Compartmentalization means that cutouts usually know only the source and destination of the information to be transmitted, not the identities of any other persons involved in the espionage process (need to know basis). Thus, a captured cutout cannot be used to identify members of an espionage cell.
|Friedrich Naumann Foundation|
|1968 Bissell Meeting||“If the Agency is to be effective, it will have to make use of private institutions on an expanding scale, though those relations which have "blown" cannot be resurrected. We need to operate under deeper cover, with increased attention to the use of "cut-outs." CIA's interface with the rest of the world needs to be better protected. If various groups hadn't been aware of the source of their funding, the damage subsequent to disclosure might have been far less than occurred.”|
|Victor Marchetti||“To the Clandestine Services the universities represented fertile territory for recruiting espionage agents. Most large American colleges enrolled substantial numbers of foreign students, and many of these, especially those from the Third World, were (and are) destined to hold high positions in their home countries in a relatively few years. They were much easier to recruit at American schools — when they might have a need for money, where they could be easily compromised, and where foreign security services could not interfere — than they would be when they returned home. To spot and evaluate these students, the Clandestine Services maintained a contractual relationship with key professors on numerous campuses. When a professor had picked out a likely candidate, he notified his contact at the CIA and, on occasion, participated in the actual recruitment attempt. Some professors performed these services without being on a formal retainer. Others actively participated in agency covert operations by serving as "cut-outs," or intermediaries, and even by carrying out secret missions during foreign journeys.”||Victor Marchetti||1974|
|Victor Marchetti||“Helms asked his staff to find out just how many university personnel were under secret contract to the CIA. After a few days of investigation, senior CIA officers reported back that they could not find the answer. Helms immediately ordered a full study of the situation, and after more than a month of searching records all over the agency, a report was handed in to Helms listing hundreds of professors and administrators on over a hundred campuses. But the staff officers who compiled the report knew that their work was incomplete . Within weeks, another campus connection was exposed in the press. The contact was not on the list that had been compiled for the Director.”||Victor Marchetti||1974|
|Plausible deniability||“Everyone is trying to create a disjuncture between the initial order and the operation”||Scott Noble||7 July 2014|
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