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The Farm

Camp Peary

Camp Peary is an approximately 9,000 acre military reservation in York County near Williamsburg, Virginia. Officially referred to as an Armed Forces Experimental Training Activity (AFETA) under the auspices of the Department of Defense, Camp Peary is widely believed to host the covert CIA training facility known as "The Farm". Camp Peary has a sister facility, "The Point", located in Hertford, North Carolina.

Also for more great information and pictures of the Farm.

Camp Peary later became well known as "The Farm", a training facility for the Central Intelligence Agency, although this has never been formally acknowledged by the U.S. government. The portion of the original World War II Seabee base which is north of Interstate 64 has remained closed to the public since 1951. However, the roads and many structures of Magruder and Bigler's Mill are apparently still there and many are occupied. An airport with a 5,000-foot (1,500 m) runway was added to the facility near the site of Bigler's Mill.

Former CIA officer Bill Wagner attended a three week long interrogation course at The Farm in 1970. He claims that it was the agency's "premier course", and that volunteers played the role of interrogation subjects in order to be guaranteed seats in future classes. Interrogators-in-training practiced techniques such as sleep deprivation, deliberately tainted food, and mock executions. According to Wagner, the course was dropped from the CIA training curriculum after the Watergate scandal, due to increased attention being paid to CIA practices.

In 1972, the Virginia Gazette newspaper of Williamsburg reported that CIA officers were trained as assassins on base. The CIA replied that it was nonsense. "None of its people," the agency said, "had ever been trained or used as assassins."

The Recruit (Full Movie)

The Recruit (2003) has both good and bad information with regards to actual CIA training. Perhaps if I feel ambitious enough I will watch it again and mark down all the times when I cringed and shook my head. But it should be pretty obvious to anyone who watches it which parts are "hollywoodized", and which parts are more realistic.


You will never, ever be able to look at fellow human beings the same way after studying this information. If you don't want to have your world-view complete shocked and changed forever, leave this page now and do not continue reading further!

The reason you will never look at people the same way ever again after learning these dark arts, is that you will begin to more deeply analyze everyone you know and meet. You will find yourself evaluating their weaknesses, strengths, and every possible way imaginable to manipulate that person. From this moment forward every single person you meet is a potential mark. The Dark Arts are a social science, they are about understanding personality traits and social group dynamics and how to manipulate these variables to a given advantage.

The Dark Arts of Espionage:

Typical training for an intelligence agent includes but is not limited to: covert surveillance, slight of hand, con-artistry, manipulation tactics, personality-type identification, lying, cheating, stealing, trickery, camouflage, evasion, escape, improvised weaponry, improvised self defense, analytical combat, and espionage. Part of intelligence training is instruction in something called the "Dark Arts". The Dark Arts are the espionage, trickery, con artistry type stuff.

The Dark Arts are a social science that has been developed through the detailed study of proven experiments. Quite basically, a study of what works, has worked in the past, and is likely to work on a given mark. The CIA undertook a detailed study of Con Artists and their scams in order to derive these methods. Top 10 Con-Men of Recent History

Not everyone has what it takes to effectively pull this off. It takes confidence and a good amount of acting. It takes an artist who is quick, versatile, and creative. But if studied, practised, and perfected these methods can and do work.

Observe - Pick

This step requires a detailed knowledge of psychology and body language. Body language can tell you exactly what a person is thinking, and what their intentions or needs are. As humans we all have basic human needs, but as personalities or characters we have desires and real-life roles to play. It is therefor essential to pinpoint personality and character traits when evaluating a person or scanning a crowd. The easiest way to do this in a crowd setting is of course through observation of body language.

Con-Artists and Agents look specifically for these personality types, keeping in mind that people are complex and dynamic beings and these generalized personality types do not always apply but they are still useful for most practical purposes.

The essential game being played is a match-making game. Find out who that person is, and make yourself their match. The match can be complimentary or an offset, it varies with the personality type. Everyone has their weakness. Your job is to find it and figure out a way to exploit it.

Here are a few basic example, some people may have a combination of these personality traits, other may have none:

Desire to please others - These people are looking for someone to please, and are the easiest to manipulate if you know how to approach them correctly. First it requires a Type A personality, a leader. This person is looking for charisma and confidence. Your opinion matters to them, and the more important you appear, the more important your opinion will be to them. This personality type is passive and would prefer not to make decisions. They are often attracted to others who can make the decisions for them, they do not like giving their opinions of things for fear of being wrong and drawing scorn.

Loneliness - Some people are just lonely and looking for a friend. Some people just want someone they can talk to who they feel supports them. It can be lonliness for either friendship or love or both. Gender and sexual orientation are obvious factors here for the latter case. These people are all looking for someone they can really connect with, someone who understands them and listens to them. Be that friend and you have turned that mark into a useful tool.

Greed - The gambler, the shark, money bags. Money talks and bullshit walks. While all people are in at least some way concerned with money, there are certain people who are obsessed with it, and are attracted to those who posses it. Or in this case, act like they are wealthy. It is important to craft a convincing cover story for the source of your fake wealth, which is believable even if your appearance may be modest. Gain their trust and acceptance by first making them think you are rich, then letting them in on the secret to getting rich. "Work for rich people", this statement is entirely true and will immediately lead them to the notion of employment. If you do it casually and carefully, not flaunting or showing off (unless the mark requires that strategy), then you will be well set up to manipulate this person through his desire for money. There is a wide variety of scams for doing this.

Goodness - The "Do-Gooder". Can be persuaded to do acts in the name of good or justice. Simply fabricate a tale of some horrible evil enemy, and this personality type will willing help you seek "justice". This person can then be manipulated into providing you with information or intelligence through the belief that they are doing good or charitable deeds. Helping to catch a criminal for example.

Admiration - This personality type is polar compliment of the desire to please type and seeks the admiration or adoration of others. Often associated with this personality type is the desire to always be right, or to be viewed as intelligent or in some way superior - This personality type is looking to start an argument and has the full intention of winning that argument. The best way to win this type of person over is to start an argument with them, make it exciting and interesting, and allow them to finally convince you of their point of view. Then as their almighty truth sets in, begin to show them the admiration they so crave. If performed correctly this method will instantly win over this personality type. There are cases where this method will not work and other must be tried, as long is the end result is that person feeling as if they have won you over. If you come out in favor of their position from the outset, you risk triggering their skepticism of your intentions. But if you oppose them at first and allow them to win you over to their opinions, it can sometimes mislead them as to your true intentions. In certain cases, it may work to skip the argument and go straight for the admiration and support. Use your best judgement.

Your objective at this primary observation stage is to find the easiest looking target you can, observe them, and determine the best plan of action for the approach and eventual manipulation. Always think ahead when planning out a lie. Don't get caught. It's generally best to be as honest as possible. Lies of omission are easier to hide that outright lies, especially if you seek a continued relationship.

Mimic - Attract

This stage comes after you have selected a mark and are ready to begin feeling that person out in more depth and detail. The first step is mimickery, from a distance this will always succeed in drawing that person's attention to you. Simply copy their body language, and even their actions. For example if at a bar, drink when they drink, smoke when they smoke (even if you don't smoke it can be useful to pretend), things like this. Don't make it obvious that you are doing this either, act casual and pretend not to notice that person. It works well to position yourself where you can watch your mark through a reflection off glass or a mirror, so as to not be caught directly looking at the person while mimicking their actions.

If performed successfully you will attract the attention of your mark and form a subconscious connection to that individual. A way of gaining acceptance and appearing to be a member of their milieu, the better to gain their confidence. If it sounds funny, try it. It works! If the mark doesn't approach you first, it will be your job to make your move. Try to position yourself ahead of time, so that the Mark is between you and the bathroom so you will have to walk past on your way to the restroom. It may start with a casual friendly seemingly disinterested glance in their direction. If the mark is a smoker, try to coordinate a cigarette break. Your objective at this stage of the operation is to show curiousity but not a direct or dedicated interest. Just work on finding a way to start up a conversation and keep it going.

Read - Listen

This stage of the game requires a lot of general knowledge such as that which would make you good at trivia. The idea is to figure out what that person likes to talk about, and keep them talking about it by asking them related questions and whatnot. Most, but not all people prefer to talk than listen, getting them to talk can sometimes be trickier than keeping them talking. If you show a genuine curiousity and a deep interest as well as understanding of what they are talking about, they will likely keep talking. This helps to put the person at ease and make them feel more comfortable. It's important to pay attention to what they like to talk about and not draw the conversation too far off topic. Ask questions, accept answers, don't argue (unless this is the type of person that enjoys an argument), and show a genuine interest or intrigue in what the person is saying without being fake.

Being real with people is the most effective way of gaining their trust. If they spot a fake, you've lost all hope and it's time to move along to another mark. A fake interest is something like "oh neat" or "that sounds cool" (it's ok to say these types of things but don't repeat them over and over). It's always important to interject with relatability "so that's kind of like..." or "that reminds me of..." "is that related to..." things like this. Making associations, connecting ideas. This keeps the conversation going. Never ever say "that's weird" "I've never heard of that before" or anything that has to potential to shut down the flow of a conversation and lead to awkwardness or silence.

Methods of Coercion and persuasion

While historically the best spies and moles offer themselves up voluntarily, methods have been used to penetrate targets either through insertion of a foreign agent, or "working" of an existing agent.

The Honey Trap: Historically, female agents have been used to tease out information through sex. Anna Chapman is a good example.

The primary motivations of people who commit espionage are: Money, Fame, Sex, Power, and Blackmail. Blackmail should only rarely be used as a last result, and great care must be taken that it does not backfire. It's usually best to analyze a potential target in terms of their susceptibilities, it could also be spite, dissatisfaction, or some other form of grievance that prompts a source to begin sharing information.

Sources of Intelligence

The first step for any spy is to identify all potential sources of intelligence or other information. It may be a list of people with security clearances and access to classified information, it may be a list of employees of a certain company, or a cabinet member, ambassador, or congressman.

The second step is to gather intelligence on these potential sources, or ways to penetrate existing organizations, or individuals.

Based on the intelligence gathered and once the personal details of these sources are put into the proper situational context, we can begin the figuring out which spy tactic, technique, or tools will work best for the job at hand.

Famous Moles

FBI Counter-Intelligence Agent Robert Hanssen leaked many Government Documents to Russian SVR and KGB agents, due to resentment for the personalities and politics within the FBI. He also said that he was motivated by the power to secretly shape world events, and that money was also a major motivation. Retired High Ranking officials in the KGB say that he was the best source of intelligence throughout the Cold War.

Another prolific Cold War spy, was Aldrich Ames, of the CIA. Ames was motivated by money, and possibly thrills as well.

Other notable spies, who's histories and cases are worth studying are Jonathan Pollard, John Anthony Walker, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, George Trofimoff, William Kampiles, David Henry Barnett, Harold James Nicholson, Earl Edwin Pitts, etc.

Methods of Acquisition, Copy, & Transport

Although human ingenuity can come up with an infinite array of ingenious ways to hide micro-recording devices, it's still worth mentioning some of the methods which have been historically used. Digital microstorage and cyber-intelligence has opened up even more possibilities for techniques that could be used to penetrate information networks, data servers, code cracking and cyphering, etc.

Recording and Bugging Devices

Hidden Cameras and microphones have been used historically as spying devices. Cell phones have been reportedly used for deomestic surveillance.

Nowadays spy pens complete with audio and a video camera the size of a pin head, can be purchased online or at retail stores like Brookstone. These can provide an effective way to make covert recordings. However the professional spy devices are more specialized. Some use RF (Remote Frequency) to transmit signals to a separate device which is located nearby but in a location which is easier to access for storage and removal of recorded information.

Telephone wire tapping, and signal intercepts are also proven effective ways of eavesdropping on intelligence. Another method is the use of laser mics, which can be pointed at a window and read the vibrations on the glass based on the sound waves inside the room.

Cameras, and capture methods

The Minox Camera was a staple of spycraft, unil digital cameras came along that were smaller and could store much more information.

The transport of film, documents, or us

Dead Drops

A dead drop or dead letter box is a method of espionage tradecraft used to pass items between two individuals using a secret location and thus does not require them to meet directly. Using a dead drop permits a case officer and agent to exchange objects and information while maintaining operational security. The method stands in contrast to the live drop, so called because two persons meet to exchange items or information.

One method used by KGB Agents was the use of a metal box with magnets in the lid which could be stuck to the underside of any metal surface, for example a train bridge. Secure Post Office Boxes have also been used, as well as Airport lockers, and a variety of other methods which work to both conceal and avoid detection.

Another method is the dead drop spike, small enough to be put inside of your sock and stuck into the ground when you bend down to tie your shoe.

CD's: Concealment Devices

Hidden Pockets, Stashes, Dead Drops, etc. are all various examples of concealment devices. This technique can often benefit from personal ingenuity and a shrewd observer who views every object as a possible location to hide something.

Finding the best possible hiding place, often depends upon what you are hiding, and what type of access you need to have to such a location.

Microdots were a method used in the heyday of spying to reduce multiple documents to a tiny piece of film for easier storage and transport.

Other methods involve using magnets or a magnet on a string to open hidden doors or access hidden drops. For security reasons these methods need to be changed periodically, and often custom tailored to fit a given scenario.

Live Drops and Exchanges

In some cases it may be more ideal to do a live drop, or exchange particularly sensitive information directly with another contact. In such cases various methods are commenly used such as the switch of an identical bag or suitcase between the two parties. In other cases, simple the exchange of a bag, or the hand-off of a package, like a flash drive for example.

Meeting locations can vary based on geographical factors. Often restaraunts and shops work well, or in some cases public, yet secluded places such as parks or railway stations.

Codes and Signals

The Best codes and signals are predefined sets of ordinary language which can and likely will be interpreted as meaning something else by any 3rd party listener. In the Felix Bloch case, the code word was "Contageous" to signal from one agent to another that their cover had been blown.

Another interesting method of signaling is the use of shortwave radio. Communication can be established through scheduled transmissions on obscure frequencies, so for example a spy could know to tune in every Friday night at 12:34pm to 612khz, for the weekly message.

Other signals include the use of signaling tape, a piece of chewing gum, or other indiscrete methods of communication, established ahead of time between 2 communicating spies.

Sometimes entire books of code words can be written and established between working agents, but these pose a serious security threat if ever discovered. So often times it's best to simply establish a few key words in advance.


CIA Textbook on Psychological Operations in Guerilla Warfare: Text (PDF)

CIA Explosives for Sabotage Manuel: Scribd or PDF

BBC - Modern Spies:

BBC - Modern Spies:

Please do your own research and read up on a lot of the cases and names mentioned here to learn more.