Thursday

19th Sep 2019

CIA manual tells agents how to fool EU border guards

  • Secret CIA documents instruct US agents to fool border guards at EU airports (Photo: afagen)

Classified CIA manuals instruct US agents with fake identities on how to maintain cover during EU border checks, according to two manuals released by Wikileaks on Sunday (21 December).

Both are marked "Noforn," meaning "no foreigners", which stop them being shared with allied intelligence agencies.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

The first document, "Surviving Secondary", is from 2011 and explains what to do in case a border guard singles out an agent for extra scrutiny.

The second document, "Schengen Overview", is from 2012 and explains the exposure risks posed by electronic border control checks like the Visa Information System (VIS) and others.

Most of the instructions in the "Surviving Secondary" manual appear to be based on common sense tactics.

For one, it says the best way to fool a border or security guard is to have a "consistent, well-rehearsed, and plausible cover".

The 15-page manual provides an example in which one US agent was stopped by security at a EU airport after traces of explosives were found in his bag.

Pulled aside for extra questioning, the agent fooled the guards into believing he had received counter-terrorism training in Washington DC. He was released.

Other tips include: Create an online persona that fits the cover story; be mentally prepared; and avoid carrying any electronic devices that could blow your fake identity.

Agents should also not bite their lips, volunteer too much information, perspire, or qualify sentences with phrases like “swear to God”.

The 12-page "Schengen Overview" document provides an overview of the differing electronic border control systems in place in the EU.

With one future possible exception, it notes that the systems are not designed for counterintelligence and therefore “pose a minimal identity threat to US operational travellers”.

The possible exception is the Entry/Exit System (EES), which is set to become operational next year.

EES records and stores the time and place of entries and exits by non-EU travellers, including those who do not require visas.

“The European Commission is considering requiring travelers who do not require visas to provide biometric data at their first place of entry into the Schengen area, which would increase the identity threat level for all US travellers,” notes the document.

Among the systems seen as unlike to result in an agent's identity being exposed is Europe’s largest, the so-called Schengen Information System (SIS), which stores information like records of people denied entry into the EU.

Unless the operative is travelling with a nationality that requires a visa, the Visa Information System (VIS) is also of little counterintelligence use because US citizens do not need a visa to enter the EU.

The VIS identity threat for non-US-documented travellers is set to expand, it notes.

News in Brief

  1. Austria to veto EU trade deal with South America
  2. Brexit minister asks EU for 'flexibility' to secure a deal
  3. Kovesi has 'sufficient majority' for prosecutor post
  4. France, Finland give UK ultimatum for Brexit plan
  5. Minsk talks bode ill for EU's peace summit on Ukraine
  6. Poll: Poland's nationalist rulers to win October election
  7. Irish lawyers clash with EU commission in Apple case
  8. NGOs take aim at EU smartphone pollution

Stalling on VAT reform costing billions, says Commission

German media outlet Correctiv, along with other newsrooms, have revealed how criminals annually cheat EU states out of billions in VAT fraud. The EU Commission says solutions exist - but member states refuse to budge on tax unanimity.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNew programme studies infectious diseases and antibiotic resistance
  2. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  3. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  6. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  8. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  9. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  10. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  11. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  12. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat

Latest News

  1. Malta PM accused of 'blackmail' over slain reporter
  2. Diplomats back Romania's Kovesi for EU top prosecutor
  3. Brexit raises questions for EU defence integration
  4. Low-carbon cities can unlock €21tn by 2050, report finds
  5. France, Italy want 'automatic' distribution of migrants
  6. Europe's refugee policy is test of its true 'way of life'
  7. A new Commission for the one percent
  8. Juncker: No-deal Brexit 'palpable'

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us