One of the few unclassified discussions of official U.S. policy on the use of “cover stories” to conceal classified activities and operations advised that “Cover stories must be believable.” (1992 draft SAP Supplement [pdf], at p. 3-1-5).
But such pedestrian guidance would not have been needed by British military and intelligence officials during the past century because they had an almost instinctive gift for concealment and misdirection, writes Nicholas Rankin in “A Genius for Deception: How Cunning Helped the British Win Two World Wars” (Oxford University Press, 2009).
From the emergence of camouflage (a word that entered the English language in 1917) to the development of modern propaganda to the strategic deceptions of World War II, the author treats familiar figures such as T.E. Lawrence and John Buchan (author of The 39 Steps) and many unfamiliar ones.
“A Genius for Deception” is surprisingly colorful, with an endless stream of strange, offbeat and sometimes appalling anecdotes that the author has culled from his extensive reading and research.
He quotes an enterprising British intelligence officer in World War I who discovered that the German officers’ latrines in an East Africa camp “were a good source of soiled documents and letters, yielding ‘filthy, though accurate information’.”
In a personal epilogue, Rankin observes that the calculated deception of an enemy is ethically distinct from and not to be confused with propaganda directed at one’s own people.
To empower new voices to start their career in nuclear weapons studies, the Federation of American Scientists launched the New Voices on Nuclear Weapons Fellowship. Here’s what our inaugural cohort accomplished.
Common frameworks for evaluating proposals leave this utility function implicit, often evaluating aspects of risk, uncertainty, and potential value independently and qualitatively.
The FAS Nuclear Notebook is one of the most widely sourced reference materials worldwide for reliable information about the status of nuclear weapons and has been published in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists since 1987. The Nuclear Notebook is researched and written by the staff of the Federation of American Scientists’ Nuclear Information Project: Director Hans […]
According to the National Center for Education Statistics’ August 2023 pulse panel, 60% of public schools were utilizing a “community school” or “wraparound services model” at the start of this school year—up from 45% last year.