Thursday

20th Feb 2020

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 20 years of archives. 14-day 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.

Exclusive

Balkan spies 'feed' EU's police database via Czechs

Western Balkan secret services have handed over more the 250 alerts on suspected foreign terrorist fighters since last summer - fed into the EU's police database by the Czech Republic, according to a confidential document seen by EUobserver.

New EU public prosecutor has four staff for 3,000 cases

Laura Kovesi who heads the new European Public Prosecutor's Office, tasked to tackle fraud linked to VAT, money laundering, and corruption across the EU, warned she is dangerously understaffed and underfunded.

Polish 'LGBTI-free zones' not ok, says EU commission

The European Commissioner for equality Helena Dalli has said the distribution of 'LGBTI-free zones' stickers or the adoption of anti-LGBTI resolutions cannot be allowed. Some 86 towns in Poland have so far declared themselves 'LGBTI-free zones'.

News in Brief

  1. EU unveils white paper on AI and data strategy
  2. Dutch court rules against Russia in €46bn Yukos case
  3. Britain to bar 'Polish plumber-type' migrants
  4. Greece seeks EU help to get back classical statues from UK
  5. HSBC to cut 35,000 jobs worldwide
  6. Regions chief appeals against cutting EU cohesion funds
  7. Verhofstadt criticises UK Brexit negotiator
  8. Turkish court acquits Gezi park activists

Polish 'LGBTI-free zones' not ok, says EU commission

The European Commissioner for equality Helena Dalli has said the distribution of 'LGBTI-free zones' stickers or the adoption of anti-LGBTI resolutions cannot be allowed. Some 86 towns in Poland have so far declared themselves 'LGBTI-free zones'.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersScottish parliament seeks closer collaboration with the Nordic Council
  2. UNESDAFrom Linear to Circular – check out UNESDA's new blog
  3. Nordic Council of Ministers40 years of experience have proven its point: Sustainable financing actually works
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Baltic ministers paving the way for 5G in the region
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersEarmarked paternity leave – an effective way to change norms
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Climate Action Weeks in December

Latest News

  1. EU leaders face major clash on rule of law budget link
  2. North Macedonia warns EU on 'dirtiest ever' election
  3. Western 'endarkenment' and the voodoo politics of Europe
  4. Warning of agricultural 'digital arms race' in EU
  5. Cayman Islands put on tax-haven blacklist after Brexit
  6. Boris' Brexit bluff? - UK will resist alignment to the end
  7. US still open to Kosovo-Serbia land swap
  8. EU countries enter final phase of budget talks

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us