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CIA Assassination Training Manual Online

July 19, 2010

CIA Assassination Training Manual Online


I have found the declassified text of an instruction manual from the CIA called ‘A Study of Assassination’. The document had a controversial life inside the CIA and was claimed to be forbidden from being used. Pres. George Bush senior was always vocally opposed to political assassination and has consistently answered difficult interviews saying that he thought it was unjustified. However Pres. George W Bush junior was happy to go along the concept after 9-11. So as a document on its own there nothing to indicate who actually believed that it was worthy of commissioning or for what purpose.



You can find a legible version of the document here:



The document is written in the sterile tone that is typical of most technical instructions. There is a kind of matter-of-fact manner in the way it describes how and why certain thing should be done. The only place where it does break from the unemotional is at the foot of the section called ‘Justification’.


“…assassination can seldom be employed with a clear conscience. Persons who are morally squeamish should not attempt it”


Morally Squeamish’, is perhaps meaning a person that is not a totally unconscionable killer.


The rest of the document gives practical advice for the assassin and how the authorization for an assassination must come from and at the same time must never be connected to any US Headquarters. Hence the orders are verbal and include the notion of Plausible Denial for the person who gave the orders.


In the section called ‘The Assassin’ we are presented with the ideal profile of an assassin and the contempt in which they are held by their masters.


“…the assassin must be a fanatic of some sort. Politics, religion, and revenge are about the only feasible motives. Since a fanatic is unstable psychologically, he must be handled with extreme care.”


Here we have an indication of intense distrust of the agent, instead of the respected ‘Jack Bauer‘ version from the TV series ’24’. It is almost as if it is a filthy man used to do a filthy job.


The document then gets down to the nuts and bolts of the best way to assassinate someone. Hard objects rocks, screwdrivers, kitchen knives lamps or anything handy. Puncturing body cavities are seen as unreliable unless the heart is damaged. “Absolute reliability is obtained by severing the spinal cord in the cervical region….” It goes on to discuss guns, machine guns and even recommends what types of guns. Bombs are also given a long section. (Lovely stuff)


Yet the most interesting part of the document is the drawings at the end that show how to kill people at a conference table. It goes into the detail of who stands where; where to shoot and how to cover your escape.


The reason for creating such an instruction may have been for many reasons but they all have the same result. It is an instruction of how to kill a helpless and unarmed person in cold blood. The questions of morality have been reduced down the concept of ‘Squeamishness‘ and yet the writer is contemptuous of the people he needs to do this work. In that way it seems to reflect dualism of values that are devoid of any moral absolutes.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. June 8, 2016 11:19 pm

    You gotta believe this, after all, it’s on the internet. PLZ! If there was any truth to any of this they the CIA would have removed it gone after the one who posted it and assassinated him. Made it look like a robbery gone bad.


    • June 9, 2016 12:10 am

      Wild Wolf,
      Thanks for you comments.
      It has been some time since the original documents were made available and it did make a bit of a media sensation at the time. I believe that it and document on interrogation were released under freedom of information. I have not evidence to indicate that it is a fake.

      The document is pretty pedestrian and gives no indication of where it was adopted as policy.

      The CIA is just another government department and is limited in its power.



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