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CIA manual of trickery and deception resurfaces

Noah Shactman’s cool Danger Room blog (from Wired) posted recently about the CIA’s declassified Lost Magic Manual that has just resurfaced. In 1953, the CIA hired professional magician John Mulholland to adapt his techniques of stealth and misdirection to the craft of espionage. According to the BBC News, “the guide was part of a larger CIA programme, called [w:Project MKULTRA], aimed at countering the Soviet mind-control techniques of the Cold War era.” The classified manuals were believed to have been destroyed in 1973, but Intelligence historian H. Keith Melton and retired CIA officer Robert Wallace discovered a copy in 2007 in the CIA Archives. The Boston Globe has a great visual summary of some of Mulholland’s best tricks. Get a copy from isbn.nu. A great addition to any library. In fact a bunch of them already have a copy!

At the height of the Cold War, the Central Intelligence Agency paid $3,000 to renowned magician John Mulholland to write a manual on misdirection, concealment, and stagecraft. All known copies of the document — and a related paper, on conveying hidden signals — were believed to be destroyed in 1973. But recently, the manuals resurfaced, and have now been published as “The Official CIA Manual of Trickery and Deception.” Topics include working a clandestine partner, slipping a pill into the drink of the unsuspecting, and “surreptitious removal of objects by women.”

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