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How to evaluate
new members...

Weed out informants and agent-provocateurs.
Copyright ©1998 Lee Adams. All rights reserved.
NOTE – Spy & CounterSpy does not endorse, condone, or encourage any illegal act. The material in this article is presented for information, research, entertainment, and education purposes only. The words "you" and "your" are used in this article only for ease of readability.
     Assessing the risks.  It is imperative that you run tests to verify the reliability and integrity of new recuits who are applying to join your cell. Failure to evaluate recruits will result in your group being penetrated by your adversary – much like the militia groups in the USA have been penetrated by the FBI.
     Every time you admit a new recuit into your cell you are risking the security of your group. Yes, the recruit might be a bona fide supporter of your cause – or he might be an informant or an agent-provocateur.
     The Informant.  The informant is a cell member who is providing information to your adversary. He may betray you for money. She may betray you because she is being blackmailed. He may betray you because he is unethical, immoral, and weak-willed. She may betray you because she has a passive-aggressive personality disorder.
     The Agent-provocateur.  The agent-provocateur is someone who feigns enthusiastic support for your cause while enticing you to commit acts that are illegal. She is acting on the instructions of the FBI – or she may actually be an FBI agent. You are being set up for arrest, interrogation, and conviction.
     The Mole.  The mole is a cell member who quietly works to sabotage your operations. He may deliberately forget to do things that result in failed operations. He may intentionally ruin meetings with specious arguments and pointless debate, often introducing paranoia into the discussion. A typical mole is a long-time cell member who has been recruited by the FBI, perhaps by blackmail. Less frequently the mole is an FBI agent who has penetrated the organization at an early stage in its development.
     The Counterintelligence Role.  It is vital that your organization have a counterintelligence officer. This is someone whose role is to detect and neutralize attempted penetrations by the enemies of your organization. Whether this is a formal position or an ad hoc role is not important. Someone in your group must take steps to systematically and conscientiously evaluate new recuits.
     If you don't make an effort to defend yourself against penetration by your adversary, then you'll end up like the militia groups in the US... paranoid, disorganized, ineffective, and – more often than not – in custody.


Reveal some sensitive
bogus information to
the suspected informant,
then wait for things
to go wrong.

Uncover informants...
     Here is how established resistance movements uncover informants.
     First, reveal some sensitive information to the recruit – and only to the recruit. For example, you might inform him of the existence of a (bogus) hidden cache of weapons.
     Then wait and watch. If the cache is suddenly discovered by the authorities, you may be dealing with an informant. More tests may be required to confirm your suspicions.
     In serious cases where you're playing by Big Boys' Rules, you might need to use live bait. If your adversary is sophisticated and experienced, you might need to reveal genuine secrets to the recruit you're evaluating. For example, you might reveal the name of a whistleblower who is leaking information to you about your adversary. If your recruit betrays your information to your adversary, you'll have lost your whistleblower – but you'll have unmasked an informant before he can do too much damage.


The most reliable
method for unmasking
an agent-provocateur
is to ask him to
be the first to
commit to action.

Unmask an agent-provocateur...
     Here is how any organization can unmask an agent-provocateur.
     If the person is full of ideas for future operations, then insist that he lead by example. Make him commit himself first. Or, to put it another way, make him incriminate himself first before asking others to risk injury, exposure, or arrest.
     If the person balks, then he may simply be "all talk". Or he may be a coward. Or he may be an agent-provocateur. In either case, you've called his bluff and now you know not to fall for his jive-talk.


Enforce compliance...
     Here is how resistance movements enforce compliance with the counterintelligence functions.
     If a trusted cell member brings an outsider into your group – or reveals sensitive information to an outsider – without performing any of these counterintelligence measures, then that cell member must be severely disciplined.
     Depending on your situation, simply ostracizing the individual may suffice. Revoking his membership may be all it takes to remove the threat he poses. Or firmer steps may need to be taken.


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