It is hard to imagine two more distrusted and reviled professions. One has been accused of torturing detainees and failing to track down Islamist terror suspects; the other is widely perceived to be responsible for the worldwide recession.
Now, in a move likely to provoke a perfect storm of opprobrium, the two have joined forces: enterprising CIA officers who want to earn a little extra have been given the green light to moonlight for Wall Street firms.
According to a forthcoming book by US reporter Eamon Javers and confirmed by the CIA, financial firms have recruited spooks on active service to help determine if colleagues are telling the truth.
According to Javers, Business Intelligence Advisors (BIA), a Boston-based investment research firm that boasts links to the US intelligence apparatus, employed workers with backgrounds in interrogation and interviewing to train hedge fund managers in a technique called tactical behaviour assessment. This purports to allow practitioners to tell if someone is being dishonest by reading verbal and behavioural clues, such as fidgeting or qualifying statements with words like "honestly" and "frankly".
One case described by Javers shows how veteran CIA workers helped hedge fund clients to make enormous investment decisions by assessing the veracity of a company's financial presentation.
First of all, you'd have to convince me there was no collaboration between them in the first place, what with drug smuggling, money laundering, etc. But to have them work there, out in the open?
No possible conflict there! I mean, if bankers start waving million-dollar bonus checks around, asking them to do "special" clandestine projects, why, I'm sure those agents will have the integrity to say no. God bless America!