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Report: CIA Sends Fake Memos to Own Agents

'WaPo' exposes agency 'eyewashing'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 1, 2016 3:51 AM CST
Report: CIA Sends Fake Memos to Own Agents
Cleaning up at CIA headquarters.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

CIA agents shouldn't believe everything they hear from the CIA, according to the Washington Post, which says current and former officials have spilled the beans on "eyewashing." The Post's sources say that from time to time, higher-ups at the agency circulate memos with fake information as a way to protect secrets. "The classic use of an eyewash is if you have a garden-variety source and all of a sudden he gains access to truly sensitive information," one official explains. "What you might do is have a false communication saying the guy got hit by a bus and died. The large number of people aware of this source suddenly think he is dead," leaving the source's information in "a very closed compartment that few would know about."

The Post's sources note that eyewash memos are uncommon and there are some obvious drawbacks, including the fact that there doesn't seem to be a way of telling them apart from memos with real information. Officials tell the Post that several cases of eyewashing have been uncovered by the Senate Intelligence Committee investigating post-9/11 abuses. In one case that left conflicting memos on the record, CIA operatives were told that a militant in Pakistan had been killed in tribal violence. He had actually been killed in a drone strike, but at the time the CIA was still trying to hide the fact that it had killer drones at its command. (The CIA has opened up its "X-Files" to the public.)

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