather, the conversation—whispered, of course —often turns to the quality of intelligence services. The CIA and KGB rank, on a scale of 1 to 4, at the top. Here, with help from intelligence operatives in the U.S. and abroad, TIME rates the other services:

Israel. Mossad, its intelligence service, is very well organized, ruthless, dedicated, all but impossible to infiltrate. Excels at information gathering and counterintelligence, is weaker on political analysis. Major target: Arab countries, naturally.

Britain. Its Secret Intelligence Service is tops at analytical work and political judgments. Good on the Middle East, less impressive on...

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