Sloppy CIA Tradecraft
CIA agents exposed due to their use of frequent-flier miles and other mistakes:
The man and woman were pretending to be American business executives on international assignments, so they did what globe-trotting executives do. While traveling abroad they used their frequent-flier cards as often as possible to gain credits toward free flights.
In fact, the pair were covert operatives working for the CIA. Thanks to their diligent use of frequent-flier programs, Italian prosecutors have been able to reconstruct much of their itinerary during 2003, including trips to Brussels, Venice, London, Vienna and Oslo.
Aides to former CIA Director Porter Goss have used the word “horrified” to describe Goss’ reaction to the sloppiness of the Milan operation, which Italian police were able to reconstruct through the CIA operatives’ imprudent use of cell phones and other violations of basic CIA “tradecraft.”
I’m not sure how collecting frequent-flier miles is a problem, though. Assuming they’re traveling under the cover of being business executives, it makes sense for them to act just like other business executives.
It’s not like there’s no other way to reconstruct their travel.