LIES AND DECEPTION

When God asked Adam if he’d partaken of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge, I suspect Adam’s eyes shifted guiltily to the apple core lying next to him as, wide-eyed and cheeks full, he earnestly shook his head “no”.  Lies and deception.  It’s as old as mankind itself- or womankind for that matter.

In the world of high-stakes espionage, lies and deception are de rigeur.  William Stephenson, widely considered America’s greatest spy, famously said, “The key to deception is authenticity. The best cover story looks like the truth.” A plausible cover story is a spy’s most important ally in maintaining anonymity and protection.  You’re a covert operative assigned to seduce a high ranking government official?  With a pencil behind your ear and a phony PRESS pass you can become an eager young reporter doing a story on French/American relations.  A little small talk, a few glasses of champagne, a flattering remark or two,  and voilà!  Your little lie has yielded big results in the form of classified information. 

For us mere mortals, an entire industry has sprung up to aid us in our pursuit of all things shady.  Turns out you can purchase your very own alibi for almost anything.  A quick internet search reveals there’s no shortage of companies willing to vouch for your whereabouts, your credentials, and your spending habits.  Not surprisingly, the overwhelming majority of these companies are devoted to covering the proverbial behinds of straying spouses.  

Ashley Madison helps you find a like-minded partner, then provides you with the necessary paper trail to make your cover story look like the truth.  All promised with the utmost discretion, of course. The Alibi Network goes one step further.  Your illicit weekend rendezvous in Cancun with the mistress becomes a corporate conference where, not only were you the guest speaker, but you have the brochure and certificate of recognition to prove it.  Can’t muster up the energy or resources to create your own resumé? No worries.  CareerExcuse.com will fabricate an entire work history for you complete with job references, fictitious degrees, and fancy titles.  And that calfskin attaché case you impulsively bought for your paramour? Rest easy.  CustomReceipts.com will magically transform that financial record into a ladies’ afternoon at the local spa.

If you want your cover story to have the whiff of legitimacy, best to pick one that closely resembles the truth- and remember to keep your facts straight.  Getting caught is not an option, whether you’re dealing in state secrets or clandestine affairs.