Clandestine HUMINT Operational Techniques - Special Clandestine Services - Strategic Deception

Strategic Deception

Intelligence organizations occasionally use live, or even dead, persons to deceive the enemy about their intentions. One of the best-known such operations was the British Operation Mincemeat, in which a dead body, bearing carefully misleading documents, was put in British uniform, and floated onto a Spanish beach. In WWII, Spanish security services, while officially neutral, often passed information to the Germans, which, in this case, is exactly what the British wanted done. This operation was under the control of the Twenty Committee, part of the British strategic deception organization, the London Controlling Section. A related British operation in WWI was run by a controversial military officer, Richard Meinertzhagen, who prepared a knapsack containing false military plans, which the Ottoman allies of the Germans were allowed to capture. The plans related to false British strategy for the Sinai and Palestine Campaign, setting up a successful surprise attack in the Battle of Beersheba and the Third Battle of Gaza.

Active measures, however, reflected a national effort to influence other countries to act in concert with Soviet goals. These measures could involve state organizations up to and including the Politburo, much as the WWII British organization for strategic deception, the London Controlling Section, and its US counterpart, Joint Security Control, could get direct support from the head of government. Much of the Soviet responsibilities for active measures was focused in the KGB. Its "First Chief Directorate uses active measures such as agents of influence, propaganda, and disinformation to promote Soviet goals."

In the present political context of Western democracies, the sensitivity, and separation, of clandestine and open contacts do not lend themselves to the process of building agents of influence.

"Active measures is not exclusively an intelligence activity, and in this sense it differs from the similar American concept of covert action. There are many differences between active measures and covert action. One is the Soviet ability to mesh overt and covert influence activities through centralized coordination of party, government, and ostensibly private organizations dealing with foreigners. Despite interagency coordination mechanisms, the United States is too pluralistic to achieve full coordination between all the overt and covert means of exercising influence abroad. Other major differences are in scope, intensity, and importance attributed to active measures and covert action, and in immunity from legal and political constraints."

While deception and influence operations could involve the highest levels of Allied governments in WWII, it is worth noting that while the West generally speaks of military deception, strategic deception operates at a higher level. A Soviet, and presumably Russian, term of art, maskirovka, is much broader than the current Western doctrine of deception being run by lower-level staff groups.

In the military, responsibility for maskirovka easily can be at the level of a deputy chief of the General Staff, who can call upon all levels of government.

Returning to KGB doctrine, presumably still present in the SVR, "Influence operations integrate Soviet views into foreign leadership groups. Propaganda operations take the form of disinformation articles placed in the foreign press. Disinformation operations are false documents designed to incite enmity toward the United States."

"The Second Chief Directorate", whose responsibilities are now primarily in the Russian FSB, is responsible for the recruitment of agents among foreigners stationed in the Soviet Union. The KGB influences these people unwittingly, as most regard themselves too sophisticated to be manipulated.

"The second deception program is counterintelligence, which aims to neutralize the efforts of foreign intelligence services. It achieves this through the use of non-Soviet double agents and Soviet double agents. Non-Soviet double agents are foreign nationals who have been "turned". A Soviet double agent is a Soviet with access to classified information. These officials may be used as false defectors....

"Influence operations integrate Soviet views into leadership groups. The agent of influence may be a well- placed, "trusted contact" who

  • consciously serves Soviet interests on some matters while retaining his integrity on others
  • an unwitting contact who is manipulated to take actions that advance Soviet interests on specific issues of common concern.

Read more about this topic:  Clandestine HUMINT Operational Techniques, Special Clandestine Services

Other articles related to "deception, strategic deception":

London Controlling Section - Charter
... The sweeping LCS charter, in part, authorized them to prepare cover and deception plans on a world-wide basis, co-ordinate deception plans prepared by ... more sweeping, they were not limited to strategic deception, but had authority to include any matter for a military advantage ... Cover and deception are intended to either create or reinforce a belief in one’s opponent which influences the opponents behavior along certain lines ...

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