53 Brentwood Blog

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Honey Not Vinegar

When I arrived in Baghdad, I was given a list of Iraqis who had supposedly worked on WMD programs and was told to interview as many of them as possible as quickly as possible. Not the best approach. "I can do the job quickly or well, but not both," I told my new boss. It's one thing to churn blindly through a list of contacts, but success takes time. To find out what Saddam Hussein really had, we needed to build personal relationships with the Iraqi officials in his program -- the bread and butter of espionage.
Surprising as it may sound, the CIA teaches that you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar: A source recruited by force will provide information only grudgingly, and he'll lie to you whenever he thinks he can, simply out of spite.

A.K., former CIA case officer.


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