Do you ever feel like your workplace is being sabotaged? Well, it just might if any of your colleagues are adhering to a formerly classified Office of Strategic Services document, the “Simple Sabotage Field Manual.”
America’s enemies will always innovate and the intelligence apparatus has always sought to evolve to counter changing threats. The sabotage manual was one of those means – originally distributed to field officers, it was quickly declassified and made available to ordinary citizens in the countries of America’s enemies – individuals who disagreed with their home country’s wartime policies.
Information included in the 32-page document included tips on recruiting possible saboteurs. The guide outlined personal motivations and how to encourage destructiveness. The manual highlights the kind of field work intelligence agencies are known for. Despite the advent of modern technology and its influence, such tactics are still in practice.
Some of the tips in the simple sabotage manual are clearly dated, others apply today, particularly the section on “Organizations and Conferences.” As someone who has worked in the Pentagon, I cringed when I read it, as it would appear that foreign spies are infiltrating almost every DoD meeting as we speak. Here’s an excerpt:
(a) Organizations and Conferences
(1) Insist on doing everything through "channels." Never permit short-cuts to be taken in order to expedite decisions.
(2) Make "speeches," Talk as frequently as possible and at great length. Illustrate your points by long anecdotes and accounts of personal experiences. Never hesitate to make a few appropriate patriotic comments.
(3) When possible, refer all matters to committees, for "further study and consideration." Attempt to make the committees as large as possible – never less than five.
(4) Bring up irrelevant issues as frequently as possible.
(5) Haggle over precise wordings of communications, minutes, resolutions.
(6) Refer back to matters decided upon at the last meeting and attempt to re-open the question of the advisability of that decision.
(7) Advocate "caution." Be reasonable" and urge your fellow-conferees to be "reasonable" and avoid haste which might result in embarrassments or difficulties later on.
(8) Be worried about the propriety of any decision – raise the question of whether such action as is contemplated is within the jurisdiction of the group or whether it might conflict with the policy of some higher echelon.
Reminding you of any recent meetings in your organization? Perhaps the intelligence community became the victim of its own tradecraft somewhere along the way – at least in the way of regularly scheduled business meetings. Specific advice given to employees and supervisors was also familiar:
1. Managers and Supervisors: To lower morale and production, be pleasant to inefficient workers; give them undeserved promotions. Discriminate against efficient workers; complain unjustly about their work.
2. Employees: Work slowly. Think of ways to increase the number of movements needed to do your job: use a light hammer instead of a heavy one; try to make a small wrench do instead of a big one.
As we’ve asked before – are their spies among us? Well, the OSS manual for simple sabotage might lead you to be a little more paranoid about that colleague who’s always urging caution at meetings.
Lindy Kyzer is the editor of ClearanceJobs.com. She loves cybersecurity, social media, and the U.S. military. Have a conference, tip, or story idea to share? Email email@example.com.