You are working for the CIA as a spy. One day you get a secret offer from the US president to spy on the CIA for him and to go and investigate the truth about a CIA covert operation which happened 10 years ago (let's call it operation X). The US president believes that what the CIA told him about the operation is indeed a lie.

In effect, you have now become a double agent, working for the CIA and secretly for the US president.

After many months of conducting your own secret investigation, you find out that the official CIA report about what really happened during operation X, is in fact a lie. You find the necessary information you need about operation X in various paper only classified documents stored in the CIA document archive.

However, something isn't quite right; getting into the CIA document archive appears to have been much easier that you thought it would.

When presenting the information that you found out during your investigation to the US president, how can you be sure you have the right information? How can the president be sure that you are NOT providing him more false information about operation X?

You could try and confirm the information you have found by secretly interviewing the people involved in operation X, but that would be risky, since they may give you false information and then secretly alert the CIA.


4 Answers 4


You could try asking both parties about their information on Operation X, and depending on the information you get back you can make a conclusion.

If both the president and the CIA give you information different than the archive, the archive is most likely real (As you would have been lied to similar to the president). If the archive matches the presidents, then its is a fake and the CIA information is likely real (They archived the lie and just told you the truth). If the archive matches the CIA's information then you didn't gather anything new and still won't know (except for the fact that they either thoroughly cover their tracks or were being genuine).

If asking questions alerts the CIA, then:

Break back into the archive after they are alerted and see if they switch the documents. If they did then what you first saw was most likely real, if its the same then you gather no new information.

On another note:

If there are virtual documents in some archive about Project X, look at those and make the same comparisons.


I would use the fact that I'm a double agent to my advantage, I'd tell the CIA that the president has asked me to investigate Operation X. Then I'd tell them that the president will probably send more agents at a later date, either because I haven't reported in or to confirm whatever report the CIA wants me to pass on.

We'll assume that the CIA would prefer the president to read false documents than true ones. If the documents are true then the next set of spies will discover text different to what I found, but if the documents are false then the contents will be unchanged.

But before I told the CIA I was a double agent I've already reported to the president the contents of the archive, along with details of my plan. At this point it doesn't matter if the CIA kills me or order me to lie, the next set of spies (or police raid, whatever) will confirm whether or not the archive of Operation X was accurate.


I'm not sure about this, but here's my try:

I would meet with the CIA and reveal that I am being ordered to investigate on Operation X, not revealing that you are a double agent.

In the hearing/ investigating meeting, I would ask the CIA if the information presented 10 years ago to the President is a lie or not.

CIA should answer "NOT A LIE" since it is what they presented to the President.

Then reveal to them that you are indeed a double agent, you will reveal to them that you found out a document that tells this is a LIE, that would prove and show everyone that they are lying.

That would be embarrassing for them but will still continue to cover their lies.

Then present a FALSE DOCUMENT (that you created) kind of similar to what you saw in the archives,AND the ARCHIVE DOCUMENT then tell them that you found out two documents from the archives but we since assume that they would rather have the President read a false document then ask:

Which of the two is the TRUE document?

IF they point to the ARCHIVE document, then the ARCHIVE document contains FALSE information

IF they point to the FALSE document (that you created) then the ARCHIVE document must be the TRUE document

to prove whether the ARCHIVE DOCUMENT is true or not, reveal that the one they pointed is a false document that you created; then ask:

Is the Archive document TRUE?

IF they tell you NO, (since they would have the president read false documents) then the ARCHIVE document has the RIGHT information. (might even be forced to reveal the real document).

IF they tell you YES, then the ARCHIVE documents contains FALSE information.

  • $\begingroup$ If initially the CIA answered "NOT A LIE" and they were telling the truth (as in their archive is right), you would come to the wrong conclusion? $\endgroup$
    – Mark N
    Apr 16, 2015 at 13:53
  • $\begingroup$ @MarkN No, I was referring to the FIRST report they presented to the president 10 years ago and I think they're not gonna be telling the truth since we already found out that: 1. The report they presented to the president is DIFFERENT from the report/document in the CIA archives and 2. That they would still continue to lie about it. And the CIA archive is suspiciously easy to access so we have to know whether the document in the archive is the true or false $\endgroup$
    – Chronos
    Apr 16, 2015 at 14:52
  • $\begingroup$ or I might have misinterpreted since they may give you false information to since they would give you false information $\endgroup$
    – Chronos
    Apr 16, 2015 at 14:54
  • $\begingroup$ The problem I have with this answer is that the CIA would surely know which document was found in the vault and which was forged, therefor they'd know you were trying to trick them and so they may point to the opposite document that you're expecting them to pick. $\endgroup$
    – Mark
    Apr 16, 2015 at 16:59
  • $\begingroup$ @Mark OH yeah I didn't think that through ;) Thanks $\endgroup$
    – Chronos
    Apr 16, 2015 at 22:52

If we add to the mix, I would say your best response is to tell the President that you report to the Director, not the President. If he wants to investigate the CIA, he should call the CIA Inspector General or the Senate.


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