Authoritarian states are digitizing mass surveillance to extend the reach and depth of autocracy in the service of their shared political goals of precluding organized dissent or the possibility of genuine republican governance. The Fragile Dictator: Counterintelligence Pathologies in Authoritarian States will explore how authoritarian pathologies impact the use of these technologies in terms of the authoritarian secret police, and internal and foreign security services and how larger autocratic pathologies are reflected in the behaviors of security organizations seeking their own survival under the autocratic state. The resilience of authoritarianism suggests that twenty-first century globalization is not a particular argument for the demise of dictatorship and Western powers must think about new approaches to defeat authoritarian internal and foreign security services as intensified by authoritarian sponsored clandestine networks. While authoritarianism has been a subject of scholarship before, the emerging digital authoritarianisms are increasingly powerful adversaries to the world's remaining liberal democracies and suggest a need for a different strategic approach when engaging digitized autocracies.
Blake W. Mobley served at the Central Intelligence Agency as a counterintelligence officer and is the author of Terrorism and Counterintelligence: How Terrorist Groups Elude Detection (Columbia University Press, 2012).
Carl A. Wege is Professor of Political Science Emeritus at the College of Coastal Georgia, Brunswick, Georgia
Chapter 1: The Authoritarian Worldview
Chapter 2: New Wine in Old Bottles: Authoritarian Norms and Resistance Under the Secret Police
Chapter 3: Digital Authoritarianism and its Pathologies
Chapter 4: The Pathologies of Authoritarian Reach
Chapter 5: The Fragile Dictator: Counterintelligence Vulnerabilities of the Authoritarian Model
“A must read! This incisive and well-written book is valuable for the scholar interested in the impact of technology on authoritarian regimes and the practitioner who must appreciate authoritarian behavior to protect against their efforts and exploit their vulnerabilities.”
“There will be something of interest to anyone interested in the details and dimensions of authoritarian operations within governmental bureaucracies in this book. Clearly, the authors did their homework when it comes to discussing how intelligence agencies can gather information against these targets when it comes to waging cyber warfare against authoritarian regimes. The global information and communications battlefield will only become more active as its infrastructure becomes cheaper and more effective. As a result of reading this book, I gained a clearer understanding of how and why some democracies today are at risk.”
"'Know thy enemy.' For students and practitioners alike, The Fragile Dictator provides key insights into how modern authoritarian regimes exploit IT to control their people, consolidate their power, and go after any who would stand in their way. Yet, as the authors explain, the digital world also brings new vulnerabilities -- an essential starting point for anyone who may be asking, 'What can be done to stop them?'"
“Through meticulous research and incisive analysis, Wege and Mobley in The Fragile Dictator: Counterintelligence Pathologies in Authoritarian States lay bare the surveillance methods and motivations of authoritarian regimes operating in an increasingly globalized and technologically advanced world. Using carefully chosen examples, Wege and Mobley provide essential insight for anyone who seeks to understand the intricacies of clandestine counterintelligence efforts in authoritarian states characterized by mass surveillance. This book is eye-opening in its recognition of the threat posed by digitalization to liberal democracies around the world.”