Active Measures

The Secret History of Disinformation and Political Warfare by Thomas Rid

  • Published: Aug 10, 2020

This revelatory and dramatic history of disinformation traces the rise of secret organized deception operations from the interwar period to contemporary internet troll farms We live in the age of disinformationof organized deception. Spy agencies pour vast... read more

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Details of Active Measures

Exact title of the book
Active Measures
Book author
Thomas Rid
ISBN
9781250787408
Publisher
Picador
Published
Mar 09, 2021
Language
English
Format
PDF, FB2, EPUB, MOBI
Pages
528
File size (in PDF)
4752 kB

Some brief overview of book

This revelatory and dramatic history of disinformation traces the rise of secret organized deception operations from the interwar period to contemporary internet troll farms We live in the age of disinformationof organized deception. 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.

More than four months 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. The story of modern disinformation begins with the post-Russian Revolution clash between communism and capitalism, which would come to define the Cold War.

In Active Measures, Rid reveals startling intelligence and security secrets from materials written in more than ten languages across several nations, and from interviews with current and former operatives. He exposes the disturbing yet colorful history of professional, organized lying, revealing for the first time some of the centurys most significant operationsmany 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 Iron Curtain; the CIA backs a fake publishing empire, run by a former Wehrmacht U-boat commander, that produces Germanys best jazz magazine.

Rid tracks the rise of leaking, and shows how spies began to exploit emerging internet culture many years before WikiLeaks. Finally, he sheds new light on the 2016 election, especially the role of the infamous "troll farm" in St. Petersburg as well as a much more harmful attack that unfolded in the shadows.

Active Measures takes the reader on a guided tour deep into a vast hall of mirrors old and new, pointing to a future of engineered polarization, more active and less measuredbut also offering the tools to cut through the deception.

About author

Rid is a professor at Johns Hopkins University. He testified on disinformation in front of the U. S.

Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.

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