Die Schweiz hörte mit: Neue Dimension im Fall Crypto

Adrian Hänni on the role of Switzerland in the Crypto-Affair.

With challenges aplenty, Europe’s navies are coming to grips with high-end warfare

Jeremy Stöhs on the topic of Europe and high-end warfare at sea.

Hot off the press! The new Journal for Intelligence, Propaganda and Security Studies.

Order via and get your copy today!

ACIPSS project will publish two new books this summer: Die Psychokrieger aus Camp Sharpe und Camp Ritchie und seine Österreicher

UPCOMING: Ins Hirn des Feindes kriechen – Neues Buch über exilösterreichische US-Kampfpropagandisten



David Jaklin on Covid-19 and the spread of “Fake News” in Austria

When the European External Action Services (EEAS) released its report on disinformation in the context of the Covid-19/Corona virus on 19th  of March, the East StratCom Task Force had already collected over 110 Corona-related disinformation cases in its public EUvsDisinfo database. As of 27th April, this number has risen to 409. However, these are only the cases in connection with the East StratCom Task Force’s focus on Russia and China, covering the topic for the entire European Union.

Austria as a EU member state and neutral country is dealing with a variety of mis- and disinformation on its own. As of 27th of March, around 150 different “fake news” have been identified and over 100 internet comments with false information flagged. Additional 35 cases have been reported to the chancellery by a team of experts. As a result, it is fair to say a closer look at the Austrian “dimension” of Covid-19 and the mis- and disinformation surrounding it, might be of interest. But not only the “fake news” – as it is superficially called nowadays, but also the actions of the Austrian government to counter them and what kind of issues had to be dealt with in doing so:

Read more under:

Next JIPSS issue coming soon!

The current crisis has slightly postponed production of the next issue of JIPSS. We are working hard on getting the latest issue to you as quickly as possible.

Stay tuned!

30th ACIPSS-Conference: “Threat Situations: Economy – State – Private”

On Friday, February 7, ACIPSS held its 30th conference in cooperation with the Department of Risk and Corporate Security Management and the Association of Austrian Academic Security Consultants (VASBÖ) at the FH Campus Wien. Find detailed report under Events.

“Failure and Success in Doing More with Less” Jeremy Stöhs on the role of small states and their navies in Europe’s defense and security policy.

ACIPSS Researcher, Jeremy Stöhs, sets the scene by examining how European states have adjusted their naval policies to deal with the changing international security architecture.

29. ACIPSS Conference: “Espionage in Austria, HUMINT, and Targeted Killings”

On 5 December, ACIPSS organized two panels dedicated to human intelligence (HUMINT) and targeted killings, together with the Ludwig-Boltzmann Institut für Kriegsfolgenforschung (BIK). After an introduction by the Director of ACIPSS, Paul Schliefsteiner, and the head of institute of the BIK, Prof. Barbara Stelzl-Marx, Mag. Knoll explained the circumstances of the so called “Badener Group” and which fate these different individuals met in the immediate years after the Second World War, due to their involvement in espionage. It was shown clearly that parts of various families ceased to exist because of the incarcerations and executions by the Soviets. The following speaker, Mag. Bacher, went into detail about the assessment of British intelligence services regarding the significance of Austria when it comes to HUMINT. He illustrated the importance of Austria as a transit zone between the “east” and the “west”.

The second panel was dedicated to the topic of targeted killings and could not have been any more topical given recent events. Dr. Adrian Hänni compared targeted killings of former Soviet agents with those of today’s Russia. With the help of the examples of Alexander Litwinenko and Sergei Skripal, he demonstrated how Russian intelligence services transitioned to a way of violent and “theatrical” communication and demonstration of their operational reach. Prof. Sensburg elaborated on ongoing events and touched a wide area of security issues, besides the activities of intelligence services. The topic of targeted killings is testament to him that real political consequences for such activities are hard to find. The last speaker was Dr. Jaklin who gave insights about the private military company “Group Wagner”, their areas of operations as well as several killings of journalists connected to this topic. These are similar in ostentation, just like the killings touched by Dr. Hänni, and can be seen as a warning signal to Russian journalists, but also as pawn offers in political power plays.

Dr. Jeremy Stöhs and Mag. Bacher moderated the two panels and directed the following discussion and Q&A in interesting directions. As a result, the audience was given the opportunity to pose  detailed questions to the panelists.



5 December, “Espionage and Intelligence Services in Museums”

On 5 December, ACIPSS held two events on the  topic of intelligence. During the morning, Dr. Christopher Nehring and Mag. Bernhard Vogel presented the different formats of spy craft and Intelligence services in museums, titled „Schattenwelt im Vitrinenlicht. Spionage und Geheimdienste im Museum.“

Mag. Vogel introduced the exhibition „Spionage! 39 Fälle”[transl. „Espionage! 39 Cases.], hosted by the House of History in the Museum of Lower Austria, where the world of espionage is presented to the interested public by displaying a diversity of exclusive exhibits. Afterwards Dr. Nehring of the German Spy Museum Berlin talked about the success of the permanent exhibition (open since 2015). Within this context the following discussion opened up several interesting glimpse about myths, the question of authenticity as well as the fact that there can be no espionage exhibition without James Bond.

The following Q&A with the audience was moderated by ACIPSS Director Paul Schliefsteiner.

Conference: Military Intelligence Services during the eve of World War I

On the 8th of November, another event on the history of intelligence services was made possible in Vienna, thanks to a cooperation by the University of Vienna, the Science Commission of the Austrian Ministry of Defence and the ACIPSS. Organizers and hosts were Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Mueller and Dr. Verena Moritz from the Institute for Eastern European History at the University of Vienna.

On three extensive panels national and international experts talked about the early endeavours of intelligence services during the eve of World War I (program).

Erwin Schmidl elaborated on unheard or ignored reports of Austrian military attachés during the second Boer- and the Russian-Japanese War in their home country. Guenther Kronenbitter then gave various insights into the planning of wars by Austria-Hungary shortly before the Great War.

Additional insights were provided by Markus Poehlmann, who talked about the organisation and the periodic contextualization of German military intelligence and its actions aimed at Russia. A different presentation was held by Hannes Leidinger, who explained very detailed on how media constructed certain stereotypes to grasp the reasons behind the affair around the treason of Alfred Redl.

The last panel was dedicated to the expertise of Bruce Menning and Evgenij Sergeev. Menning presented various unsolved questions with regard to intelligence history shortly before World War I, but also where possible answers could be found. Sergeev gave a clear picture of Russian spy activity and allied cooperation during the war.

Both the moderation of the panels and the Q&A sessions were guided by Verena Moritz, Wolfgang Mueller and Siegfried Beer. During the discussions additional details to the relevance of research on intelligence services, and also the baby steps of the various services themselves were highlighted, but also the impact they had on political and military stakeholders.

(Pictures: David Jaklin)

Newly published: “Österreichs geheime Dienste: Vom Dritten Mann bis zur BVT-Affäre” by Thomas Riegler

“Österreichs Geheime Dienste” (Austria’s Secret Services) is the first source-based, historical account of the Austrian intelligence services since 1945. Rather than focusing on organizational developments, it provides a captivating account of ‘case history’: from the emergence of the film classic The Third Man more than 70 years ago in Vienna, the search for Nazi War criminals, and the ‘treasure hunt’ in the Toplitzsee to the fight against threats such as international terrorism, arms trade, and espionage.

The primary sources viewed for this study come from both domestic and foreign archives: the ÖStA/CoR, the Foundation Bruno Kreisky Archive (StBKA), the authority of the Federal Commissioner for the Files of State Security (BStU), and various other agencies. All in all, it is a journey into the depths of the so-called ‘Island of the Blessed’ – Austria.

As peaceful and benign as Austria might appear, for more than seven decades it has been the scene of politically motivated attacks, abductions, espionage operations, and arms smuggling. Despite the reluctance to discuss these issues publically, Austria’s intelligence services have had to deal with a multitude of threats. It is time to tell this secret story.

Thomas Riegler, Dieter Bacher, Paul Schliefsteiner and Siegfried Beer in an Ö1 interview on the challenges of research in the field of espionage, covert operations, and intelligence studies.

JIPSS at the Lower Austrian Science Fair

JIPSS co-editor Dieter Bacher presented JIPSS at the Forschungsfest Niederösterreich (Research Festival of Lower Austria). The number of visitors to the festival, and especially to his presentation, was high and the journal appealed to many visitors.

Jeremy Stöhs in a two-piece CIMSEC interview on his book The Decline of European Naval Forces and current developments in the maritime domain (by Roger Hilton/Globesec)

Media coverage of the 3rd Men’s Day and JIPSS Special Issue

The ACIPSS The Third Man Day and the special issue on cult film enjoyed great interest from the media. ACIPSS would like to thank the journalists. Below we provide links to online reporting, some of which is only available to subscribers.

Der Standard

Die Presse

Die Zeit


Kleine Zeitung


Impressions of The Third Man Day in Vienna

The ACIPSS  Third Man Day in Vienna, especially the presentation of the JIPSS Special Issue on the iconic movie The Third Man in the House of History Austria (hdgö), was a great success. We would like to thank everyone who made this wonderful day possible. Here are some impressions captured by Dieter Bacher and David Jaklin:

Hostess Dr. Sommer (hdgö, 2nd row center) with ACIPSS director Schliefsteiner (2nd row left) and the authors.

The JIPSS special issue was the center of attention.

ACIPSS director Paul Schliefsteiner during the event.

Q&A with the authors.

The Third Man Day even took the participants down into the Viennese canal system.

ACIPSS at the Marktplatz der Wissenschaft

JIPSS co-editor Dieter Bacher represented ACIPSS and JIPSS within his presentation “Agents of History” at the ” Marktplatz der Wissenschaft” (Science Marketplace)  in Tulln. Here are a few impressions.

The Third Man Day in Vienna

Celebrating the 70th anniversary of the classic films world premiere, ACIPSS is organising a day on the tracks of the movie in Vienna. Also, the first thematically focused JIPSS issue will be presented at the Haus der Geschichte Österreich (hdgö, House of History Austria). For further information, please refer to the flyer below. The event will be held in German.

Out now: JIPSS Volume 12, Issue 2

The issue will be publicly presented in Vienna on August 31st 2019. The event will be held in German.

Wednesday, 5th of June: Guest Lecture “Venice’s Secret Service” by Dr. Ioanna Iordanou at the University of Graz

ACIPSS kindly invites to the Guest Lecture by Dr. Ioanna Iordanou, about Venice’s Secret Service and Intelligence Organisation during the Renaissance period. The lecture takes place on Wednesday, 5th of June, 7PM at Heinrichstraße 26 (“Philoturm” 2nd floor), seminar room 09.23. The lecture and discussion will be given in English. –> additional information.

Press report on intelligence studies in Austria and Thomas Riegler’s article in JIPSS

Thomas Riegler‘s recent article in JIPSS 1/2018 discussed by Burkhard Bischof in DiePresse.

Out now: JIPSS Volume 12, Issue 1


„Fighting for the Host Country“ – ACIPSS research featured in historical magazine „DAMALS“

In plain and straight language the current issue of the renowned historical magazine DAMALS (engl.: „in those days“) sheds light on a research field which – due to Siegfried Beer’s pioneer work in the late eighties – has become a specialty of ACIPSS: i.e. the employment of Austrian refugees from Hitler Germany in US wartime institutions, especially in the field of intelligence and propaganda. Relying on richly illustrated biographic case studies, ACIPSS historian Florian Traussnig provides an intriguing insight into the various and often very hazardous contributions of Austrian and German exiles to the defeat of Nazism. For a short teaser click here.

Bild könnte enthalten: 3 Personen, Text

ACIPSS Director, Paul Schliefsteiner, contributes chapter to Annual Volume on Terrorism 2017/2018

For the annual volume on terrorism 2017/2018, published in German by the Institute for Security Policy at the Kiel University (ISPK) Paul Schliefsteiner contributed an analysis of recent developments in Austria. The text focuses on the threats posed by radical Islamic and jihadist terror networks, especially regarding the activities of the self-proclaimed Islamic State.


“Why Austria is still centre for espionage” – BBC coverage relies heavily on the expertise of ACIPSS founder Siegfried Beer

A recently published BBC story points out that the spy swap between Russia and the United States at the Vienna International Airport (2010) is one of the most spectacular examples for the city’s “long tradition as a hotbed of international espionage”. Among the experts quoted in the article ranks ACIPSS founder Siegfried Beer, a much sought-after voice on the issue. According to the Graz based intelligence historian, the iconic cold war classic The Third Man “was inspired by an Austrian journalist, Peter Smolka, who worked for British intelligence and who was also a Soviet mole”. After giving a short historical overview on the role of Austria in the cold war and her geopolitical particularity, Beer adds: “Espionage was a business. It still is. It brings a lot of people with a lot of money and a lot of support into the country […] Politicians should know by now that espionage is an international business in which everybody is involved.”


ACIPSS experts on the the latest spy case in Austria

On Friday, November 9th, two ACIPSS intelligence experts appeared on the Austrian news Zeit im Bild within less than two hours. Assessing the case of a former officer of the Austrian Armed Forces who allegedly was a Russian spy for 20 years, ACIPSS founder and intelligence historian Siegfried Beer spoke out for self-criticism and realism  in Austria (“all countries spy”). His ACIPSS fellow, the intelligence expert Thomas Riegler once more emphasized the persistence of “human intelligence”. Both experts unanimously called for a bigger effort in counter-espionage. (TV Interviews are in German)

Beer_ZiB 2

Riegler_ZiB 24

Austria during the 1950s as “highway of intelligence services”

Dieter Bacher, historian and researcher on the history of intelligence services in Austria at the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Research of Consequences of War and since many years also associated with ACIPSS, recently co-organized together with the Historical Archives of the State Security Services of Hungary (ABTL) an international conference in Budapest on the topic “Hungarian intelligence services in Austria during the Cold War”. Now the Austrian newspaper Der Standard has published an article on these research attempts  and about staff and networks of Hungarian secret services in neutral Austria. One thing seems already clear, states Bacher: The human factor in intelligence was and is a key factor. “Today we believe”, said Bacher, “the computer is the most important tool. But that’s not true. Human Intelligence, that means gathering intelligence via human beings as source, for example during conversations, is still the backbone of intelligence work.”

Foto: (c) ATBLPhoto: (c) ABTL

The German equivalent to “Ultra”: Signal Intelligence in Yugoslavia 1943-1944

Trifkovic, Gaj

Gaj Trifkovic, who is a longstanding ACIPSS contributor and military historian, recently developed a facet of the Second World War in the Balkans for the Journal of Intelligence History, which to date had been left largely ignored: the extensive use of Signals Intelligence (SIGINT) in the conflict. On the basis of newly accessed files he proves for the first time that the widespread use of SIGINT by the Wehrmacht was a successful method – albeit limited in its power – within their “counterinsurgency” efforts against Yugoslavian partisans.

“A thought-provoking and sensible analysis” – Study of ACIPSS  Fellow Jeremy Stöhs draws international praise

The recently published study,  The Decline of European Naval Forces: Challenges to Sea Power in an Age of Fiscal Austerity and Political Uncertainty (Naval Institute Press, 2018), by ACIPSS Fellow Jeremy Stöhs has received significant attention and praise from renowned historians and political scientists alike.


Chris Parry calls it “urgent and persuasive”, Neil Baird a “thought-provoking” work, Anthony Wells an “outstanding analysis”, and the Australian Naval Institute “would certainly recommend this book to those with an interest in contemporary naval affairs”. Way to go, Jeremy!

The Austrian daily Kleine Zeitung gives an insight into the current ACIPSS changes & challenges

No more money for Graz spy centre

Founded by historian Siegfried Beer, intelligence research centre ACIPSS (Austrian Center for Intelligence, Propaganda und Security Studies) will no longer receive financial support from the university

By Norbert Swoboda (Kleine Zeitung) | 05.50, 14 July 2018

Reshuffling continues within the History department based in the University of Graz’ school of Humanities. Two years ago there was turmoil surrounding the replacement for contemporary historian Helmut Konrad, and now another institution is bound to disappear: the intelligence research centre will no longer receive financial support through the university as founder and driving force, historian Siegfried Beer (70) is due to retire. A new board including Paul Schliefsteiner (chairman), and deputy chairman Florian Traussnig (academic director) was elected last week.

For the past decades, this unique but unpronounceable centre (ACIPSS – Austrian Center for Intelligence, Propaganda und Security Studies) had been supported by the university. Grants towards their extravagant magazine amounted to approximately EUR 15,000, and money was made available to pay a secretary for a couple of hours per week. In the upcoming days, Schliefsteiner wants to recommence discussions on how to continue with principal Christa Neuper.

Michael Walter, Dean of the School of Humanities, regrets this development but states that “We cannot fund everything.” His task is not an easy one – there is continuous criticism, that vacancies predominantly go to German lecturers, predominately in the field of contemporary history. As has been mentioned before, this harsh criticism lead to a delay in replacing Konrad. An interim solution fell apart, and the process is due to reopen in early autumn with the factor of migration to be borne in mind. However Walter, who has only been Dean for half a year, does not want to leave these allegations uncommented.

At the moment, Börries Kuzmany’s pathway towards a professorship is taking shape. The highly talented young historian from Vienna, who has received a lot of grants from the EU and works at the Austrian Academy of Sciences, focuses on central Europe/the Habsburg Empire/and the 19th century, and would bring an entire working group with him. In addition, famous historian Dieter A. Binder is also about to retire at the moment.

And how are things going to continue with the “spy centre”? The club still has hopes, that in times like these some money could come from the Austrian Armed Forces or the Interior Ministry. And there is a chance that a private patron could still emerge, as has happened once before.


Siegfried Beer on “Intelligence Studies in Austria”

Siegfried Beer gave his presentation on “Intelligence Studies in Austria” at the Flemish Parliament in Brussels. It was part of the Belgian Intelligence Studies Centre’s conference on “International Collaboration regarding Intelligence Services and Intelligence Studies”, which took place on June 29th.

8.-10.6. 24th Annual Conference: New Perspectives on the Role of Intelligence in Central, Eastern and Southeastern Europe

The 24th Annual Conference of the International Intelligence History Association (IIHA) was held in Graz in cooperation with the Austrian Center for Intelligence, Propaganda and Security Studies (ACIPSS) and the Centre for Southeast European Studies (CSEES).

Here you can find the program and the photos.


ZIB-24: “Secret Service expert on staged murder”

Interview with Siegfried Beer on the Babchenko-Affair. You can watch the video in German here (04:51; available until June 5th).

19. 4. Neue Forschungen zur Rolle von Widerstand und Geheimdiensten im Zweiten Weltkrieg

At the upcoming 27th ACIPSS conference, Christopher Turner will shed light on the rise and fall of the Maier-Messner Group (codename CASSIA). Before the group’s disastrous end, it gave the U.S. Office of Strategic Services—the forerunner of the CIA—a wide range of intelligence, organized resistance cells in war-related industries, and disseminated anti-Hitler and antiwar propaganda. The remarkable founders and key figures were an Austrian priest and a merchant.

Thursday, April, 19th, at the Landesverteidigungsakademie, Vienna.
For further information, see the invitation. (German)

New Book Release

Jeremy Stöhs’ book, The Decline of European Naval Forces, based on his 2015 master thesis, gives an “insight into the evolution of Europe’s naval forces since the end of the Cold War.”

You will find the full description on the U.S. Naval Institute’s homepage here.


ACIPSS-experts Siegfried Beer and Thomas Riegler have been interviewed on the current affair concernig the BVT (Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution and Counterterrorism) on Radio Ö1 Mittagsjournal.

Radio Ö1 Mittagsjournal (German)

Ab sofort erhältlich: JIPSS Jahrgang 11, Nummer 2


26. ACIPSS-Arbeitstagung an der LVAk

Am 25. Jänner 2018 fand die 26. ACIPSS-Arbeitstagung an der Landesverteidigungsakademie (LVAk) in Wien zum Thema “Terrorismus: Akteure – Methoden – Bekämpfung” statt.



ÖAW-Auszeichnung für Florian Traussnig

ACIPSS-Forscher Florian Traussnig ist für seine Dissertation “Geistiger Widerstand von außen. Österreicher in US-Propagandainstitutionen im Zweiten Weltkrieg” von der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften mit dem Jubiläumspreis des Böhlau Verlages Wien ausgezeichnet worden.

Bilder der Preisverleihung vom 21. November 2017 finden Sie hier.

Publikation: “Geistiger Widerstand von außen”

Nach “Militärischer Widerstand von außen” ist nun auch die Dissertation von ACIPSS-Projektmitarbeiter Florian Traussnig im Böhlau-Verlag erschienen: “Geistiger Widerstand von außen: Österreicher in US-Propagandainstitutionen im Zweiten Weltkrieg.”

Details zum Buch finden Sie auf der Homepage des Böhlau-Verlags.