CrimeCon 2022: Think like a spy, CIA Carver method

CIA secrets, former technical operations officer Luke Bencie told CrimeCon 2022 attendees, can do more than protect US national security.

Bencie, now an author and security consultant, explained that in fact, the techniques used by CIA officers to gather intelligence, recruit assets, and protect themselves from surveillance are applicable to our daily lives… and we should start applying them.

“People don’t realize…how ordinary people…are spied on when they’re overseas,” he told the audience on Friday night in Las Vegas.

But, beyond the risks to business travelers, scientists and others with information that could be useful to foreign powers, Bencie noted that many situations we find ourselves in, whether acts of dating, strange neighbors or simply trying to strike a business deal involve – or may involve – the use of human intelligence.

The CIA uses a framework called CARVER, an acronym that stands for Criticality, Accessibility, Recovery, Vulnerability, Effect, and Reconnaissance.

When applied to people they seek intelligence from – as opposed to physical targets – it asks officers to assess how important a particular person is to your mission, whether they can actually get you what you want. want, the downsides if you fail, how likely they are to grant your requests, the repercussions of being involved with the person, and how obvious it is to you and others that they are “accessible”.

Bencie noted that it works for all sorts of situations — including online dating, where the people you might meet are complete strangers. But, he says, applying the system requires you to know what your mission is!

If, in the intelligence community, you identify a valuable person with whom you want to develop an ongoing relationship, recruiters are also informed of the life cycle of an asset – in which they identify them, assess them (using of CARVER) and develop the relationship. – all before starting the recruitment. Once successful, they must learn to deal with the person they recruited and be prepared to end the relationship successfully without ill effects.

The applicability of this framework to other relationships, Bencie said, might be more obvious.

However, if one is only trying to extract information from someone during a conversation – what CIA agents call “elicitation” – the key to understanding is why a given person might give you that information. And whereas during the Cold War era recruiters thought people would give information for money, ideological reasons, coercion or to feed their own ego, Bencie said the Harvard professor, Dr. Robert Cialdini, had proposed a new framework for the modern world. .

Known by its acronym, RASCALS, it suggests that, in the 2020s, people are motivated to give us information (or other things we want) for reciprocity, for a sense of authority, for social proof , commitment, to be loved or out of a sense of scarcity.

Ultimately, getting what you want from others, Bencie said, is often about using proven sales techniques to build relationships: assessing their needs, wants, wounds, access and money. Then employ what he called SCREAMPIGS: smile, compliment, reference (link about something in common), exhibit (who you are), question (about them), (leave) mystery (about yourself), poll, (get) information, (give) gifts and schedule (a follow-up).

But, he added, you need to know the techniques to use them as much as to recognize when they’re being used on you. He suggests people take note of when others mirror your physical movements, when there are holes in their stories or incongruous behavior, when they talk about their credentials or – in the case of Americans – misuse the words “because”. or “just”.

Intelligence, he said, is more of an art than a science, but that doesn’t mean you should trust your instincts over your brain…even when talking to your neighbors.

CrimeCon 2022 is produced by Red Seat Ventures and presented by Oxygen.

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