CIA-MI6 psychological warfare and the subversion of communist Albania in the early Cold War

Stephen Long*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


The west’s prototype covert action of the Cold War against Albania, codenamed BGFIEND/Valuable, is often characterized as a failure of the rollback policy against the Soviet bloc. This article argues that, from late 1949, the CIA and MI6 did not attempt to overthrow Enver Hoxha’s communist regime as historians have assumed, but to subvert and harass it primarily through psychological–not paramilitary–warfare. On one hand, western intelligence enjoyed some modest propaganda achievements, and valuable organizational and tradecraft experience was acquired for future operations. Nevertheless, BGFIEND/Valuable also faced innumerable challenges and setbacks, illustrating the difficulty of waging subversive psychological warfare against a hostile authoritarian state in the early Cold War.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)787-807
Number of pages21
JournalIntelligence and National Security
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 18 Sept 2020

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