Seminar in Tradecraft and HumInt/Moscow Rules

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Introduction[edit | edit source]

Whether fiction or fact, the Moscow Rules are often referenced and seldom printed. Said to have been developed by CIA for making sure their operatives were not sent like lambs to the slaughter to tough spots like Moscow, the Moscow Rules are an incredibly profound set of pragmatic guidelines for effective tradecraft. They are exceptionally difficult to find online in their entirety. Here, all 40 of the Moscow Rules are preserved. This page provides an opportunity to seminar students to elaborate upon and give examples of the rules in operation.

The Moscow Rules[edit | edit source]

Please use this Template for commentaries!

  1. Assume nothing. Commentary
  2. Technology will always let you down. Commentary
  3. Murphy is right. Commentary
  4. Never go against your gut. Commentary
  5. Always listen to your gut; it is your operational antennae. Commentary
  6. Everyone is potentially under opposition control. Commentary
  7. Don’t look back; you are never completely alone. Use your gut. Commentary
  8. Go with the flow; use the terrain. Commentary
  9. Take the natural break of traffic. Commentary
  10. Maintain a natural pace. Commentary
  11. Establish a distinctive and dynamic profile and pattern. Commentary
  12. Stay consistent over time. Commentary
  13. Vary your pattern and stay within your profile. Commentary
  14. Be non threatening: keep them relaxed; mesmerize! Commentary
  15. Lull them into a sense of complacency. Commentary
  16. Know the opposition and their terrain intimately. Commentary
  17. Build in opportunity but use it sparingly. Commentary
  18. Don’t harass the opposition. Commentary
  19. Make sure they can anticipate your destination. Commentary
  20. Pick the time and place for action. Commentary
  21. Any operation can be aborted; if it feels wrong, then it is wrong. Commentary
  22. Keep your options open. Commentary
  23. If your gut says to act, overwhelm their senses. Commentary
  24. Use misdirection, illusion, and deception. Commentary
  25. Hide small operative motions in larger non threatening motions. Commentary
  26. Float like a butterfly; sting like bee. Commentary
  27. When free, In Obscura, immediately change direction and leave the area. Commentary
  28. Break your trail and blend into the local scene. Commentary
  29. Execute a surveillance detection run designed to draw them out over time. Commentary
  30. Once is an accident; twice is a coincidence; three times is an enemy action. Commentary
  31. Avoid static lookouts; stay away from chokepoints where they can reacquire you. Commentary
  32. Select a meeting site so you can overlook the scene. Commentary
  33. Keep any asset separated from you by time and distance until it is time. Commentary
  34. If the asset has surveillance, then the operation has gone bad. Commentary
  35. Only approach the site when you are sure it is clean. Commentary
  36. After the meeting or act is done, “close the loop” at a logical cover destination. Commentary
  37. Be aware of surveillance’s time tolerance so they aren’t forced to raise an alert. Commentary
  38. If an alert is issued, they must pay a price and so must you. Commentary
  39. Let them believe they lost you; act innocent. Commentary
  40. There is no limit to a human being’s ability to rationalize the truth.Commentary

References[edit | edit source]