Spies were individuals that were trained, and sometimes hired, to perform espionage, the practice of obtaining information from rivals or enemies for a military or political advantage. Spies were employed to obtain secrets such as plans or formations of enemy troops. The primary mission of a spy was to collect information, not to fight. Although some spies were skilled in combat, most tried to avoid being detected altogether. The Bothan species was well known for being especially good at spying through the Bothan Spynet. Both the Rebellion and the Empire practiced spy usage during the Galactic Civil War. The Yuuzhan Vong extensively spied out the galaxy prior to their invasion.
History of espionage
Spies during the Great Galactic War (14 BTC/3,660 BBY)
- "Recent Republic strategic information reports prove that the rise of the Mandalorians was orchestrated by Imperial Intelligence."
- ―Jedi Master Gnost-Dural
The Sith Empire hired spies during the Great Galactic War. After a succession of defeats generated by the Sith during the war, ended by the Battle of Bothawui, the Sith Emperor changed his strategy to ensure victory: Imperial Intelligence.
Their goal was to gain the control and loyalty of the Mandalorians. The Imperial Diplomats at first sent invitations to the bounty hunters and the crackpots of the Outer Rim, to join the war efforts. Few of them answered positively; most of them remained neutral. To gain the loyalty of the Mandalorians, the Sith Emperor hired spies. The spies infiltrated the arenas where bounty hunters and other such brawlers fought in the Outer Rim. The Empire infiltrated the arenas as trainers, patrons, and Gladiators.
Imperial Intelligence had noticed a strong Gladiator and made him the puppet of their plans. The Sith Spies drugged and weakened his enemies to make it stronger than any others participants of the Geonosis Arena. The groans of Imperial Intelligence became the spectators' acclamations: "Mandalore! Mandalore!" The Gladiator claimed the title and became the New Mandalore. He summoned his people and allied them to the Imperial war effort. However, Mandalore obeyed Imperial Intelligence. As the puppets of the Sith, the Mandalorians declared war for a second time against the Jedi. They also prepared a blockade of the Hydian Way that later would be broken by a group of smugglers lead by Hylo Visz in 7 BTC.
After tracking Jango Fett to Geonosis, Obi-Wan Kenobi infiltrated a Geonosian structure and found the Separatist leaders and Count Dooku scheming to secede from the Republic, using their droid armies as martial back-up. Kenobi was able to send this vital information to the Jedi Council on Coruscant, leading to the start of the Clone Wars.
The first Death Star plans
- "Several transmissions were beamed to this ship by Rebel spies. I want to know what happened to the plans they sent you."
- ―Darth Vader
Prior to the Battle of Yavin, Princess Leia uploaded stolen plans for the Death Star to R2-D2 before her imminent capture by Darth Vader. These transmissions had been procured from several different sources, including Rebel mercenary Kyle Katarn. Along with the plans was a hologram message for Obi-Wan Kenobi pleading for his return.
The second Death Star plans
The Bothan Spynet secured the plans to the second Death Star, an event during which, famously, "many Bothans died…" The plans showed that the Death Star was indestructible until shield generators on the moon of Endor were effectively shut down. Thus, the Rebel Alliance was able to effectively attack the new, unfinished but deadlier, Death Star by a ground assault. Despite heavy losses, they were successful, and the second Death Star was destroyed, along with the Emperor.
Zsinj was notorious for employing Imperial intelligence assets in his period of warlordism. He had agents throughout not only the New Republic, but its fleet as well. However, Zsinj suffered heavy defeats from another quasi-spy organization, Wraith Squadron, and especially from a former member, Lara Notsil, who pretended to defect but actually was a spy and saboteur.
The Yuuzhan Vong Intendants
While their function was originally bureaucratic, the Yuuzhan Vong of the Intendant caste made extensive use of espionage prior to their massive invasion. Chief among their spies was Nom Anor. Ultimately, their use of espionage allowed them to gather massive amounts of intelligence on the galaxy without their machinations (although they would detest the use of that word) being detected. Yuuzhan Vong spies were active and a very real danger throughout the entire war. They also used organizations such as the Peace Brigade and treacherous senator Viqi Shesh to gather intelligence. In terms of counterespionage, on some occasions, New Republic Intelligence and its successor, would feed known Vong spies false information. Luke Skywalker and Wraith Squadron were also able to infiltrate the captured Coruscant and learn valuable information about the Yuuzhan Vong presence there.