From The Independent:
Forget poison-tipped umbrellas and exploding cigars. At the height of the Cold War, the CIA issued its top spooks with a more prosaic piece of equipment: a beginner’s guide to magic, educating them in the old-fashioned arts of conjuring and sleight-of-hand.
The Official CIA Manual of Trickery and Deception was written in 1953 by a well-known performer called John Mulholland. It included tips for hiding objects up your sleeve, spiking someone’s drink (while pretending to light a cigarette) and communicating with colleagues by tying your shoelaces in a special way.
In 1973, as the Cold War showed signs of thawing, the CIA ordered every copy of the “top secret” document to be destroyed. But one managed to escape the agency’s paper shredders and was recently unearthed, in mysterious circumstances, by the espionage historian H Keith Melton and Robert Wallace, an author and former CIA staffer.
[Read more at The Independent]