A brief expose from the The Washington Post informs us that the CIA creates fake internal documents for some agents – and then true data for others. They call this part of their operations an “eyewash.” They say it’s vital. Some eyes are deemed cleaner than others, I suppose.
Seems appropriate that The Washington Post is the newspaper to report what’s been known for years. Although the periodical is now owned by Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, the paper’s relationship with the CIA during the reign of owner Katharine Graham and longtime editor Ben Bradlee, was documented for public purview back in a 1977 article by whistleblower Carl Bernstein.
The practice of “eyewashing” is basically to lie to one group of agents and tell the truth to another, according to the report:
“The classic use of an eyewash is if you have a garden-variety source and all of a sudden he gains access to truly sensitive information,” the former official said. “What you might do is have a false communication saying the guy got hit by a bus and died. The large number of people aware of this source suddenly think he is dead. But the continuing reporting on that source and from that source gets put into a very closed compartment that few would know about.”
Authors Greg Miller and Adam Goldman pointed out that this type of behavior is illegal:
“Federal law makes it a criminal offense when a government employee ‘conceals, covers up, falsifies or makes a false entry’ in an official record. Legal experts said they knew of no special exemption for the CIA, nor any attempt to prosecute agency officials for alleged violations.”
Of course there’s no prosecution for these folks. When liars run things, it’s the whistleblowers who are put away. I think the CIA needs to see the mote in its own eye, don’t you?