Friday, 27 November 2009

A real life how to spy book


Back in the days before spooks went around with sophisticated electronic listening devices, operatives of the Central Intelligence Agency had to acquire such skills as concealing a doping pill in a matchbook, then covertly dropping it into a person’s drink while distracting them by lighting their cigarette. To help agents master the necessary techniques,  the CIA employed magician John Mulholland for a fee of $US3,000 to compile The Official CIA Manual of Trickery and Deception, a copy of which was recently rediscovered by the Agency’s official historian.
091127ciamanual
It has now been published and Publishers Weekly comments that “despite the authors’ best efforts to promote their discovery of Mulholland’s work as a rare piece of historical evidence of the CIA’s legacy of black arts, the manuals, with their earnest, how-to descriptions of surreptitiously spiking drinks, palming documents and signaling colleagues with a feather in a hat band seem more quaintly anachronistic than revealing or sinister.”
For my part I am waiting for the first law suit in the United States from someone claiming to have been a victim of a drink spiker using the CIA’s techniques.
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