It starts with a story of young brilliant man named Zulkifli Lubis, the founding father of the first intelligence agency in Indonesia - Badan Istimewa, whose reports directly to Ir. Soekarno. BI then evolved to (but not in sequence/hierarchy) BISAP, BKI, KIN, Opsus, BAKIN, Satsus Intel and then the only intelligence service that serve the nation until now, BIN. The stories in this book also mentioned other intelligence services like CIA, MOSAD, M16 and involved other countries like USSR (Russia), China, North Korea, Vietnam, Timor Leste and Yemen. In the end of each chapter, you’ll find footnotes that contain some explanations, the list of sources like direct interviews and written documents, and some abbrevations. Ken Conboy is not kidding.

The Indonesia’s intelligence operations in 70’s and 80’s are strongly backed by CIA. Since anti-communist has become main mantra of the New Order, both Indonesia and CIA have common interest in this matter. The leftist countries like Rusia, China and Vietnam became their main concern. Non-Aligned Movement doesn’t apply here and we were in Cold War too, back then. International terrorism is also important issue.

It’s really interesting to know how intelligence agent works with all these secret codename of operation and agent, strict protocols for exchanging information, spy devices (teltap and, oh, they even have this wireless microphone in 70’s). Have you watch intelligence agent movies like Bourne’s or Red Sparrow? It’s real here. It really happen (let’s assume the stories and its sources are true) when intelligence agent kidnaped their traitor from Philipine embassy. Double agent is also real (see Petrov case as outrageous one). Not all operations are done successfully. Some returns empty value of information, some accusations were unproved but some other really saved lives and drove political decissions.

But it leaves me more unanswered questions. How BIN work in this information era? Have they build some advanced technology to replace the teltap method? Are they still backed by CIA and derrived some technologies to use against security standard like RSA? Is our privacy right became their concern too?