Active Measures
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Active Measures : The Secret History of Disinformation and Political Warfare

  • Hardback
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Description

We live in an age of subterfuge. Spy agencies pour vast resources into hacking, leaking, and forging data, often with the goal of weakening the very foundation of liberal democracy: trust in facts. Thomas Rid, a renowned expert on technology and national security, was one of the first to sound the alarm. Even before the 2016 election, he warned that Russian military intelligence was 'carefully planning and timing a high-stakes political campaign' to disrupt the democratic process. But as crafty as such so-called active measures have become, they are not new.

In this astonishing journey through a century of secret psychological war, Rid reveals for the first time some of history's most significant operations - many of them nearly beyond belief. A White Russian ploy backfires and brings down a New York police commissioner; a KGB-engineered, anti-Semitic hate campaign creeps back across the Berlin Wall; the CIA backs a fake publishing empire, run by a former Wehrmacht U-boat commander that produces Germany's best jazz magazine.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 448 pages
  • 153 x 234mm
  • London, United Kingdom
  • Main
  • 1788160746
  • 9781788160742
  • 543,476

Review quote

The twentieth century was an era of deception, forgery, and made-up conspiracies concocted by the world's most formidable spy agencies. In the centuries thereafter, these same tactics will be turbo-charged and scaled to reach more people. In this groundbreaking book, Thomas Rid looks deep into neglected East European State Security archives, tracks down Cold War-era active measures officers, and examines fresh digital forensics in order to tell the true history of what we now know as disinformation. Active Measures is full of great stories that give contemporary events the historical context that has, until now, been missing. -- Anne Applebaum * Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Gulag: A History * Thomas Rid's timely Active Measures is an instant classic. He provides a comprehensive look at the political attacks we witnessed in 2016, and reminds us that deception and disinformation have deep historical roots. He also shows that the effects of active measures can be long-lasting, but can also boomerang on those who initiate them. As free societies look to defend against future deception campaigns, they will need to understand both the past and the new technologies that help to weaponize the practice in the present. Thomas Rid's excellent book is the best place to start. -- John Sipher * former member of the CIA's Senior Intelligence Service * Thomas Rid, a recognized expert in information security, investigates the history of disinformation, taking us back to its modern origins. He tells a series of thrilling stories of how this subtle game was played by the founder of the Soviet secret police, his successors at the KGB, their Western counterparts, and contemporary Russian intelligence operators. Rid has produced a book that is destined to become a seminal work on the topic. -- Andrei Soldatov * coauthor of The Red Web: The Kremlin's War on the Internet * Active Measures provides a comprehensive look at the disinformation game, from the 1920s through the digital revolution. Thomas Rid gives the reader an insider's view of how high-profile influence campaigns are designed and executed, thus providing historical perspective that can help us blunt the impact of disinformation. For that reason alone, Active Measures is a must-read. -- Nada Bakos * former analyst and targeting officer at the CIA *
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About Thomas Rid

Thomas Rid is a professor at Johns Hopkins University. He is the author most recently of the acclaimed Rise of the Machines (2016), a history of cybernetics. He testified on disinformation in front of the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.
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