1981 CIA Report on Deception

Recently declassified: Deception Maxims: Fact and Folklore, Office of Research and Development, Central Intelligence Agency, June 1981. Research on deception and con games has advanced in the past 35 years, but this is still interesting to read.

Posted on January 5, 2016 at 12:44 PM • 19 Comments

Comments

KCNAJanuary 5, 2016 1:26 PM

on p. 23:

A final remark relative to the frailties of human information processing; a reading of the literature suggests the hypothesis that 'actors tend to dismiss unlikely events as impossible events'. Such a concept favors bold and imaginative strategies such as Hannibal crossing the Alps or the landing at Inchon.

KCNAJanuary 5, 2016 2:27 PM

@WHCA

In to the document linked by Bruce that is referred to as "M-deception":-)

The document talks about two forms of deception (from p.30), as they say were suggested by a discussion with Donald Daniel, Katherine Herbig et al at the Naval Postgraduate School (reference #36).

1. A (for ambiquity) deception. The intent of this is to increase the ambiguity in the victim's mind and lower the probability of a correct perception by "dilution" or multiplication of alternatives.

2. M (for misdirection) deception. The intent of this is to reduce the ambiguity in the victim's mind by having him become convinced of a particular falsehood. As to this they quote (on p.34) Barton Whaley (reference #4) who wrote that "the ultimate goal of stratagem is to make the enemy quite certain, very decisive, and wrong".

(Although IMHO the rabbit hole is even deeper and there were no planes. Just bombs in those two buildings. Don't expect anyone to come out and say it out loud however. A few of the people who knew have died, and others have roles they don't want to get out of.)

KCNAJanuary 5, 2016 2:33 PM

With 911 being an "inside job" it was "M-deception" in the sense that the "enemy" is of course "the public".

Although admittedly the truth is harder to determine when there are actors (some from the government) who sow "A-deception" about the event.

What this means is just that the government can in fact use a mixture of the two types of deception.

Anon friendJanuary 5, 2016 3:30 PM

Typo:
"Research on deception and con games has advanced in the past 25 years." Should say "35" years.

WHCAJanuary 5, 2016 4:22 PM

@KCNA, Very apposite distinction, M v. A. For instance, A-deception, ME-2; M-deception, PC-1 (www.consensus911.org), the former directed at individual government staff that were not witting, the latter directed at the public.

There's another level of deception in abstracting 'conspiracy theories' away from the evidence and pathologizing them in general, or lately, characterizing them as innate logical debilities (Brotherton's Suspicious Minds). The Times book review uses their review to get in a swipe at people who harp rudely on the facts of 911.

WaelJanuary 5, 2016 6:53 PM

@Jim K,

Don't forget the 'moon' landings...

Yea! Ever since I saw that flag waving in the "lunar air"... This looks like the backyard of an Arizona appartment :) How about Hitler still alive (in Argentina), Elvis still alive, and the biggest deception of all: Contact with alien civilization? I mean, come on, it's on YouFreakinTube, people! Wake the [redacted freakin' expletive] up! And it's coming from the horse's mouth (Ex-CIA agent), too!

Clive RobinsonJanuary 5, 2016 11:27 PM

@ Wael,

Two hours! How many "two hours" are there in a lifetime?

Let me think, you are supposed to sleep for 8hours a day or a third of your life, so it's 1/12th of a day, with an average length of life being 75 then it will be 12x75x365.25 or 328725 times give or take.

But what of "work life"? 2 hours a day is also considered an acceptable length of time to commute for work each day in the UK (not sure about the US commute time). So thats a little over ~240 days a year for ~45years you waste unpaid on average. Which is not far off of six years of work equivalent... But brings the "in a lifetime" down to around 144,000 which sounds a little bit better...

WinterJanuary 6, 2016 1:50 AM

@tyr
"Check this out. Deception is an artform available to all
and real conspiracies are hidden in plain sight."

We all know: Santa Claus, Diets, "Truth in Advertising".

WaelJanuary 6, 2016 2:52 AM

@tyr,

His certification story is priceless...

I can allocate about 15 min/day for this. I haven't reached the quoted point above as of yet. Interesting talk. A bit slow, but we'll see if it's time well spent.

WaelJanuary 6, 2016 3:47 AM

Regarding the apparent deception / con game...

Research on deception and con games has advanced in the past 25 years...

@Anon friend

Should say "35" years

Not if research on deception stalled for 10 years. You know, bureaucracy crap. Rumor has it that 35 inefficient government years = 25 of "our" years. Then again, perhaps Bruce learned something from the paper (art of deception) and is testing it on us ;)

@No Such Agency,,

It's been 35 years since 1981

How true! Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana :)

WaelJanuary 6, 2016 4:21 AM

@Clive Robinson,

with an average length of life being 75 then it will be 12x75x365.25 or 328725 times give or take.

I'll take, thank you very much :)

KCNAJanuary 6, 2016 4:16 PM

@WHCA
There's another level of deception in abstracting 'conspiracy theories' away from the evidence and pathologizing them in general, or lately, characterizing them as innate logical debilities (Brotherton's Suspicious Minds).

you are correct.

That's why those who do not trust the official 9/11 story are typically grouped together with:
- those who do not trust the official story of the moon landing
- those who propose that earth was/is visited by aliens
- those who claim earth is flat
- etc

Sort of interesting, considering that pathologizing conspiracy theories is like claiming that the government is entirely pure and innocent.

Or maybe it's a side effect of the strength of the 9/11 conspiracy theory.

Here's a much easier-to-accept conspiracy theory for 9/11; this is from an alternate universe:

The day 9/11/2001 was mostly like any other day in New York, and at the end of the day the twin towers (and 7 World Trade Center) were still standing. However there was a persistent rumor on the street that the New York City Police Department on this day secretly executed 3 men after they stumbled upon some information about Rudy Giuliani's business dealings.

The "rumor" in this story is still a "conspiracy theory" but would probably be easier for the public to accept. And someone accepting this kind of conspiracy would probably not even be grouped with any lunatics (except by friends of Mr. Giuliani).

Not just that there's a line somewhere where the story gets so big that beliefs in it get classified as outrageous.

That, and the fact that everyone who would know something has someone managing them through whom the individual can be pressured into shutting up. In the few cases where that does not work there is always "assisted suicide"...

WaelJanuary 6, 2016 11:59 PM

@tyr,

His certification story is priceless...

Reached his certification story. Sad, but not a surprising one (16:10.) I can extrapolate the rest. The guy is reading probably from a manuscript of his book.

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