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The Art of War
Sun Tzu

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13.01-13.20 continued


[13.10] Therefore, of those close to the army, none is closer than spies, no reward more generously given, and no matter in greater secrecy. 

[13.11] Only the wisest ruler can use spies; only the most benevolent and upright generalcan use spies, and only the most alert and observant person can get the truth using spies. It is subtle, subtle!

[13.12] There is nowhere that spies cannot be used.

[13.13] If a spy's activities are leaked before they are to begin, the spy and those who know should be put to death.*

[13.14] Generally, if you want to attack an army, besiege a walled city, assassinate individuals, you must know the identities of the defending generals, assistants, associates, gate guards, and officers.

[13.15] You must have spies seek and learn them. You must seek enemy spies.* Bribe them, and instruct and retain them. Therefore, double spies can be obtained and used.

[13.16] From their knowledge, you can obtain local and internal spies. From their knowledge, the dead spies can spread misinformation to the enemy. From their knowledge, our living spies can be used as planned. The ruler must know these five kinds of espionage.*

[13.17] This knowledge depends on the double spies. Therefore, you must treat them with the utmost generosity.

[13.18] In ancient times, the rise of the Yin dynasty was due to I Chih,* who served the house of Hsia; the rise of the Chou dynasty was due to Lu Ya,* who served the house of Yin.

[13.19] Therefore, enlightened rulers and good generals who are able to obtain intelligent agents as spies are certain for great achievements.

[13.20] This is essential for warfare, and what the army depends on to move.


13.11 benevolent and upright general. To use spies successfully, be generous to them, devoted to the fight's moral purpose, and highly discerning (to distinguish between loyal and disloyal spies).
13.13 If the spy's activities are leaked. If a spy becomes known before the start, put him and his informants to death,  given the risk to the ancient nation's survival. One scholar updates this for our times: break all ties with both spy and informant (Huynh, Thomas, ed. The Art of War, p. 196).
13.15 Enemy spies. Double spies or agents.
13.16 From their knowledge.... Double spies are most essential and beginning with them, you can identify candidates for the other types, establish a network of spies for your side. One type leads to finding others: double spies → local and internal spies → dead spies → living spies
13.18 I Chih and Lu Ya. Ancient ministers. Each helped overthrow the last, evil emperor of a Chinese dynasty: the Hsia dynasty (2205-1766 BCE) and the Yin dynasty (1766-1045 BCE).

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