Chapter 13 - Employing Spies

When you send forth an army of a hundred thousand on a campaign marching them out a thousand kilometers, the expenditures of the common people and the contributions of the feudal house will be one thousand pieces of gold per day. Those uncovenienced and troubled both within and without the border, who are exhausted on the road or unable to pursue their agricultural work, will be seven hundred thousand families. Armies remain locked in a standoff for years to fight for victory on a single day, yet generals begrudge bestowing ranks and emoluments of one hundred pieces of gold and therefore do not know the enemy's situation. This is the ultimate inhumanity. Such a person is not a general for the people, an assistant for a ruler, or the arbiter of victory.

The means by which enlightened rulers and sagacious generals moved and conquered others, that their achievements surpassed the masses, was advance knowledge. Advance knowledge cannot be gained from ghosts and spirits, inferred from phenomena, or projected from the measures of Heaven, but must be gained from men for it is the knowledge of the enemy's true situation.
Thus there are five types of spies to be employed: local spy, internal spy, turned spy or double agent, dead or expendable spy, and the living spy. When all five are employed together and no one knows their Tao, this is termed spirtual methodology. They are a ruler's treasures.

Local spies - employ people from the local district.
Internal spies - employ their people who hold government positions.
Double agents - employ the enemy's spies.
Expendable spies - are employed to spread disinformation outside the state. Provide our expendable spies with false information and have them leak it to enemy agents.
Living spies - return with their reports.

Thus of all the Three Armies' affairs no relationship is closer than with spies, no rewards are more generous than those given to spies, no affairs are more secret than those pertaining to spies.

Unless someone has the wisdom of a Sage, he cannot use spies; unless he is benevolent and righteous, he cannot employ spies; unless he is subtle and perspicacious, he cannot perceive the substance in intelligence reports. It is subtle, subtle! There are no areas in which one does not employ spies.
If before the mission has begun it has already been exposed, the spy and those he informed should all be put to death.

In general, as for the armies you want to strike, the cities you want to attack, and the men you want to assassinate, you must first know the names of the defensive commander, his assistants, staff, door guards, and attendants. You must have our spies search out and learn them all.

You must search for enemy agents who have come to spy on us. Tempt them with profits, instruct and retain them. Thus double agents can be obtained and employed. Through knowledge gained from them, you can recruit both local and internal spies. Through knowledge gained from them, the expendable spy can spread his falsehoods, can be used to misinform the enemy. Through knowledge gained from them, our living spies can be employed as times require.
The ruler must know these five aspects of espionage work. This knowledge inevitably depends on turned spies; therefore, you must be generous to double agents.

Thus enlightened rulers and sagacious generals who are able to get intelligent spies will invariably attain great achievements. This is the essence of the military, what the Three Armies rely on to move.

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