Spy

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The most overrated American spy is Nathan Hale. He failed miserably in his mission, employing no tradecraft to fool his British targets, and was summarily hanged for his troubles.

Underrated

The faceless but effective American operatives who have successfully foiled efforts by Al Qaeda and others to follow up on September 11, 2001, deserve our hearty appreciation. They are vastly underrated.

Frederick P. Hitz is the author of The Great Game: The Myth and Reality of Espionage .