Saturday, October 3, 2015


The Moscow Rules are rules-of-thumb said to have been developed during the Cold War to be used by intelligence officers working in Moscow. The rules are associated with Moscow because the city developed a reputation as being a particularly harsh locale for clandestine operatives who were exposed . . . S.L.

  • Assume nothing.

  • Never go against your gut.

  • Everyone is potentially under opposition control.

  • Don't look back; you are never completely alone.

  • Go with the flow, blend in.

  • Vary your pattern and stay within your cover.

  • Lull them into a sense of complacency.

  • Don't harass the opposition.

  • Pick the time and place for action.

  • Keep your options open.

  • Murphy is right.

  • Any operation can be aborted. If it feels wrong, it is wrong.

  • Maintain a natural pace.

  • Build in opportunity, but use it sparingly.

  • Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee. (Borrowed from Muhammad Ali)

  • There is no limit to a human being's ability to rationalize the truth.

  • Technology will always let you down.

  • Once is an accident. Twice is coincidence. Three times is an enemy action. (Taken from Ian Fleming's novel Goldfinger)

  • Don't attract attention, even by being too careful.

  • Moscow rules are prominently referenced in John le Carré's cold war books including - Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy - as tradecraft, including use of inconspicuous signal markers (thumb tacks, chalk marks), the use of dead drops, and the ways to signal the need for a (rare) face-to-face meeting.


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