The Official CIA Manual of Trickery and Deception

The Official CIA Manual of Trickery and Deception

by H. Keith Melton, Robert Wallace

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Overview

Once a top-secret training manual for CIA field agents in the early Cold War Era of the 1950s, The Official CIA Manual of Trickery and Deception is now available to the general public. An amazing historical artifact, this eye-opening handbook offered step-by-step instructions to covert intelligence operatives in all manner of sleight of hand and trickery designed to thwart the Communist enemy. Part of the Company’s infamous MK-ULTRA—a secret mind-control and chemical interrogation research program—this legendary document, the brainchild of John Mulholland, then America’s most famous magician, was believed lost forever. But thanks to former CIA gadgeteer Bob Wallace and renowned spycraft historian H. Keith Melton, The Official CIA Manual of Trickery and Deception is now available to everyone, spy and civilian alike.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780061943331
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 11/03/2009
Sold by: HARPERCOLLINS
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 272
Sales rank: 30,275
File size: 919 KB

About the Author

H. Keith Melton, a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, is an intelligence historian and a specialist in clandestine technology and espionage "tradecraft." He is the author of several books, including CIA Special Weapons and Equipment, Clandestine Warfare, and The Ultimate Spy Book.


Robert Wallace retired from the CIA in 2003 with thirty-two years of service as an operations officer and senior executive, including an assignment as director of the Office of Technical Services. Wallace is coauthor, with H. Keith Melton, of Spycraft: The Secret History of the CIA's Spytechs from Communism to Al-Qaeda.

What People are Saying About This

Peter Earnest

“An enchanting account of espionage and wizardry at their blackest.”

Tony and Jonna Mendez

“Melton and Wallace have achieved the ultimate mastery of the shadow world where CIA’s smoke and mirrors meet Hollywood’s art of magic, deception and illusion. Like any good stage show, the never-before-disclosed techniques are spellbinding. The history of espionage is expanded by this factual, fascinating account.”

Danny Biederman

“Espionage and magic! A special thrill to read the once-classified CIA magician’s manual.”

Jeff McBride

“Entrancing! I was amazed to see how the magician’s trade can be twisted to aid in the dark arts of espionage.”

Lance Burton

“A legendary ‘lost’ piece of magic history…It’s James Bond meets Harry Houdini!”

Customer Reviews

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Official CIA Manual of Trickery and Deception 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 19 reviews.
MrJack on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Question: Are the tricks and deceptions described by John Mulholland in his CIA manual of magic for spies more James Bondesque or Maxwell Smartish? Answer: Definitely the latter. Many of the hocus-pocus methods described in this CIA manual require sleight-of-hand. I say "hocus-pocus" lovingly, speaking from my vantage as an amateur magician who enjoys reading books about trickery and deception, always on the lookout for tricks that I can add to a future act.In this book you will find descriptions of skills that require practice and lots of it. It will take more than a careful reading of this manual to teach a novice, spy or not, how to master deceptive moves that will fool an audience. Magic is a performing art, not a science. For example, Mulholland devotes 22 pages to the handling of tablets -- poison pills ranging in size from one-sixteenth of an inch in diameter to a pill as large as three-sixteenths of an inch in diameter, bigger pills requiring different handling described elsewhere in the manual. Here the CIA agent-in-training will find detailed instructions for concealing, stealing, palming, and surreptitiously dropping a poison pill into an enemy's drink under her nose. Method One, where the tablet is concealed in a matchbook, works with smokers. Method Two, where the tablet is concealed by a piece of paper, works with smokers and non-smokers alike. Both methods require patter, a smooth and plausible line of gab designed to misdirect the victim's attention to something other than your real intentions.Without the necessary commitment to oft-repeated dry runs, this trick along with many other tricks in this manual are arrant setups for flubs, goofs, and pratfalls in the manner of Maxwell Smart. I will go out on a limb and say that very few people, CIA agents or not, would possess the digital dexterity and showmanship to master the performance skills required by the magic described in this book in the manner of James Bond.One of the maxims of magic is practice, practice, practice. Master magicians, whether professional or amateur, will spend hundreds of hours practicing to become proficient at a sleight that will take only seconds to perform. Neglect practice and these performance skills will rapidly decline. I cannot imagine a CIA agent, for whom magic is not his first love, practicing these skills day after day and week after week (as a magician would) to be ready for a performance that may never materialize. I repeat -- preparation, patter, and performance are not quickly learned nor long maintained without rehearsal, and lots of it.Bottom Line: I really like this book. John Mulholland is my all-time favorite writer of magic books. I recommend this book without reservation for magicians, including aspiring magicians, but not for wishful spies.
valenpendragon More than 1 year ago
This is a fairly good book for people interested in the methods magicians tried to teach to spies back in the 1960s. Those methods and more are now the purview of Apollo Robbins, but he has yet to write a declassified book. The best part of this book is that the techniques will work, even on attentive spies or other magicians. The downside is that has moments of being slightly dry, but so does another book, Whiz Mobs from the 1970s, a book about the culture of pickpockets. The best takeaway from these books are changes in the way people think about the process of deception and spy craft in general. It is a good companion to the Sleight of Mind, for those doing research into techniques, like these.
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Report the activities of DarkClan here. <br> Location: "Othello" result one or two.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great expose of the magicians thought process. The reader should not expect much from declassifed docs, however complete. Does stay true to the magicians code...and the spy ethos by obfuscation and misdirection.