MISSION: DECEPTION—amazing, eerily topical 1992 book on Stasi active measures in the West, by two former operators, one from "Department X"
Stasi's highly secretive "Department X" in charge of active measures [aktive Maßnahmen] was first presented internally in Belzig in 1986
Stasi's Wagenbreth: "A powerful adversary can be defeated only by carefully and methodically exploiting every crack within its own society"
East Germany's Stasi created 'active measures' Department X after receiving KGB instructions to do so during a visit to Moscow in ~1961
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."
"The press, radio, and TV are the ideal battleground for a Stasi operator focused on active measures."
"What would active measures be without the journalist?" asks Stasi's head of active measures, reflecting on his trade after 25 years in 1986
Stunning section—eg: "Among many journalists prejudices against their own intelligence agencies were predominant—thus facilitating our work"
Stasi memoirs: "Active measures are a Soviet invention that didn’t just imply a 'war of words,' but also a specific intelligence structure"
Stasi: "The disinformation we engaged in far surpassed everything that [Western] intelligence agencies did—in character, extent & intensity"
Stasi operator: "Our 'battle on the invisible front'—that is inside the West—was unencumbered by moral constraints vis-a-vis the 'enemy.'"
Stasi: "Conspiracy was widely practiced—most widely concerning the existence and responsibilities of the Active Measures Department [X]"
"even combined into one active measure"
Stasi covert operator: "Active measures directed against [Western] intelligence agencies in Bonn were code-named JUNGLE"
Stasi memoirs: "[KGB] black propaganda used camouflage and deception in order to penetrate deep into the political structures of the West."
Stasi, 1980s: "Black and white propaganda were not divided by some firewall. They were more like twins: information and disinformation"
Perhaps the most remarkable historical novelty when comparing 1980s Active Measures to the 2010s: this recurring tenet is no longer valid —
A few details on how Russia's KGB and East Germany's Stasi cooperated on active measures and covert influence operations
"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"
Stasi HVA, 1989: "Western intelligence agencies simply didn’t have such a fine-grained disinformation apparatus in Europe."
One of the most amazing details from an amazing book: Stasi active measures & disinformation targeted famous Nazi-hunter Simon Wiesenthal
Also stunning: one Stasi active measure led to the fall of my own state governor (when I was a toddler)
Always amazing what Stasi covert Active Measure operators said about Western journalists—not dissimilar assessments probably going on today
Stasi covert active measures operator on attacking adversarial intelligence agencies through anonymous leaks launched into the public domain
Stasi on "journalists and members of parliament" as influence agents in support of anti-Western Active Measures
So incredibly brazen: Stasi Depts IX & X published a quarterly internal BND newsletter, merging accurate intelligence with forged documents
East Germany's Stasi claimed Red Army Faction terrorist attacks in West Germany by forging letters published in "konkret" "more than once"
"Even in success conspiracy required anonymity."
Stasi active measures operators on successfully interfering in West German elections.
Fascinating: Anonymity meant Stasi Dept X internally overstated its successes in election interference "with well-rehearsed regularity"