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“MICE”- the 4 pillars of CIA spy recruitment

Money- the most used but least
effective method to recruit spies

Gamal Abdel Nasser was a president of
Egypt. He was offered a bribe of $3 million by the CIA to join the ‘Middle
East Defense Organization’. Interestingly, he took the money but did not join
the organization. I guess Langley does not always make good use of our tax

operatives are trained to recruit foreign people to spy for the U.S. Bribing
them with money is only one part of the game. The acronym “MICE” represents the
pillars of spy recruitment: Money, Ideology, Coercion,
and Ego.

*MONEY: Yeah, the CIA bribes lots of foreign
people, especially when they have privileged access to secret information that
their country doesn’t want America to know about. If they need the money bad
enough, they will sell their government secrets to keep themselves afloat. I
don’t understand why the Money modus was solely used on a wealthy target like Gamal
Nasser; it certainly failed, miserably. Money should be combined with other
motivations and rarely should occur alone; there are much deeper reasons why
people become spies for the CIA.

BTW, this is also the reason that the CIA and FBI refrain from issuing
security clearances to those who have financial difficulties.

*IDEOLOGY: Oftentimes, a person will volunteer
his/her services to the CIA. They are called “walk-ins” and are disenfranchised
with their country’s leadership. In the MISSION OF VENGEANCE spy thriller, a
former KGB agent tails CIA spymaster Corey Pearson into a nightclub in the
Dominican Republic, and tells him he wants to defect, adding that he has much
information on Russia’s plan to undermine America’s presence in the Caribbean,
a plan that involves many Americans being killed.

People who volunteer out of ideology actually sympathize with their
adversary. The KGB agent in my spy fiction novel despised how Putin’s new
Russia was robbing the Russian people of their basic freedoms. Interestingly,
in real life, Oleg Gordievsky was a KGB agent and longtime mole for Britain’s
MI6 spy agency during the Cold War and was motivated solely for ideological
reasons. As he served in KGB posts in Western nations, he became increasingly
disillusioned with the Soviet way of life. More recently, Monica Witt was a
special agent with the U.S. Air Force Office of Special Investigations when she
decided to betray the U.S. to Iran after her conversion to Islam and
disagreeing with America’s Middle East policy

*COMPROMISE (OR COERCION): This method is the
most scandalous and spicy ways to get your enemy to cooperate. But it creates
an unstable, wobbly relationship between spy and CIA handler. A spy threatened,
forced, or blackmailed into turning over secret information is not going to be
the most loyal or cooperative mole. Nevertheless, digging up compromising
information or threatening someone’s life has been used since time immemorial
to entrap enemy spies. And it makes for great Hollywood spy thriller movies,

*EGO: It goes hand-in-hand with money.  We all remember Edward Snowden. Well, many in
U.S. intelligence believe he was motivated primarily by ego. He was angry over
not being offered an SES job with the NSA. The fact that he was only in his
twenties and lacked a high school diploma was the reason he was denied
employment in the Senior Executive Service, where he could have earned up to a
$400,000 a year salary. His ego took over and he felt his talent should have
trumped everything else. His superiors treated him unfairly… right? But after
starring in documentaries, Hollywood films, and after being idolized by Vladimir
Putin, he proved (in his own mind) to the world just how talented and special
he was.

the MISSION OF VENGEANCE spy thriller, the M.I.C.E. methods of money and
compromise are illustrated. Here are a few snippets:

: Morrison and Wright remained standing. Morrison continued. “We have
reliable evidence that U.S. Ambassador to the Dominican Republic Thomas
Lawrence has been compromised by the Colombian drug cartel.”

Wright said, “The drug lord’s name is Alejandro Banderas. My DEA agents
arrested his right-hand man, Martin Gomez. Under cross-examination, Gomez
confessed that the cartel bribed Lawrence for ten million dollars.”

deputy director added, “Lawrence’s involvement is deep. Markov is weaponizing
the Colombians… weapons for coke. They make billions selling the refined
Colombian coke to new markets in the former Soviet republics. Russia has a
strong link with Hezbollah in the Caribbean but they’re also making tons of
money off the cartel, so they bribed Lawrence to reduce Hezbollah’s influence.”

Corey Pearson inserted a thumb drive it into the computer port and
angled the screen so everyone could see. A video started of a woman in a
downtown Santo Domingo parking garage meeting with a man. He took a wad of
bills from her, then handed her what was clearly a zip-lock bag of white
powder. She stuffed it in her purse and hurried away to her car. The video
zeroed in on the license plate.

“Holy fuck!” Jason Cartwright rose from his chair. “That’s Ambassador
Lawrence’s wife!”

Bocharov said, “Yes, and the man delivering the cocaine to her is a
Spetsnaz agent. One that was murdered by your snipers on Markov’s yacht.”

Corey played the video further. It showed four other meetings of Lawrence’s
wife buying cocaine from the same man in the same parking garage. Then, the
topper, a video of Ambassador Thomas Lawrence himself meeting with the same man
in the same underground parking garage. The video zeroed in as the ambassador
grabbed a large wad of bills, then handed over a folder.

Chop-Chop said, “Bocharov is right. I recognize the Spetsnaz guy. It
matches the photos taken on my party yacht. He’s one of Boris Markov’s hit

Corey said, “America’s ambassador to the Dominican Republic has been
compromised by Markov and Putin. More proof that they persuaded him to organize
the OAS meeting on Cat Island, so one of Issam Mikati’s suicide bombers could
wipe them all out.”

Cartwright commented, “Lawrence is an arrogant prick with power needs
and who doesn’t give a shit about Hezbollah moving tons of cocaine through the
Caribbean to the U.S. So why his sudden interest in meeting with OAS members,
who couldn’t be bribed like he was, to tighten the extradition agreement with
the U.S. against the Hezbollah drug smugglers?”

End of Snippets.

Lastly, I enjoyed reading the book Red Sparrow, for it features the use
of M.I.C.E. to motivate spies to betray their own intelligence agencies. Here
is an excellent video entitled
SPARROW author Jason Matthews on M.I.C.E. (Money, Ideology, Conscience, Ego)
with author Jason Matthews describing the process.

Robert Morton is a member of the Association
of Former Intelligence Officers (AFIO), enjoys writing about the U.S.
Intelligence Community, and relishes traveling to the Florida Keys and Key
West, the Bahamas and Caribbean. He combines both passions in his
Pearson- CIA Spymaster
Check out his latest spy thriller:

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