05 July 2013

Espionage Recruitment 101

There's a very good article from the WSJ about the challenges of recruiting assets & sources in international espionage.

An excerpt...
How, then, does a case officer persuade someone to become a traitor? There is no definitive handbook. The process is as complex as human relationships. If possible, a friendship should develop between the case officer and the prospective agent; bonds of trust must be established. But beneath the surface, there is the CIA officer's constant and often uncharitable assessment of the target's aspirations, fears and desires. You must know what motivates the potential recruit so that you can better exploit his vulnerabilities and, in the end, put him in the right frame of mind for your "pitch." In making this assessment, the CIA relies on four basic human motivations, described by the acronym MICE: money, ideology, conscience and ego. Some agencies in the U.S. intelligence community, perhaps not realizing that MICE is already a plural word, insist on adding an S to the end for sex. But sexual entrapment is not a reliable recruitment technique. A blackmailed agent tends to be resentful, brooding, prone to disloyalty and the fabrication of intelligence. Other countries, most infamously Russia, have used sexual entrapment in intelligence operations without compunction. The relationship with an agent motivated by money is straightforward: "We give you cash, and you steal secrets." Consider the case of the aircraft mechanic in a North African country who, in 1974, reported that six new export models of the Soviet MiG 23 fighter had been delivered to his military air base. He was willing to photograph every detail of the planes and proposed being paid per frame, as long as the images were of value. One night, under a brilliant African moon, he crawled all over the plane, snapping photos. For a final rear-facing shot, he shinnied out onto the shark's nose of the aircraft—and suddenly slid backward off the front. He looked up to discover that he had bent down the hollow nose needle at a twenty-degree angle. Unable to straighten the thing out—and worried that his payment would be jeopardized—he proceeded down the flight line in a panic and bent the five needles on the remaining fighters to match the first. He got his money, but his access was lost, along with his usefulness.

Plenty more entertainment at the link. Go read.

By: Brant

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