Kevin A. O'Brien


O'Brien, Kevin A. The Assassin's Web: South Africa's Counter-revolutionary Strategy, Securocracy, and Operations (with particular attention to the Special Tasking of Security Force Units) 1978-1990. Hull, UK: University of Hull, 2000.


O'Brien, Kevin A. "Counter-Intelligence for Counter-Revolutionary Warfare: The South African Police Security Branch, 1979-1990." Intelligence and National Security 16, no. 3 (Autumn 2001): 27-59.

The National Party government in South Africa "made continual and effective use of the practice of assassination..... [And] intelligence and intelligence-driven units were the basis for the mechanization of assassination." Ultimately, this part of the National Party's strategy only further corrupted the intelligence process and those overseeing it, and "contributed to the National Party's failure to uphold apartheid, in whatever form."


O'Brien, Kevin A.  "Information Operations and Counterterrorism."  Jane's Intelligence Review 14 (Sep. 2002): 50-53.

[GenPostwar/InforWar; Terrorism/02/Gen]

O'Brien, Kevin A. "Interfering with Civil Society: CIA and KGB Covert Political Action During the Cold War." International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence 8, no. 4 (Winter 1995): 431-456.

There are errors of fact and interpretation in this early article by the author. For example, the statement that "[m]edia outlets ... have been utilized ... by the CIA and, perhaps to a lesser extent, the KGB" grossly understates the role of the CPSU, of which the author acknowledges the KGB was the "sword," in relation to controlled media outlets around the world.

In another instance, O'Brien quotes Gregory Treverton for the view that "certain political parties (most often right-wing or centrist) were supported by the CIA." While the modifier "most often" provides an out, Treverton and the author are either choosing to ignore or are not knowledgeable about the instances where the CIA played a role in establishing more left-leaning opposition parties. This misdirectional approach is not rectified in the ensuing discussion of CIA activities in Europe after World War II. In addition, it would have been better for the author to have avoided reiterating Marchetti's now discredited claim that the Penkovsky Papers were a CIA fabrication.


O'Brien, Kevin A. "Managing Information Overload." Jane's Intelligence Review 12, no. 3 (Mar. 2000): 50-55.


O'Brien, Kevin A. "Security and Intelligence Related Information Resources on the Internet -- A Reference Note." CASIS Intelligence Newsletter 25 (Winter 1995-1996): 25-27.


O'Brien, Kevin A. The South African Intelligence Services: From Apartheid to Democracy. New York: Routledge, 2011.

Peake, Studies 55.3 (Sep. 2011) and Intelligencer 19.1 (Winter-Spring 2012), notes that the author covers the evolution of intelligence in South Africa "from a structural and political -- rather than an operational, case-oriented [see James Sanders, Apartheid’s Friends (2006)] -- perspective." O'Brien provides thorough coverage, which "makes for slow reading." This "is a unique, well documented study."


O'Brien, Kevin A. "South Africa's Evolving Intelligence and Security Structures." International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence 9, no. 2 (Summer 1996): 187-232.

O'Brien, Kevin A. "Special Forces for Counter-Revolutionary Warfare: The South African Case." Small Wars and Insurgencies 12 (Summer 2001): 79-109.


O'Brien, Kevin A. "The Use of Assassination as a Tool of State Policy: South Africa's Counter-Revolutionary Strategy 1979-1992." (Parts I and II) Terrorism and Political Violence 10, no. 3 (Summer 1998): 86-105 and 13, no. 2 (Spring 2001): 107-142.


O'Brien, Kevin A., and Joseph Nusbaum, "Intelligence Gathering on Asymmetric Threats - Part One." Jane's Intelligence Review 12, no. 10 (Oct. 2000): 50-55.


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