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er,TITLE:AUTHOR:VOLUME:Approved for Release: 2014/07/29 000821610Cover as a Shield for Operational Activity(b)(3)(c)38 ISSUE: Winter YEAR: 1994pproved for Release: 2014/07/29 000821610 Release? 2014/07/29 000821610STUDIES ININTELLIGENCEA collection of articles on the historical, operational, doctrinal, and theoretical aspects of intelligence.All statements of fact, opinion or analysis expressed in Studies in Intelligence are those ofthe authors. They do not necessarily reflect official positions or views of the CentralIntelligence Agency or any other US Government entity, past or present. Nothing in thecontents should be construed as asserting or implying US Government endorsement of anarticle's factual statements and interpretations.Approved for Release: 2014/07/29 000821610 Approved for Release: 2014/07/29 000821610The cloak-Secret?Cover as a Shield for Operational Activity(b)(3)(c)Of all the appurtenances used by practitioners of theworld's second-oldest profession, few are more impor-tant or less appreciated than the concept of cover, thebasic subterfuge that permits spies to work their craft.Cover has been used for thousands of years with vary-ing degrees of success. Used properly, it can live up toits reputation as the intelligence officer's sine qua non,but its improper use, including that which is known asthe old Winsockie syndrome,' can bring Cassandra'sfate to the clandestine operative and put at risk the mostpainstakingly crafted operation.Largely as a result of the popularity of spies and espio-nage as themes for countless films and books, most peo-ple understand the concept of cover  (b)(1)(b)(3)(c)(b)(3)(n)Cover in CIA(b)(1)(b)(3)(c)(b)(3)(n)59Because of the highly personal nature of cover, thereare many definitions for the word, but one of the bestdescriptions is found in the Rockefeller CommissionReport:Many CIA activities?like those of every foreignintelligence service?are clandestine in nature.Involved CIA personnel cannot travel, live,  or per-form their duties openly as CIA employees.(b)(1)(b)(3)(c) (b)(3)(n)Accordingly, virtually all CIA personnel servingabroad and many of the Agency's professional per-sonnel in the United States assume a "cover." Theiremployment by the CIA is disguised and, to personsother than their families and coworkers, they areheld out as employees of another governmentagency or of a commercial enterprise.Cover arrangements frequently have substantialdomestic aspects. These include the participation ofother US Government agencies, business firms, and  private citizens(b)(1)(b)(3)(c)(b)(3)(n)Approved for Release: 2014/07/29 000821610-Seeret? Approved for Release: 2014/07/29 000821610Cover(b)(3)(c)(b)(3)(n)(b)(1)Ancient HistoryThe Scriptures contain a number of references to spy-ing and covert activities. In one instance, Moses dis-patched 12 men, each the leader of an Israelite tribe, ona mission to the land of Canaan to spy on the enemy.Presumably, they used some form of cover because suredeath awaited any Israelite who was unlucky enough tobe captured by the Canaanites. In another Old Testamentpassage, Joshua sent two agents on a covert mission tosurvey the defenses of Jericho. Disguising themselves asvisitors, they found lodging with a local woman whowas recruited to provide "intelligence and operationalsupport." Because of her loyalty and help, the womanand her family were spared when Joshua's forcesdestroyed the city after his trumpets brought downJericho's walls.In Greek mythology, the Trojan War provided an excel-lent example of the use of cover. The war between theconfederated Greeks and the Trojans, abductors ofHelen, had raged for 10 years when the Greeks devel-oped a brilliant strategy. Pretending to abandon theirsiege of Troy, the Greeks left behind a huge woodenhorse. The Trojans, believing the horse to be a sacrificeto Athena, opened the city gates and paraded it throughthe streets of Troy. During the night, Greek soldiers hid-den inside the horse opened the gates to the Greek army,which then destroyed Troy. The Trojan horse could becalled the first "cover facility."Early American CoverThe Revolutionary War in America provided a fertilefield for espionage, and both sides used numerousagents. American and British agents, who did not "live"their cover, were captured and dealt with severely.Nathan Hale used the cover of schoolmaster to collectinformation on British defensive positions and order ofbattle in New York City. At age 21, he was caught, tried,and hanged by the British. A similar fate awaitedMajor John Andre,4 chief spymaster for Gen. Sir HenrySecretClinton. Although Andre was warned to remove his uni-form and assume civilian cover, he refused. Andre washanged by the Continental Army after being caught withdetailed information on West Point and its defenseswhich he had received from Gen. Benedict Arnold. TheBritish enjoyed considerable support in the colonies,and they had a large pool of well-placed sources, includ-ing Edward Bancroft, who provided intelligence to theCrown while under cover as the secretary-assistant toBenjamin Franklin.Gen. George Washington, America's first spymaster,5said, "The greatest benefits are to be derived from per-sons who live on the other side," a clear reference toproductive agents who managed their cover well. Toprove the point, Washington ran an asset named JohnHoneyman, ostensibly a Tory cattleman and butcherwho had excellent access to British order of battle andother information of intelligence value to the Continen-tal Army. Honeyman provided intelligence that lead tothe American victory at Trenton, which lifted the spiritsof the Continental Army and demoralized British forces.The Civil WarTen years before the Civil War, as the political, eco-nomic, and social rift grew wider between north andsouth, a farfiung loose confederation of clandestineoperatives applied cover and other tradecraft tools to aserious mission. Adopting names from the rapidly grow-ing railroad industry, these stalwarts called themselves"brakemen," "firemen," "conductors," and "station mas-ters." They were organizers, conveyers, and safehousekeepers of the Underground Railroad who offered theirfarms, homes, and businesses as sanctuaries and reststops for runaway slaves. They also donated their time,wealth, and sometimes their lives to their cause.Thousands of individuals supported the UndergroundRailroad, but the real clandestine work was done by afew using such natural cover as ministers, tradesmen,and businessmen. They included Rev. Jermain Loguen,Frederick Douglass, Allan Pinkerton (who ran an under-ground depot at his coopers shop near Chicago),6Josiah Henson, and Harriet Tubman. After the war60Approved for Release: 2014/07/29 000821610 CoverApproved for Release: 2014/07/29 000821610began, many members of the Underground Railroadused their clandestine skills to serve as spies and scoutsfor the Union.The capitals of the opposing forces in the Civil Warwere less than 100 miles apart, and the battlelines wereirregular and porous. This created the perfect milieu forspies on both sides. For example, if farmers fromPennsylvania were good at assuming regional accents,they could easily pass themselves off as farmers fromVirginia and vice versa. Clandestine agents on bothsides also posed as merchants, traveling salesmen, plan-tation owners, lawyers, socialites, actors, minstrels, andbankers.Two of the many notable Civil War agents were RoseGreenhow and Elizabeth Van Lew. The widow Green-how, under the cover of a Washington socialite, manipu-lated secrets from many military and civilian callerswhile in the service of the Confederacy. At one pointduring her stay in Washington, she was frequently vis-ited by unmarried President James Buchanan. Theextent of any information "Rebel Rose" might havereceived from the President, however, is not known.7The overall quality of her reporting was highlyregarded by her superiors in Richmond, and it contrib-uted to the Confederate victory at the first battle ofManassas.Elizabeth Van Lew, a wealthy spinster and abolitionist,ran a successful spy ring from her Richmond mansion."Miss Lizzie" or "Crazy Bet," as she was called, calcu-lated correctly that no one strongly pro-Union would beseen as a spy. By playing the role of an addlepated pro-Unionist, she roamed the city and nearby countryside,memorizing the size of military units and their deploy-ments, and contacted other Union sympathizers. Shesent her reports on the thin defensive ring surroundingRichmond directly to Gen. Ulysses S. Grant. In anotherimpressive feat, she penetrated the home of JeffersonDavis by placing one of her agents on the householdstaff of the president of the Confederacy. This operationproduced intelligence of such value that the Unionattack against Richmond was made considerably easier.After the war, a grateful US Government appointedElizabeth Van Lew Postmistress of Richmond.61etEven the great counterespionage agent, Allen Pinker-ton, the Scottish-born detective and the Union's firstspy catcher, used cover. Posing as a Charleston broker,he penetrated and disrupted the plans of a Maryland-based secessionist militia organization that planned toassassinate President-elect Lincoln. William AlvinLloyd, a publisher of railroad and steamboat guides tothe southern states, was another expert at the use ofcover. He used his occupation as a transportation expertas cover to spy for the Union, although he sent his intel-ligence reports directly to President Lincoln. Arrestedseveral times by Confederate authorities, Lloyd main-tained his cover and was always released. Belle Boyd,the "Cleopatra of the Confederacy," and Lafayette"Lafe" Baker were other noteworthy spies who usedvarious covers for clandestine collection efforts duringthe Civil War.Cover in Other ConflictsIn the era between the Civil War and the Spanish-Amer-ican War, Washington placed little significance on thesystematic gathering of intelligence. The US Army'sattitude toward intelligence was summarized in thisadage:The brainy join the Corps of Engineers, the bravego to the Infantry, the hard of hearing to the Artil-lery, and the stupid to Intelligence.8The destruction of the battleship Maine in Havana har-bor on 15 February 1898 shattered the nation's compla-cency. Edward Breck, a former university student inHeidleberg who spoke excellent German, gathered intel-ligence on Spanish military and political targets whileunder cover as a German physician in Spain. Breck wasso effective in his cover role that he was quicklyabsorbed into Spanish social and political circles. Even-tually, he met and elicited information from the Spanishgrand admiral on the whereabouts and the state of readi-ness of the Spanish fleet. Later, the US Navy usedBreck's intelligence to find and destroy the SpanishNavy, an action that virtually ended the Spanish-American War.9?Proved for Release: 2014/07/29 000821610Scorct   Approved for Release: 2014/07/29 000821610--Steret coverThere were spies galore who operated under a multi-tude of covers during World War I, but no review of thegenre is complete without mentioning Margareta Ger-truda Z,elle, also known as Mata Hari. As an interna-tional dancer, she traveled to Paris, Berlin, London,Rome, and Madrid. She used her boudoir to elicit secretinformation from government officials in each of thosecapitals and sold it to the highest bidder. Some histori-ans claim that Mata Hari was executed for revealing thefoibles of a number of high-level French officials, whowere pilloried in the press.There are times when cover can be too successful.After World War H, MI6 established a tailor's supplyshop in Vienna that ostensibly sold Harris tweed. Inreality, the British planned to tunnel from the basementof the premises to an underground conduit and tap thetelephone lines between Soviet Army Headquarters andMoscow. Unfortunately, Harris tweed became quite afashion in Vienna and the "shopkeepers" were kept sobusy selling bolts of tweed that they spent more timeselling than tunneling. Overwhelmed with orders andunable to focus on the tunnel audio operation, the highlysuccessful "shopkeepers" finally closed their doors. TheBritish Chancellor of the Exchequer received a tidysum from this operation, but it was to be another fiveyears before a consortium of intelligence agenciesembarked on another tunnel operation in Berlin.10(b)(1)(b)(3)(c)(b)(3)(n)(b)(1)(b)(3)(c)(b)(3)(n)SecretNOTESI. "The Old Winsockie Syndrome." By W. B.Lavender. Studies In Intelligence; winter 1990.(b)(1)(b)(3)(c)(b)(3)(n)4. "Major John Andre: A Gallant in Spy's Clothing",Studies in Intelligence; winter 1992.62pproved for Release: 2014/07/29 000821610 CoverApproved for Release: 2014/07/29 0008216105. Spying for America: The Hidden History of USIntelligence. By Nathan Miller. Paragon House, 1989.6. The Underground Railroad. By Sharon Cosner.Franklin Watts Publishing; New York; 1991.7. Spies for the Blue and Gray. By Harnett T. Kane.Ace Books; New York; 1954.8. Spying for America, p. 218.9. Ibid., p. 171.10. Ibid., p. 326.This artick SECRET.Approved for Release: 2014/07/29 000821610Secret