With the way the world is moving, here’s a little bit of Cold War history. Moscow Rules are developed from CIA agents working in the former Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact and have been cited many times in different movies and books. They are also enshrined at the National Intelligence Museum in Washington, D.C. As a young soldier in Germany, I remember the S-2 pulling me aside one afternoon and teaching me about them. It was also covered at my schoolhouse during AIT.
1. Assume nothing.
2. Murphy is always right.
3. Never go against your gut; it is your operational antenna.
4. Don’t look back; you are never completely alone.
5. Everyone is potentially under opposition control.
6. Go with the flow, blend in.
7. Vary your pattern and stay within your cover.
8. Any operation can be aborted. If it feels wrong, it is wrong.
9. Maintain a natural pace.
10. Lull them into a sense of complacency.
11. Build in opportunity but use it sparingly.
12. Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee. (Borrowed from Muhammad Ali, aka Cassius Clay.)
13. Don’t harass the opposition.
14. There is no limit to a human being’s ability to rationalize the truth.
15. Technology will always let you down.
16. Pick the time and place for action.
17. Keep your options open.
18. Once is an accident. Twice is coincidence. Three times is an enemy action. (Taken from Ian Fleming’s novel Goldfinger)
Sometimes the old ways are the best ways for a reason.