“We live in an age of disinformation,” notes Thomas Rid. Against the backdrop of Putin's war in Ukraine this book provides some timely insights into one of Russia's main political weapons against the West. Well written and well researched - this book is a fascinating journey through the history of disinformation over the last century.
"Thomas Rid’s excellent Active Measures offers readers a trove of meticulously researched historical examples of modern disinformation operations - active interventions in the information environment intended to deceive, distort and disorient the political community at which they are targeted." Zac Rogers, Australian Department of Defence 'Review of “Active Measures:The Secret History of Disinformation and Political Warfare” by Thomas Rid’, Australian Journal of Defence and Strategic Studies 2020, 2(2):270-274.
When Russian intelligence officers plotted their campaign to destabilize American politics in 2016, they had nearly a century of experience in covert manipulation to draw upon. The Internet had given the Russians new tools for this mischief. But their secret weapon was us — an open, divided, angry America. That’s the lesson of Thomas Rid’s superb new book, Active Measures. The Washington Post
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.