Travel incognito

This May 2013 handout photo

WASHINGTON – Activists have published what they describe as CIA documents advising spies on how to maintain cover when crossing borders.

Information-freedom lobby group WikiLeaks on Sunday released the two documents, dating from 2011 and 2012. They are marked classified and “NOFORN, ” which means they were not meant to be shared with allied intelligence agencies, the group said.

The documents outline strategies agents can use to avoid secondary screening at airports and borders.

Some are obvious: Do not buy a one-way ticket with cash the day before flying. Others perhaps less so: Do not look scruffy while traveling on a diplomatic passport.

“In one incident during transit of a European airport in the early morning, security officials selected a CIA officer for secondary screening, ” one of the documents reads.

“Although the officials gave no reason, overly casual dress inconsistent with being a diplomatic-passport holder may have prompted the referral.”

The CIA agent involved went on to have his bag swabbed for explosives and it tested positive. Despite extensive questioning, he stuck to his cover story that he had been involved in counterterrorism training in the United States, and eventually was allowed to continue his journey.

“Consistent, well-rehearsed, and plausible cover is important for avoiding secondary selection and critical for surviving it, ” the CIA wrote.

One of the CIA documents, called “Schengen Overview, ” reveals that the CIA is concerned about EU nations introducing biometric security measures for people traveling on U.S. passports and that new systems pose an increased “identity threat” — in other words, making it harder for agents to travel on false documents.

The document focuses on the EU’s Schengen area, a chunk of Europe in which travelers between 22 EU countries are no longer required to show passports.

The CIA expressed concerns that a new EU security system will potentially make life harder for CIA agents.


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