Geographies of Intelligence and Counter-Intelligence

Next year’s AAG will be held in Seattle, WA and I have organised with Trevor Barnes a session on “Geographies of Intelligence and Counter-Intelligence.”

Here are the details. Thanks to Trevor for helping to organise, and to the participants for offering what looks like a cracking session!


Title: Geographies of Intelligence and Counter-Intelligence
Description: News headlines this year were dominated by two stories: WikiLeaks, a stateless organization dedicated to publishing governmental secrets relating to corruption and coverups. As such, it publishes sensitive state intelligence, and much of the attention it received this year focused on the “War Diaries” The War Diaries provided a rare glimpse into US intelligence and its part in war. They were also extremely controversial, raising issues of free speech, state secrets, endangerment of troops and the nature of intelligence in a democracy.

Simultaneously the Washington Post published the results of a two-year analysis of “top-secret America” revealing it is spread across 10,000 different US locations and employs 854,000 people with top-secret security clearances.

Geography, and geographers, are involved in the production of geographical intelligence, known as GEOINT. What technologies are deployed (GIS, mapping and remote sensing) for what purposes? What are the networks of intelligence, resources and sources of information? How is information shared between countries? In Trevor Paglen’s words, what is going on in the “blank spots on the map”? Not surprisingly, remarkably little is known about geographies of intelligence, but as both WikiLeaks and the Post story illustrate, this need not be the case. Additionally, as records are declassified (eg for the OSS and CIA) the nature of intelligence can be traced for events that played defining roles in history, such as the Second World War or Vietnam.

This session features contributions on intelligence and its geographies, with papers that trace both contemporary and historical aspects of this question.

Anticipated Attendance: 50
Jeremy Crampton
Trevor J. Barnes
Jeremy Crampton
Presenter: David Murakami Wood, Reterritorializing of the Hidden Geography of Transnational Surveillance: New Geographies of SIGINT and the ‘Open-Source Insurgency’
Presenter: Merje Kuus, Geopolitical Expertise in Brussels: The National and the Transnational
Presenter: Richard Nisa, Processing Enemy Identity: Technologies of Intelligence and U.S. Military Detention After the Geneva Conventions
Presenter: Michael Heffernan, Geography and Espionage: The Lives of Sándor Radó
Presenter: Steve McClure, Strategic intelligence for the Social movements: GISsci and civic engagement in Northern Virginia
Sponsorships: Political Geography Specialty Group
Historical Geography Specialty Group
Ethics, Justice, and Human Rights Specialty Group




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