Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required

The CIA’s Simple Sabotage Field Manual: An Everyday Guide To “Purposeful Stupidity’ (1944)

Share this:

The CIA’s Simple Sabotage Field Manual (1944). – a guide to creating mayhem behind enemy lines. The Introduction states:

Office of Strategic Services

Washington, D. C.

17 January 1944

This Simple Sabotage Field Manual Strategic Services (Provisional) is published for the information and guidance of all concerned and will be used as the basic doctrine for Strategic Services training for this subject.

The contents of this Manual should be carefully controlled and should not be allowed to come into unauthorized hands.

 

Simple Sabotage Field Manual by United States. Office of Strategic Services

 

When the UK voted on continued membership of the European Union, the electorate was advised to read up, to find things out for themselves. Well, you could try. The EU is a byzantine institutional complex. There is huge amounts of incompetence, manifest in ‘wine lakes’, people ‘silos’ and the bizarre way in which for four days of every month the entire outfit moves between Strasbourg and Brussels.

It’s all utterly confusing. And you wonder if it’s all deliberate, a cunning plot to sabotage understanding, befuddle activism and keep us all guessing? If you can’t grasp what it is, how can you counter its actions from within or without? Are the flaws we can see designed to promote “purposeful stupidity”, a condition defined in the Office of Strategic Services 1944 guide to obfuscation, Simple Sabotage Field Manual? Are we the people – the bureaucrats’ enemy – being outwitted by the dumb show?

The manual, now available on the CIA’s website, was used to promote “citizen-saboteurs” in Nazi-occupied countries. “Purposeful stupidity is contrary to human nature,” says the guide. Stuffing up is counter-intuitive. It needs to be learnt:

To incite the citizen to the active practice of simple sabotage and to keep him practicing that sabotage over sustained periods is a special problem.

Simple sabotage is often an act which the citizen performs according to his own initiative and inclination. Acts of destruction do not bring him any personal gain and may be completely foreign to his habitually conservationist attitude toward materials and tools. Purposeful stupidity is contrary to human nature. He frequently needs pressure, stimulation or assurance, and information and suggestions regarding feasible methods of simple sabotage.

 

William Joseph ("Wild Bill") Donovan (January 1, 1883 – February 8, 1959) was a United States soldier, lawyer, intelligence officer and diplomat. Donovan is best remembered as the wartime head of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), a precursor to the Central Intelligence Agency, during World War II.

William Joseph (“Wild Bill”) Donovan (January 1, 1883 – February 8, 1959) was a United States soldier, lawyer, intelligence officer and diplomat. Donovan is best remembered as the wartime head of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), a precursor to the Central Intelligence Agency, during World War II.

 

 

HIGHLIGHTS

Organizations and Conferences

Managers

Employees

 

Jedburghs get instructions from Briefing Officer in London flat. England, ca. 1944. 'Jedburghs' were soldiers in 'Operation Jedburgh', World War 2 intelligence and espionage operations of U.S. and British with the French Resistance, coordinated with Allied invasion of France from June through Dec. 1944.

Jedburghs get instructions from Briefing Officer in London flat. England, ca. 1944. ‘Jedburghs’ were soldiers in ‘Operation Jedburgh’, World War 2 intelligence and espionage operations of U.S. and British with the French Resistance, coordinated with Allied invasion of France from June through Dec. 1944.

A Jedburgh team by a B-24 from which they would parachute into occupied France. They were among 93 Jedburgh teams who linked French guerrillas and the Allied command during World War 2. Area T. Harrington Airdrome, England, ca. 1944.

A Jedburgh team by a B-24 from which they would parachute into occupied France. They were among 93 Jedburgh teams who linked French guerrillas and the Allied command during World War 2. Area T. Harrington Airdrome, England, ca. 1944.

 

FULL TEXT

 

Simple Sabotage Field Manual

 

 

 

Simple Sabotage Field Manual

Simple Sabotage Field Manual

Simple Sabotage Field Manual

 

Simple Sabotage Field Manual

Simple Sabotage Field Manual

Simple Sabotage Field Manual

Simple Sabotage Field Manual

Simple Sabotage Field Manual

Simple Sabotage Field Manual

Simple Sabotage Field Manual

Simple Sabotage Field Manual

Simple Sabotage Field Manual

Simple Sabotage Field Manual

Simple Sabotage Field Manual

Simple Sabotage Field Manual

Simple Sabotage Field Manual

Simple Sabotage Field Manual

  • Todd McDonald

    Maybe this is too obvious, but the CIA wasn’t established until after WW2. This fact was noted in one of the photo captions, but really this is a serious distinction. The OSS was a predecessor or precursor to the CIA, but it was not in fact the CIA.

    • Richard Dunnagan

      It’s noted somewhere is the article. Most people, especially the special snowflakes of today, wouldn’t have a clue what the OSS was without a rap video explaining it. (And only then if there is prurient content fit to make madam blush.)

    • Anoraks

      It does mention the OSS – and there are pictures of that organisation in the story.

  • MrKamikaze

    Looks like someone in upper management where i work got a hold of this manual and put it to good use.

    • Richard Dunnagan

      I was thinking the very same thing! It’s those commie infiltrators that we have been warned about. All management – up against the wall!

  • Freakanatcha

    This manual should be required reading for all 10-year old boys. I wish I knew half of this stuff when I was 10.

  • Lacombe57 .

    Wait! !944? C.I.A.? Someone is three years off the mark. 1944. it was O.S.S..

  • jack_k1

    Well, I guess we now all know where Scott Adams gets his material.