1. Exquisite Tweets from @RidT

    PreoccupationsCollected by Preoccupations

    MISSION: DECEPTION—amazing, eerily topical 1992 book on Stasi active measures in the West, by two former operators, one from "Department X"

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    Thomas Rid

    Stasi's highly secretive "Department X" in charge of active measures [aktive Maßnahmen] was first presented internally in Belzig in 1986

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    Thomas Rid

    Stasi's Wagenbreth: "A powerful adversary can be defeated only by carefully and methodically exploiting every crack within its own society"

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    Thomas Rid

    East Germany's Stasi created 'active measures' Department X after receiving KGB instructions to do so during a visit to Moscow in ~1961

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    Stasi, 1986: "For the man on the street it is getting harder to assess [news stories]. This is where we come in as an intelligence agency."

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    Thomas Rid

    "The press, radio, and TV are the ideal battleground for a Stasi operator focused on active measures."

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    Thomas Rid

    "What would active measures be without the journalist?" asks Stasi's head of active measures, reflecting on his trade after 25 years in 1986

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    Thomas Rid

    Stunning section—eg: "Among many journalists prejudices against their own intelligence agencies were predominant—thus facilitating our work"

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    Stasi memoirs: "Active measures are a Soviet invention that didn’t just imply a 'war of words,' but also a specific intelligence structure"

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    "Often the truth served the lie."

    Stasi active measures operator, 1992

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    Stasi: "The disinformation we engaged in far surpassed everything that [Western] intelligence agencies did—in character, extent & intensity"

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    Stasi operator: "Our 'battle on the invisible front'—that is inside the West—was unencumbered by moral constraints vis-a-vis the 'enemy.'"

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    Thomas Rid

    Stasi: "Conspiracy was widely practiced—most widely concerning the existence and responsibilities of the Active Measures Department [X]"

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    Thomas Rid

    —‘Embarrassment’
    —‘corrosion’ [Zersetzung]
    —‘incitement’
    —‘disruption’
    —‘influence’
    —‘discrediting’

    "even combined into one active measure"

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    Thomas Rid

    Stasi covert operator: "Active measures directed against [Western] intelligence agencies in Bonn were code-named JUNGLE"

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    Stasi memoirs: "[KGB] black propaganda used camouflage and deception in order to penetrate deep into the political structures of the West."

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    Thomas Rid

    Stasi, 1980s: "Black and white propaganda were not divided by some firewall. They were more like twins: information and disinformation"

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    Thomas Rid

    Perhaps the most remarkable historical novelty when comparing 1980s Active Measures to the 2010s: this recurring tenet is no longer valid —

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    Thomas Rid

    A few details on how Russia's KGB and East Germany's Stasi cooperated on active measures and covert influence operations

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    Thomas Rid

    "In the 80s we increased our support for the West German peace movement—at the same time we fought the pacifists in our own country"

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    Thomas Rid

    Stasi HVA, 1989: "Western intelligence agencies simply didn’t have such a fine-grained disinformation apparatus in Europe."

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    "We [Stasi] eventually learned that psychological warfare did not favor peace"

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    Thomas Rid

    One of the most amazing details from an amazing book: Stasi active measures & disinformation targeted famous Nazi-hunter Simon Wiesenthal

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    Thomas Rid

    Also stunning: one Stasi active measure led to the fall of my own state governor (when I was a toddler)

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    Thomas Rid

    Always amazing what Stasi covert Active Measure operators said about Western journalists—not dissimilar assessments probably going on today

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    Thomas Rid

    Stasi covert active measures operator on attacking adversarial intelligence agencies through anonymous leaks launched into the public domain

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    Thomas Rid

    Stasi on "journalists and members of parliament" as influence agents in support of anti-Western Active Measures

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    Thomas Rid

    So incredibly brazen: Stasi Depts IX & X published a quarterly internal BND newsletter, merging accurate intelligence with forged documents

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    East Germany's Stasi claimed Red Army Faction terrorist attacks in West Germany by forging letters published in "konkret" "more than once"

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    "Even in success conspiracy required anonymity."

    Stasi active measures operators on successfully interfering in West German elections.

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    Thomas Rid

    Fascinating: Anonymity meant Stasi Dept X internally overstated its successes in election interference "with well-rehearsed regularity"

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    Thomas Rid

    Correction to this thread's head post: both authors, Günter Bohnsack and Herbert Brehmer, worked in Stasi HVA Department X "Active Measures"

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    Thomas Rid