After a CIA memo explaining how to get through tighter EU border security checks was leaked to WikiLeaks, the question arose why are there covert agents in the countries the US is meant to share intelligence with, former MI5 agent Annie Machon told RT.

AFP Photo/Jim Watson

RT:You might have heard what we were talking about there. Some of the CIA tips, are they similar to what MI5 tells its agents?

Annie Machon: They are similar to what you can read from any similar spy pot-boiler, actually. I think my first point on this would be, it’s good to see that WikiLeaks is back doing what it does best, which is providing a secure platform for leakers who are concerned about what’s going on in intelligence agencies to get the information out.

But also I find it rather ironic reading this document when the US has been setting the standard for raising barriers for anyone trying to get into the US, so they of all people know quite how difficult it can be to get into their own country and what they’re advising in this CIS document is quite low grade and fairly logical if you think about it.

RT: It’s quite fascinating as well to get an insight into what they’re told. Just put it into perspective first. Say, an agent is out in the field gets uncovered and gets taken in, what’s next? What happens then?

AM: I think we need to clarify what you mean by agent, because what this document is talking about is intelligence officers apparently officially working for the CIA who then adopt a false identity to travel and carry out covert operations in apparently the EU, allied countries. So these people tend to be very protected and they will be given good official proper false identity documents, there’s no doubt about it. So why they would be concerned about the security checks and things, unless they are employing people who really just can’t bluff their way through the most basic security, I don’t know.

So we have a situation - this document is dated 2011 - we have a situation where it appears that even though the torture program had been finished in 2009, even though apparently the black sites across Europe would have been closed by 2009, we have covert rather than declared CIA intelligence officers roaming free across Europe. Now the question, I think, here is actually why? What is the CIA trying to do secretly when it could be working openly with its allies across Europe?

RT: The list of tips is long - I was just having a look through them - but what are the tools the spy agencies like the CIA have up their sleeve?

AM: They have plenty of tricks, the same sort of tricks that most hacktivists would use now as well, which is using secure communication, making sure that when you travel through airports knowing you could have your electronic devices taken off you and forensically tested, that you make sure they are clean, that there is nothing on there that is suspicious. So that’s one basic thing, if you have official documentation to take you through that shouldn’t be an issue any way. But even down to the basic things, like I think it was mentioned in the document issues like pocket litter, or little bits that might have other indications that you are not who you say are. I think that’s very basic and, like, are the sort of little tricks that can often trip people up.


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